Usually rodents aren’t viewed as predators out there. Who could possibly imagine that Mr. Jingles would be a predatory creature ready to rip another animal limb-from-limb? Well, they’re really not such vicious predators, but they can present a problem to young animals like baby chicks.
Mice and rats are largely omnivorous. I’ve seen mice eat chicken food, seedlings, bees and soap. That’s quite a broad assortment of food – perhaps the ultimate balanced diet for our furry vermin friends. All is not cute in the world of rodents as I’ve seen rats eat the legs off of baby chicks.
The predator problems that mice and rats present are largely with young animals that are confined and aren’t readily able to escape a hungry rat or a mouse with a taste for flesh. The keys to solving this problem are:
- Keep young animals with their mothers so they have a form of protection.
- Don’t confine babies in a manner where they’ll have no means of escape or evasion.
- Use barriers to rodents like quarter inch hardware cloth or hail screen.
- Do your best to reduce the threat that mice pose by using multiple and high capacity mouse traps.
- Mice and rats are very vulnerable when they’re first born, so finding a nest and destroying the mother and her young effectively stalls their population growth.
When planning for defense against these vermin, keep a few things in mind. First, they operate mostly at night but venture out in the day as long as they’re in a darkened room or building. Second, they’re silent in nearly every activity they engage in except gnawing at something that’s rigid. Third, they can climb straight up a wall and they’re capable of jumping a good distance. Fourth, even a very narrow crack beneath a door can allow a mouse to squeeze through. Fifth, if your barrier is made of wood or plastic, mice can find a way to chew a tiny hole into one that is large enough to allow access.
Clair Schwan builds high capacity mouse traps that work very effectively against small rodents posing a threat to baby chicks and vegetable seedlings. Also visit the Self Reliance Exchange to learn more about predators and how to deal with them.