Our battle with the chicken coop seems to be unending. When the mice moved in and discovered the chickens had a bountiful supply of food, the battle began. First, we removed our chickens’ food at night to prevent the mice’ thievery. But, they still seemed to propagate. I began setting mouse traps and competed with our farm cat over a summer, and together we eventually dwindle the population to a minimum. However, this past fall season the mouse population exploded in our area. The complaints about the mice were far and wide as everyone in the area began to purchase traps to stop the population boom.
I decided not to do the placement of individual traps in the coop anymore. It seems traps would disappear by the time morning came. This is why I came up with the better mouse trap concept. It localized all the traps in one area and drastically impacted the population in that area. And yes, not one trap would disappear. In fact, in the first week of using the new trap I caught thirty mice. The coop has quieted down some and the chickens seem less restless and able to peacefully lay eggs again. Once the mouse population started to become more manageable, the chickens stress level seemed to drop as the egg production began to climb.
In the process of capturing mice, I have discovered that mice are cannibals by nature. When they see one of their own in a trap they do not offer to help, but instead turn on their own kind and devour them as a more enticing meal than the bait in the next trap. I noticed with this localized trap I am capturing mice that pillaged their own friends and relatives for food and wander across the trap next to their pal they just ate. I used to care about the mice and consider live traps and the like, until I discovered their dirty little secret. One night I caught four mice in an empty 40 gallon trash can. I decided to set it aside the next morning for an hour or two while I did the chores and made breakfast. The family of mice were fine and had only been in the bottom of the can for a few hours. Two adults and two younger mice looked up at me sheepishly as they awaited their fate. I decided I would turn them loose in the forest. When I returned, the two larger mice had devoured the two smaller ones. I was appalled. There was no way those mice were on the brink of starvation or threatened by the younger mice. I know how the world works, I’m not that naive. Perhaps, the Disney cartoons of my youth never prepared me for the systematic, cannibalistic, death squads within the mouse community. Anyway since I have lived in the country, my view of mice have changed drastically and if any of them are caught in my traps, they will perish and become the bait for their family and friends.
Please share your mouse story and battle with us. Maybe you have a “tale” we would all enjoy. Yes, pun intended.