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How to Get Rid of Mice in the Chicken Coop

Mice are the most frequent visitors to chicken coops worldwide, and their presence can bring disease to your flock. Find out how to get rid of mice in the chicken coop for good!

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!

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A brown mouse.

Signs you have Mice in the Chicken Coop

Your hens don’t want to go in to roost at night

If your flock doesn’t want to go into the coop at night to roost, they might be trying to tell you something is wrong. It’s time to check for the M & M pest pair. Mites and Mice!

Finding mouse poop

The most common way to know you have mice in the chicken coop is finding mouse poop. We tend to find it on the shelves in our coop, in corners, under and around the food and water dispensers, and in stored items on the shelves.

Check every few days by raking the bedding in the corners and examine the nests for any sign of mice droppings. You’ll most likely find them in corners, against the walls, near the feed, and on shelves.

Bags of feed or treats chewed open

This is a tell tale sign of mice or rats in the chicken coop. Check your feed bags and treat bags bags frequently for small holes, or better yet, store feed in steel containers to keep out rodents!

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!

A mouse nest in a planter with baby mice inside.

Is it really a big deal if the chickens and mice co-habitate?

Yes, having a rodent problem can be harmful to your flock because mice carry many diseases. They also eat and taint your chickens food source by using it as both a kitchen and a bathroom.

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 from your own farm or a neighbors, or have a disease which is then transferred to your hen.

While most people don’t worry about a few mice here and there in the chicken coop, having a giant rodent population can really cut into your chicken feed budget and put your flock at serious risk of getting sick.

A mouse sitting on a piece of wheat.

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.

Stop feeding them

The number one way to get rid of small rodents in the coop is to stop feeding them. If you keep providing them with food, they’ll keep coming back, and invite all their friends! We see leaving food out as an open invitation to rodents, and they do too!

Cut off all food sources so there’s no real reason for the mice to take up residence in your coop. You can do this by switching to a treadle feeder that only your chickens can access.

It’s also a good idea to put all food and treats in a safe place that mice and rats can’t access, like a galvanized steel trash can. If you feed your birds kitchen scraps, make sure they eat them all by nightfall, or remove whatever they don’t eat when it’s time for bed.

Rodent proof the coop

Let me start by saying, keeping mice out of the coop completely is a very difficult thing to do. Mice can easily fit through chicken wire and chew through wooden walls and floors.

They can squeeze through impossibly tiny cracks to access a warm place and sources of food. Many people can’t even keep mice out of their house because they’re so good at finding entry points.

If you want to try anyway, here are some tips:

  • Use 1/4 inch hardware cloth to cover any windows or vents to the outside. Mice can easily fit through anything bigger and can chew through screens.
  • Put in a concrete floor to keep mice from chewing their way through the floor.
  • Fill any holes or crevices with steel wool and cover them.
  • Tightly close the coop each night, making sure doors and windows close completely with no gaps.
  • Check along the floor and in corners for signs of holes in the inside and outside of the coop.

Lethal Traps

Mouse traps are generally safe for your flock and the local wildlife, but you need to place them out of reach by putting them in a containment box that only rodents can access.

Snap traps

You really can’t go wrong with this old standard. These traps have been on the market for a long time, and for good reason, they work! 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. You can use peanut butter or even chicken food to bait the mice in the traps.

Automatic Traps

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, so it’s less work for you.

The Goodnature rodent trap.

Live Traps

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.

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!

A live rodent trap.

Poison

Poison should only be used as an absolute last resort.

To be completely honest, we don’t recommend this course at all, but put it in here in the case that absolutely nothing else is working.

Poisoning mice is a risky business, as you never can tell where the dead mice will end up. Additionally, poisoning is a slow and painful death for the rodent, and it’s certainly not the most ethical way to get rid of pests.

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.

A bait block.

Glue Traps

Note: Glue traps should never EVER be used to get rid of mice. Glue traps are inhumane in every way. This is not only a very slow and terribly painful way to die, glue traps often inadvertently catch and kill many other creatures, including song birds, snakes, frogs, toads, butterflies, and bees.

A flock of chickens.

How to Prevent Mice in the Chicken Coop

Now the mice are gone, but how do you keep it that way? You don’t want another family of mice to 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 inch hardware cloth on the outside of the openings, preventing any access from chewing through the wood.

Place all feed in a steel can with a lid

If you stop feeding the mice, they’ll find another home. The biggest reason you have mice in your coop is because they get a free buffet every day. Keep your feed and chicken treats in a steel bin.

Remove food and water at night

As we said before, chickens sleep soundly and do not eat and drink in the night. You can safely remove their feeder at night and bring it into the house. Mice love to eat while your chickens sleep, so it’s essential to cut off all access to their food.

