How to Get Rid of Rats and Mice in Your Barn

How to Get Rid of Rats and Mice in Your Barn

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Keith's Pro Tips

"Once rodents are removed from your barn they likely to come into your home or other nearby structures. Continue setting out Solutions Rat and Mouse Bait Stations with Eratication Rodent Bait around these nearby structures as well as removing any piled up materials, plant debris, and firewood away from these areas."

How to Get Rid of Rats and Mice in Your Barn

This article is a general DIY guide that discusses control methods of rat and mice infestations in and around barns. By reading our DIY guide, farmers will learn how to eliminate and prevent rat and mice populations by following the listed steps and professional quality products.

If you own a farm or have outside animals, then you are likely to experience several encounters with rats or mice. When rodents come into your barn they usually do not come alone. They commonly bring ticks, fleas, and other potential parasites on them. Since their foraging behavior can cause them to go through every opening, crack and crevice, and voids they will efficiently spread these parasites around and potentially to outdoor animals.

There are four types of rodents most common in barns: the Norway rat, roof rat, deer mouse, and house mouse. Besides spreading parasites, these rodents will cause damage to your barn by chewing wood, storing food, chewing electrical wires and fabric or cloth-like materials, and leaving behind numerous amounts of waste during their process of scavenging. They are also known to carry infectious diseases that can be spread from their waste or foraging activities, which can be dangerous to homeowners, farmers, and outdoor animals.

Barns or stables provide the perfect environment for rodents, due to various hiding places like stacks of hay, tractors and other machinery, and excessive amounts of food on the ground. Rats and mice have a quick breeding time, which means they can have several litters throughout a year. Due to this reason, rats and mice can increase their population by breeding or attracting other members of its species. A few cats or owls roaming around your barn may not be enough for a large rodent infestation.

Rats and mice can infest a barn anytime of the year, but usually they come inside when the weather becomes cooler. If you suspect a rat or mice infestation in your barn or stable, then follow the steps and recommended products listed throughout this easy to use DIY guide.

Signs of Rodent Infestations in Barns

Rodent Droppings

Rodents are elusive and shy animals so it can be hard to witness their presence in massive places like barns where there are many things are lying around. However, there are some tell-tale signs of rat and mice infestations in barns. When looking for existence rats or mice, you should be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect yourself from rodent waste and potential bacteria.

Droppings: Throughout rat and mice traveling activities, they will leave several amounts of droppings and urine. These droppings can be found along the walls, near or in food supplies, behind objects, and within machinery stored in barns.

To determine which species of rodents are infesting in and around your barn then take a look at their droppings. Rodent fecal matter will vary between black or brown coloration and will vary in size and shape. Rat droppings are pellet-shape like other types of mice, but slightly larger. Norway rat waste will have blunt ends measuring 3/4 inches whereas roof rats have pointed ends that are 1/2 inches long. House mice and deer mice droppings will measure to a quarter of an inch long similar to the shape and size of a grain of rice. However, house mice droppings will be resemble a grain of rice while the deer mouse droppings will have more of a pointed end.

Gnaw Marks or Holes: Rats and mice depend on gnawing because their incisor teeth constantly grows. Due to their instinctive behavior, rodents gnaw on multiple surfaces to keep their teeth sharp, sized, and strong. These gnaw marks or holes can be found in feed bags, cardboard boxes, stall ledges, barn doors, window frames, horse blankets, pads, and electrical wiring.

Burrows: Some species of rats creates underground pathways or burrows for food storage and living spaces. Usually these holes are caused by Norway rats, these pests will dig these burrows along your barns foundation and walls, under wood piles and other yard debris, and underneath your barn or stable.

The entrance to these burrows is typically 2 to 4 inches long with smooth dirt walls and loose hard-compacted dirt around the tunnel opening. To tell if the burrow is active, place leaves and paper materials on the entrance. Observe this area for at least 2 days without interference and if the tunnel opening is cleared then this will indicate a Norway rat is present.

Smudge Marks: Rat and mice bodies are very oily and will leave a greasy trail along their paths. Rodent smudge marks look very dark or black colored at the beginning then fade away towards the end. These pathways are visible on walls, along rafters and ceilings, floors, and around any plumbing you have in your barn.

