Winter is coming around the corner, and the field mice and other rodents are looking for a nice, warm home with food to live in. Boom! They spot a chicken coop, stocked with food and warm straw for the winter, and just like that you have a rodent problem. Mice and rodents aren’t good to have hanging around your chickens as they carry diseases and can really wreck your coop and your chicken’s food and water. It’s best to do your best efforts and your coop and run rodent free, and here’s a few tips I’ve seen to help prevent mice, though I haven’t a rodent problem before, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Food is what drives rodents, not the chickens themselves. Rodents eat up to 10% of their body weight each day, so they need to find food, but let’s make it more difficult for rodents to sneak into your coop. It doesn’t matter if you live in or outside city limits, rodents will do whatever to get food and a warm shelter.
How to prevent rodents
Prevention measures are the best with anything, so it’s time to prevent yet another thing in the chicken world, mice. Using a commercial rodent-repellent wouldn’t be a good idea to use around your chickens, so here’s a few natural tips on keeping away these furry pests.
- Hanging herbs: Hanging herbs such as mint, thyme, lavender, sage, rosemary, and basil is thought to repel rodents from your chicken coop. I hang rosemary around my coop as it’s the most abundant herb I have, and I feel that it helps repel mice and flies along with making my coop smell like Christmas.
- Keeping food in the run: Your chicken’s feed shouldn’t be in the coop, it should be in the run. The reason for this is because not only will it encourage your hens to come out, but it will also keep your coop cleaner and rodents out. They will be discouraged to come and get the feed during daylight and out in the open with so many chickens around. Moving your feed into a storage area or a garage during the night also helps keep the rodents away, as setting times for the feed to be out in the mornings and before your girls go to the roosts.
- Pine: Much like the aromic herbs, mice don’t like strong scented things, so pine shavings or pine boughs will be good in your coop.
- Barn cats/ dogs: A barn cat around your coop will help with the rodent population, but having a dog around your coop will deter rodents from coming.
- Seal any cracks: Mice and other animals can fit into cracks as small as an inch. Crazy, huh? That’s why 1/2′ hardware cloth is good to use for everything in your coop. I use mine for ventilation and fencing for my enclosed run. It keeps rodents and predators out and my chickens safe.
- Keep your coop clean: The more you clean out the bedding, the more frequently you can check for mice, along with making your coop smell nicer.
Mice are defiantly a pest, and if you do happen to have a rodent problem, using these preventive tips should help get rid of the pests at the same time. As I mentioned earlier, using chemicals, mice traps, poison and moth balls should be avoided as they are toxic and your chickens could have a fatal ending if they come in contact with any of the commercial treatments, so using natural measures is the way to go. That way, you know that you’re not harming any animals, plus the herbs smell absolutely amazing, and if your chickens happen to eat some, it will only benefit them. If you’re planning on planting some herbs for your chickens, the kitchen or for repellents, read here for my post on growing your own herb garden.
Dancing with Chickens