Regardless of how you feel about mice, shrews, and voles and other rodents, they can be quite destructive and expensive! But how do you control rodents on the farm?
When it comes to outdoors, I am all for the live and let live attitude. Like anything, mice have their place in the food chain and serve as a major food source for many animals, such as birds of prey and snakes. If such predatory animals did not have the small rodents to eat, then the animals that eat the snakes would suffer and so on and so on. Mice are very fast reproducers, and keep balance in the ecosystem basically by being a food source. That said, they can also cause a lot of destruction by building nests in really inconvenient places, and eating the grains and other foods you have for your livestock and they leave droppings everywhere!
How To Control Rodents On The Farm
While you may not want to harm the outdoor population of rodents, you should attempt to control it, in and around your home and outbuildings. We can talk about rodent proofing your home another time, but for now let’s focus on what you can do to protect your livestock feed, your outbuildings and your garden.
Rodent Control Around Your Outbuildings
There are a couple of things you can do to control or manage the rodent populations around your outbuildings.
Keep the area immediately around your building free of tall grass and weeds. If you’re really serious, consider laying down landscape fabric and covering the area with gravel.
If it is a food storage place, seal all of the entry ways. Use foam insulation and secured solid material.
Place nesting boxes for owls around your property, to encourage them to come to your property for their next feast.
Rodent Control Around Your Livestock
In most cases, mice are not going to harm any of your livestock. It’s the food the mice are after. Here’s what you can do to keep your feed free from the rodents:
Keep your feed in secured containers. Rubbermaid containers with well-fitting lids work for small quantities, and old freezers are excellent as well. It doesn’t need to run at all – just has to have a door that closes.
Keep It Clean
Keep your pens and cages as clean as possible. Regularly clearing out all of the straw, wood chips, and everything else leaves less opportunities for rodents to hide.
Rodent Control Around Your Garden
While this is nearly an impossible thing to control, there are certainly things you can do to keep your garden bounty for yourselves.
Install a solar powered electric fence at ground level around the perimeter of your garden.
Harvest produce as it becomes ready and keep the weeds and other growth under control. Use mulch, or garden mats to keep the weeds down, and to eliminate places for the little creatures to hide.
Farming can be a lot of hard work. A lot of very satisfying and rewarding hard work, but hard work just the same. When you are taking a gamble with the weather, grain stock prices and so many other things that are out of your control, it is important to do what you can with the things you can actually have an impact on. Taking a few steps to control the rodent population in and around your property is a drop in the bucket, that will save you tons in the future.