Stables provide shelter for horses, but they can also make a nice home for a colony of mice. Mice, as small as they are, can be a huge problem if they move into your horse stable, especially if you have a horse that spooks easily. If you have a horse stable, it's important to keep mice out and eliminate them quickly if they do move in. Here's what you need to know.
The Numbers May Shock You
The life of a female mouse can be a very busy one with all the offspring she produces and cares for. Here are a few interesting facts.
- A female mouse gives birth 19-21 days after mating
- There can be 5-6 babies in each litter
- Females can produce 5-10 litters in one year
- Babies sexually mature in just 6-10 weeks
- Mice typically live 9-12 months
A few more startling facts you should know about, especially if you buy and store grain in your stable.
- A couple of mice can damage 4 pounds of grain in 6 months
- 18,000 droppings can be left during those 6 months
In looking at those numbers, you can quickly realize how important it is to prevent and/or eliminate a mice infestation in your barn. Imagine how many mice could inhabit your barn in one year… and the financial loss of the grains they'll eat and ruin. Of course, you won't want to feed your horses grains with mice droppings in it.
How to Prevent an Infestation
To prevent battling an infestation of mice in your stable, it's a good idea to take preemptive measures. The best time to begin offensive measures is during the warm weather months before the little critters attempt to take shelter in your stable when cold weather sets in. Here's what to do.
- Keep feed and grain in metal bins. That way, they won't be able to gnaw and scratch their way into your horse's food. Always clean any errant morsels off of the floor.
- Keep your stable flooring free of clutter. This will help keep the mice from using your things for nesting.
- Attach steel kick plates to the bottom of all the doors. Mice won't be able to chew their way through the bottom.
- Install metal collars at the bottom of all the posts in the stable. This will prevent mice from being able to climb.
- Fill all holes and gaps in the exterior of the stable. Pay close attention to the gaps around any pipes and wires that go through the walls.
- Install fine wire mesh in air vents, particularly any vents located near the ground.
Tips to Eliminate an Infestation
If prevention methods fail and you see mice or mice droppings, you'll need to act quickly before the mice multiply. Barn cats can help, but they can't reach mice if they are nested in tightly confined spaces.
Mice tend to stay close to walls when they are out and about on their excursions, so place poison and/or traps along walls. It's a good idea to draw up a floor plan of the stable and make notes on it of where you place the poison and traps. If you use poison, you'll need to periodically look for and remove dead mice from the stable.
If you notice droppings in any particular area, you can safely assume that a nest is nearby. Look for the nest, but be prepared for the little fellas to scurry about. You'll want to make sure your horses are out of the stable and safely in the paddock before you disrupt a nest, especially if you have a horse that may spook when it sees a mouse.
If you discover that you have a mice infestation, you may want to contact a pest control company to address the problem before you lose money to contaminated grain.