Rodent Pest Control on the Farm

Planning and strategy are keys to keeping vermin away.

| September/October 2009

With the onset of fall, summer's bounty gives way to an urgent need among animals to seek food and shelter for the coming winter. Rats and mice are on the move. And to the wandering rodent, your farm looks like a deluxe hotel. Proximity of a food source and nesting grounds are prime considerations for rodents about to take up residence. Buildings, feed bins, woodpiles, junk heaps and stacked trash are all highly attractive to rodents. When it comes to providing habitat for these varmints, the farmer is often her own worst enemy.

Rats and mice have been a nuisance to humankind since the beginning of time. The infamous bubonic plague, the Black Death, was caused by fleas that bit infected rats and then passed the disease on to humans. From time to time, nations experience a virtual swarm of rodents that destroy foodstuffs and crops. On U.S. farms, losses from these vermin are measured in hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Fortunately, with some basic precautions, rodents can be controlled. 

Have a strategy

A good rodent-control strategy is a simple three-step process. First, deny them food and shelter; second, employ an ongoing control program; and third, encourage all area farms and rural households to institute similar rodent control measures. Since rodents can reproduce exponentially, everyone's help is needed.

Let’s start with habitat denial. Rodents survive and multiple largely through human negligence. Sloppiness comes with a price ... and it can be high. It is estimated that on poultry farms alone, rodents can consume $250 worth of feed for every 100 hens housed per year. They damage structures and wiring, cause fires, spread disease and can prey on baby animals.

Some important steps to eliminate a harborage for rats and mice are:

● Don’t have open and unsanitary dumps on the farm. Bury or burn trash, offal and garbage.

3/28/2016 11:44:01 AM

Clearly you intend for the farmer to NOT feed their 'barn cat' as 'incentive' to sharpen their hunting skills... Seems relatively cruel as a deal... asking them to wipe out their food supply and then what.... a responsible animal handler has more knowledge and care for their partners..... you left out a lot, encouraging irresponsible city people to repeat this 'deal' as their excuse for abandoning their pet cats who have ABSOLUTELY NO PREP FOR NATURE'S *WONDERS*...... They are your partners, eh? ttyl

3/16/2013 3:01:45 AM

I have had great success with a home remedy which kills rats and mice but not other animals. I lost two of my own dogs in the past to rat poison, as they ate the poisoned rats. The home remedy is to mix equal amounts of sugar, flour and baking soda. Mix together and place in a pan or glass baking dish. Beside it, in another pan or baking dish, pour in fresh Pepsi or Coca Cola. The rats will eat the dry mixture, then drink the soft drink. Put out this mixture daily for at least three days. Wait a few days and then do it again. You will notice a huge reduction in numbers within two weeks. My dogs haven't been harmed.

12/31/2012 3:06:48 AM

is it possible to buynatural predators s uch as black snakes or ferrets to control rats? if so where can they be purchased?

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