Rodents are a problem in just about any horse barn. Mice and rats are drawn to the plentiful food in the barn, and they also burrow into the bedding of stalls for shelter. Unfortunately, mice and rats can carry diseases, fleas, and ticks inside with them, and they can quickly spoil grain if they get into grain bags or bins. Here are five tips to help you keep rodents out of your barn.
Create Rodent-Proof Grain Bins
If you are able to cut off the rodents’ food supply, then you will make your barn less appealing to them. Rodents frequently get into grain rooms. One of the best things that you can do is to create grain bins which are rodent-proof. Using a heavy-duty plastic or metal trashcan is one way to do this. Make sure that you always keep lids securely on the grain bins.
If you feed supplements, store these in a covered, secured bin so that rodents can’t access them.
Feed Horses Up Off the Floor
When you feed your horses, feed them in tubs hung from the stall, not in tubs sitting on the floor. Feeding your horses up off the ground reduces the amount of feed that is dropped on the ground.
Bring in Some Barn Cats
Barn cats can greatly help to keep the rodent population under control. Consider getting a barn cat or two if you have a significant rodent problem in your barn. You may be able to find barns giving away barn cats. Alternatively, there are often programs which trap feral cats and re-home them as barn cats for a low fee. Barn cats cost relatively little to care for, yet they’re highly effective in keeping rodents under control in your barn.
You may also choose to set rat or mouse traps. Traps kill a single animal before they need to be reset, so you have to be vigilant if your barn has a large rodent population. If you have animals around your barn, like dogs or cats, then avoid using any types of poison traps. If a dog or cat accesses the trap or eats a mouse that has eaten the poison, the dog or cat could also be poisoned.
Keep a Clean Barn
Finally, make an effort to keep your barn as clean as possible. Promptly sweep up spilled feed, and clean all of the stalls daily. The neater and cleaner that you can keep the barn, the less appealing it will be for rodents.
It’s hard to ever have a truly rodent-free barn, but with some vigilance you can reduce the rodent population in your barn.