Recently, TheHorse.com ran the results of their pest control poll. The question, what do barn owners use to control mice and vermin around their barn, was tilted largely in favor of cats. Barn cats still do the heavy lifting when it comes to mouse patrol, and it’s no wonder: they don’t pose a health risk like poison, and they’re nice to look at when they’re not busy destroying tiny barn invaders.
There were some other interesting entries, though, including black snakes (how does one invite a black snake to their barn?) and raptors such as hawks and owls (who invite themselves to open-fronted barns). Outside of nature’s natural predators, what else are people using to keep mice away from their feed bins?
Peppermint oil. You might have seen peppermint-oil infused trash bags at your home improvement store. They’re growing increasingly popular in cities, because peppermint oil really does repel mice. You can also use it to mask the pheromone trace mice leave behind, deterring future mice from following in their footsteps to tasty treats around the barn. To use this method, use a pure peppermint oil to soak a few cotton balls. Place them in the corners of your feed room, around baseboards, and anywhere that mice are likely to enter. Refresh the cotton balls once a month or as needed. While it isn’t a guaranteed mouse repellent, peppermint oil can cut down on your rodent problem without poisons.
Ultrasound machines are used to emit a beep at a tone humans and most animals can’t hear, but which mice and other small animals just can’t stand. Although they shouldn’t do any harm to your other farm animals, it’s possible that ultrasonic pulses can disrupt some of your other electronic feeds, such as microphones and burglar alarms — important to note if you use a foaling cam with audio. It’s also possible that eventually, animals in the area will grow used to the sound and just come into the barn anyway. Still, many poll respondents mentioned ultrasound machines as their primary vermin deterrent.
Feed storage techniques that go beyond the rubber trash can are another way to keep mice out. Old freezers are a great way to store grain — they’re airtight and no rat is chewing through that metal exterior. Other respondents suggest keeping the feed room climate-controlled and sealed against mice, and sweeping up spills as soon as they happen. You can also go simple and just switch to metal trash cans, keeping mice on the outside of your expensive grain supply.
Do you use cats, traps, or baits to keep mice away from your barn? You might want to add one of these deterrents to your anti-vermin arsenal!