Plant mint around your coop

Mice hate the smell of mint, so it is a natural deterrent. Mice hate the smell of mint, so it is a natural deterrent. Planting mint around the coop will smell great to you and terrible to mice. As a bonus mint helps deter a lot of insect pests as well.

If you don’t want to plant mint, you could also make your own mint spray using mint essential oil, a spray bottle, and some water. Find out how to make it here!

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. Many animal shelters have special deals on barn cats or “working cats” that prefer to live outside. 

A barn cat.

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!

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Melissa West

Thursday 28th of July 2022

Is the Goodnature trap you recommend safe for my baby chicks?

Meredith

Tuesday 30th of August 2022

I would keep it away from babies, put it in an area they can't access. I wouldn't take a risk with that.

Teri Elizabeth

Sunday 29th of May 2022

So first you warn that chickens eating a mouse is bad and could tranfer disease or poisonfrom neighbors. Then 2 talking points later say that dead mice in a trap are safe for them to eat. So. Safe? Or not safe?

Meredith

Friday 17th of June 2022

You are totally right, I'm sorry about that! I made a mistake suggesting for chickens to eat the mice from the trap. I personally believe that it's a risk for chickens to eat mice, due to possibilities of poison and disease getting passed on. However, left to their own devices chickens will hunt and eat live mice that they find in the coop and outside. It's really a personal decision and how much risk you're willing to take on, if you want to be completely safe, don't feed them dead mice.

Mike Koushel

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

Next time you to a shoe store take some extra nylon socks they make you wear if your bare foot. Brush your cat and put the cat hair in the nylon sock place them in the corners and nooks and crannies of your coop. It worked in Iraq to keep the mice out of my sleeping area!

Meredith

Friday 19th of March 2021

Very interesting, I've never heard of this method! Thanks for sharing!

MARK STRUCK

Saturday 5th of December 2020

0Mint doesn't work nor mint tea bags. i put out moth balls and they ate them all within 2 nights. The corn meal and plaster of paris or flour ,plaster of pars and baking soda mixed in equal parts has worked by 90 % of finding mice in traps or finding evidence. Irish spring soap bars they don't like so they move it out of there travel areas, I cram it back in holes and voids so they can't move it by plugging it with steel wool. Chickens, quail and pheasants seem to be bored so they will remove the steel wool if any is exposed to them. I have put 1/2" hardware wire and mice go straight through it, Buy the 3/16" hardware cloth and staple it in every nook and cranny they can find a way in. Check it frequently because they may chew around it. I have mice chewing thru a wooden floor so buy a roll of siding coil stock from a hardware chain store and use pole barn screws to fasten it securely over any thin spots. Spray foam is worthless unless you can catch mice in the foam, otherwise they will chew thru it overnight. Vigilance and cleanliness is next "mice-less-ness". Don't leave loose food and water if possible. Stay vigilant because the fleas they bring are worse than the mice themselves and affect your domestic pets and they are immune to any type of treatment unless you are prepared to bath animals daily in dawn dishwashing soap. They are never going to go away even in the winter.. You will end up with a chemical super fund clean up site and fleas will still be there. The food grade Diamactrus earth(sp?) doesn't work either but birds love to dust in it. Morel of the story is "Don't let infestation start" I have 20 farm cats that only get 2 cups of cat food and are plump and healthy feasting on mice. My regret is not being more vigilant from the beginning of bird raising but I have to admit the flour/corn meal with plaster of paris and baking soda has kicked them in the teeth hard by 90% this last year. Its safe if cats eat them later if found dead. But I live on a active farm with stored grains part of year and can't alter that factor, gives safe zone to field mice etc... and predators following the trail of easy prey. Make your coop like fort knox and feed smartly, don't leave eggs at night and give them a raised roosting area off floor and keep any gaps if 1/4" covered in screen or steel wool. Caulk and spray foam is just a appetizer for vermin, don't waste the money. Watch your garage door bottom ws to see if something is eating holes in it, if you find hole change it promptly and set traps they made there way in. Take coffee can lids and put along wall with the flour/cornmeal with plaster of paris and baking soda mixture along walls, in corners and nip them in the butt before you open a drawer in your kitchen and find something you don't want to see. Or lift a drinker or feeder in coop and find mass exodus of furry tailed rodents between your feet and hopefully not up your pant leg... The food industry uses Nylon Brush seal on garage doors, walk doors to prevent entry by rodents, Its expensive but effective. You have to figure out what kind retainer to use(straight, offset straight or 45 degree along with length of brush) the testing says rodents try to enter and brush pokes them in nose and deters them sounds crazy but is very effective.

VMinkoff

Sunday 10th of January 2021

Will the plaster of Paris/cornmeal mixture poison them or just cause their stomachs to swell?

Will Bennett

Saturday 16th of May 2020

I have mint planted around the run and the mice just walk on by it

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