And then, God laughed.

As you know, I’ve been looking forward to evicting my plague of mice this weekend. I might not be able to keep them out of the barn or the coop, but I can dismantle their home. Which they eat. (There’s a Hansel and Gretel joke in there somewhere, but I lack the wherewithal to find it this morning…)

I have to say, though, I have not been looking forward to actual moment of sticking the shovel in there for the first time. I have persistent nightmares of the mice scurrying out in terror. Yeesh.

But, God had other plans. Or, She’s testing my resolve.

Either way, it ain’t happening, because it’s too dang COLD. We had a cold snap yesterday. Instead of our (relatively) civilised 30-40 degree days and our 20-something degree nights, it plummeted down to zero last night. At writing, it’s a tropical 7.

And I ain’t shoveling chicken shit in single digit weather, Paw; I ain’t.

So, the squatters have a short reprieve, and now The Man is calling my plans into question. He spoke up this morning to tell me that he felt mice are a fact of life around livestock, and I should stand down red alert. Laissez-faire, if you will.

It’s my call, of course, but he also mentioned that one of the reasons the coop only got down to 14 degrees last night, when it was zero outside, is the heat generated from the poop in the pit. Gross, but true.

So,…what do you think? I’d love to hear from the chicken people, who are, doubtless, much more experienced than me. Is this a fight that needs to be fought, or should I go for damage control?

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9 thoughts on “And then, God laughed.

  1. My solution is to trap when necessary, and otherwise don’t sweat it too much. I think mice are an integral part of country life. Our house is surrounded by cornfields, so there are mice everywhere, and they like to move into a warmer spot when winter begins. So we had them even before we had chickens. With chickens, it’s just impossible to keep from having bits of food scattered around in the bedding, so it’s an attractant. I do pick up their food bowls at night so it’s not quite a smorgasbord.

    • Thank you so much for your input and the benefit of your experience. I was pretty confident I could control the situation until I learned they were eating chicken poop, which, as you know, is uncontainable. Once we go back to a sand coop in the summer, it should be much easier to keep them out. And, as you say, they’ll have greener pastures then, too. One vote for The Man!

  2. I would leave it. If they are not hurting your chickens, and getting rid of them could diminish their heat source (ie: the poop), I would let it be until spring. As long as they are not getting in your feed, it can wait.

    Unless you are stressing out whenever you are out with your girls about a mouse running up your pant leg.. That could get me shovelling shit pretty quickly ;)

    Our temps have been about the same as yours. I had to bring my least cold hardy girl inside this morning. She is not handling the cold well at all. :(
    She’s all warmed up and enjoying my mud room now. The things I do for my chickens *rolls eyes*
    I can’t lose her though. She is my very first chicken.

  3. Hello:)
    We have cats and put up owl boxes for Barn Owls and Screech Owls.
    We have over 63 chickens.
    I have never seen a mouse or rat on our ranch.
    Love you blog…Janet

    • Thank you, Janet!

      Do the owls not go for your chooks? We have cats, too, and they’re pretty good mousers, but they’re on house arrest due to the tick plague we’re experiencing…

      • Hello:)
        Owls hunt at night and kill thousands of rodents each year.
        I would research which species nest in your area and build
        boxes that have the correct measurements for the box size and entry.
        They shouldn’t bother your chicks or hens at all.
        Now, hawks ..are another story altogether. We have Coopers Hawks and we have to be really careful when we let our little ones out.
        Good luck!
        Janet

      • I’ve just read so much about owls killing chicks and small chickens. Mine are in the coop by 3pm, so I doubt if that would be a problem. Unfortunately, the supermice are very happy in the barn. I can’t imagine why they’d need to venture out into more dangerous territory, where the owls might do some good. The Man finally saw one last night, and he’s all…wow, they’re really big. And I’m all…ya THINK??!!

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