Friday, February 23, 2007

Kathy - 6, Mice - Zip

We had a few nice days last week where our temperatures were in the low 50's F giving us a taste of what spring could actually be like. All of the sheep and chickens were just itching to get out into our pasture, but, alas, our pasture is still brown. The grasses have not woken up this year - with good reason as you can tell by the snow in this picture of Skittles and Colin enjoying their breakfast this morning.

Our storm today is supposed to be a fast mover with chances of sun this afternoon. But our temperatures have changed back into more seasonal ones. I wouldn't have let any of "The Mob" out into the pasture anyway. The ground is way too soft and "mushy" (yes, a technical term). Even though the sheep and chickens don't weigh very much, their running and dancing about on the wet, soft ground would damage it. I have enough problems keeping it going in our high desert climate so they will just have to be patient and wait. Hay will still have to do.

Two days ago while opening the pen inside the barn to let the boys out I saw something zip past me. It was very low to the ground and fast. Now, anyone on medication of any sort would have to re-check themselves to make sure they weren't seeing things. But those of us with barns and outside sheds know exactly what it was - a mouse!

Our changeable weather is driving these creatures back into the barn for warmth and food. I have other ideas about it and have declared war on these vermin! So, Wednesday night I set out traps again, baited with peanut butter. Thursday morning I had indeed caught three mice. Two in the end of the barn where the boys and the chickens spend the night and one in the feed room.I reset the traps last night and caught another three! I usually place the corpses where our local crow, er, raven, population can find them for "disposal". They are my "Cleaners"...removing all evidence of any rodent I place in their view. We have the dreaded Hanta virus in this area of the country. I handle these vermin with surgical gloves and opt for the crows to utilize the food source rather than place them in our garbage can. I am not going to dig holes for burials either. But I thought as I headed for the house this morning...maybe it's not such a good idea to feed anything this close to the pasture. Oh, I don't mind the crows, but if they don't make use of the offerings will they draw coyotes closer to us? That would not be a good thing what with lambing in April. Sometimes the crows leave my offerings and they still disappear overnight. Who is taking them? Our neighbors cats prefer live prey so something else has to be helping with the disposal.

I'll have to give this problem some thought. It may come to the crows having to find something else for their meals rather than the mice from our barn.


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

YUCK! I will NOT empty mouse traps. Rick used to hassle me about that, so I switched to "bar bait." Great stuff, if you are willing to use poison. Our cats keep most mice out of the barn, but they've gotten into my car and our pickup more than once. What a mess! EAT BAIT and DIE!

(Boy, you and Lauren were quick on the draw this morning, commenting on the post I wrote late last night. Can you somehow set up things to send you a notice when someone's blog has a new post?)

Kathy L. said...

I don't use poisons due to my neighbors having cats that run through our place. I would hate it if one of my neighbors' pets died due to secondary poisoning from what I, I just empty traps and reset them.
I don't like it, but I don't like the mice more. :)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

But like you said, the cats seem to prefer their food "live and kicking." We've always had outdoor/barn cats, and so far, so good. Ozzie, after all, is 17 years old now!

melanie said...

Mice? Oh, honey, you should try rats. Triple yech! (Which reminds me, I should use the blog to tell my worst rat story...) I have the utmost respect for anyone that can actually EMPTY the traps...We use the glue traps mostly, that way the DH can simply collect and burn. And then there's the "swimming pool" method - let them go swimming in the water pail, and viola! they drown (or freeze.) We've gotten at least a dozen that way this year. I like it, since I hate vermin, but frankly, the sheep are not amused.