Have you found a few small droppings or evidence that mice have been in the chicken coop?
You may be wondering why would mice even want to be in a chicken coop? Aren’t they afraid of being eaten?
It comes down to the basics: food, water, shelter, and safety.
A chicken coop provides a mouse family with soft bedding, an ample supply of food and water and safety from weather and predators.
It’s just too good to pass up!
Mice and rats are a common problem in the chicken coop, but not a problem you have to live with. We’re here to teach just exactly how to get rid of them forever!
Signs you have Mice in the Chicken Coop
Your hens don’t want to go in to roost at night
NEVER make your flock go in to roost if they don’t want to. They are trying to tell you there is a problem in the coop. It’s time to check for the M & M pest pair. Mites and Mice!
Finding mouse poop
Check every few days by raking the bedding in the corners and examine the nests for any sign of mice droppings.
Bags of feed or treats chewed open
Finding mouse nests
Mice love to nest in quiet, private spaces. Look for their nests in unobtrusive places, like corners, shelves, underneath and inside of stored objects. Mouse nests in chicken coops usually have a lot of stashed chicken feed, feathers, and fur. The nest below was found inside a planter that had been tipped on its side and left in the corner of the coop, and the mouse family was still in there!
Is it really a big deal if the chickens and mice co-habitate?
Yes, it can be harmful to your flock because mice carry not one but many diseases. They also eat and taint your chickens food source by using it as a kitchen and a bathroom both.
Some of you may have noticed one of your hens eating a mouse that it found. That is not uncommon but can be another source of danger. The mouse could have eaten poison in another area of your farm or have a disease which is then transferred to your hen.
How to Get Rid of Mice in the Chicken Coop
Have you found the telltale signs of unwanted whiskered visitors? What do you do now? Removing unwanted guests is the first step.
Traps are safe for your flock and the local wildlife, but you need to place them out of reach by putting them in a containment box.
For an economical choice we’ve found the Snap-E Mouse Trap to work well, and it’s usable again and again. The only big downside to this trap is the gory aspect of releasing and disposing of the dead mouse.
The Goodnature automatic trap is another awesome choice for getting rid of rodents in the chicken coop. This trap kills the mouse instantly with no poison or risk to your chickens. It is a little bit of an investment, but we believe this trap will last a very long time, and it auto-resets over and over. The best part is the dead mouse can be safely eaten by your chickens or local wildlife!
Colony traps are small metal boxes with a one-way door. An entire family of mice can enter the box, and you can safely relocate them to a nearby meadow or field.
The Ketch-All Mousetrap is a great option for catch and release, and it has a clear lid so you can easily see if you’ve caught a mouse or not!
Poison should only be used as an absolute last resort. Poisoning mice is a risky business, as you never can tell where the dead mice will end up. If they die within reach of your chickens, and they decide to eat the dead mice, your chickens will be poisoned too. Alternately, if the dead or dying mouse is eaten by a wild animal like an owl, it will poison that animal as well. If you do decide to use poison, it should only be placed in containment boxes so that your chickens can’t reach it. If consumed by your flock it could be deadly.
After you get rid of the mice, thoroughly clean the coop by taking out all the old bedding from the floor and nests removing as much of the mouse’s belongings as possible. Scatter new bedding on the floor and in the nests.
How to Prevent Mice in the Chicken Coop
Now the mice are gone, but how do you keep it, so another family doesn’t move in?
Look for holes in your coop
A mouse only needs a 1” hole to enter. Cover every opening including the vents, windows, etc. with ¼-1/2 inch hardware cloth on the outside of the openings, preventing any access from chewing through the wood.
Adopt a farm cat
Even though the cat doesn’t enter into the inner sanctum of the coop, having it around the outside keeps mice traffic to a minimum.
Place all feed in a steel can with a lid
This prevents the all-night buffet for whiskered guests who attempt to delve in.
Remove food and water at night
As we said before, chickens sleep soundly and do not eat and drink in the night. Just make sure cold fresh water is available early the next morning for your girls!
Plant mint around your coop or spray with a lavender mint spray
Mice hate the smell of mint, so it is a natural deterrent.
Now your bases are all covered, but it’s good to keep an eye out for any possibility of a return by checking the coop weekly for any new openings.
Here’s to a clean and healthy coop life for your flock!