Foul Odors: Rodents urinate proficiently as they travel in and around your barn. Rat and mice urine has a strong musk, ammonia scent. Strong odors usually indicate the population size of the rodent or how close you are to sites of activity, or both.

Strange Sounds: Though rodents are most active at night, they can be heard throughout the day. Rats and mice create soft scampering or scratching as they forage or travel. Occasionally, rats and mice emit a high pitch squeak.

How to Keep Rats and Mice Out of Barns

Once rodent activity has been witnessed, you will need to quickly implement some control practices. Failure to do so can cause moderate structural damages to your barn or stable and potentially effect the quality of feed material and health of livestock.

Rats and mice depend on their sense of smell, which means they can detect your scent on the trap or rodent control products being used. For this reason, we suggest wearing gloves to prevent rodents from avoiding traps, rodenticides, and areas where these products are placed.

When using any type of rodent control products make sure to place these in areas not regularly visited by animals or at least tamper-proof.

Step 1: Eliminate Food Sources and Hiding Places

Sweeping Concrete

Keeping your barns clean is the most effective way to preventing rats and mice from entering. Where there are livestock animals, there will be feed and hay. Both of these things satisfy a rodents food and habitat needs.

Clean your barn at the beginning and end of each day by sweeping up fallen hay, leaves, plant debris, manure, feed, and bedding. Compost heaps used for barn residue should be placed several feet away from your barns foundation to deter rodent activity.

Reduce clutter, including carboard boxes, newspaper, loose equipment, piles of blankets, and feed bags. Keep the barn aisle clear of these objects to ensure animals have enough space to travel and to remove covered spaces for rodents to hide and travel through.

Rodents are particularly known to infest barns and stables due to the excessive amounts of grains and seeds. Cardboard boxes and plastic or paper feed bags are no match for the sharp incisors of rodents. Once a rat or mice becomes determined they will chew through these materials to reach its contents. Replace paper or plastic bags and cardboard boxes with plastic boxes with secured tight-fitting lids. Grain bags and feed bins should be switched for ones made out of metal or heavy plastic materials, and have tighly fitting lids.

To help further eliminate rodent sites and keep your barn clean designate a room to keep all secured feed and grain, saddles, blankets, pads, leg wraps, and other equipment in. Any type of cloth material should be stored in a plastic box with a tight fitted lid.

Periodically, wipe down shelves, stall doors, top of walls, corners of ceilings and rooms, and base of walls.

Step 2: Seal Entrances

Filling Holes With Copper Mesh

Rats can fit through holes as small as a quarter while mice can fit through holes as small as a dime. Examine your barn roof, doors, windows, foundation, and walls for holes, cracks and crevices, and other voids. These areas will be most likely used for travel for rats and mice to enter and exit your barn.

Make sure to use rodent-proof materials such as Copper Mesh to seal off potential entry ways for these rodents. Copper Mesh is a flexible copper woven material that easily fits into small or large voids. Once holes have been filled, rodents will become deterred from entering your barn due to the inability to gnaw through this product.

Additionally, you will need to ensure your barn doors and gates close completely. If not, then it will need to be repaired to prevent rats and mice from entering.

Step 3: Place Snap Traps Inside Barn

Easy Set Mouse Trap

Inside of barns, use snap traps due to non-toxic control and allows quick removal of deceased pest. However, you will need to place any snap trap in an area that is not within reach of animals and pets.

Depending on the rodent, we recommend using Solutions Easy Set Mouse Trap or Solutions Easy Set Rat Trap. This snap trap is made out of a sturdy, plastic material that can bear indoor and outdoor conditions. Conveniently, these snap traps are designed with a dual bar construction allowing for easy no-touch disposal. Simply pull back on the upright bar until the deceased rodent is released. Once the rodent is removed the Easy Set Trap can be reused with a quick rinse.

While wearing gloves, place the Solutions Easy Trap along walls with the bait end of the trap facing towards the wall. Use peanut butter laced with seeds as bait so rodents cannot easily remove the bait without setting off the trap. Make sure to set these snap traps on the exterior wall of where animals are kept to avoid them from coming into contact with this product. If animals are loose in the barn during the day then snap traps will need to be removed.

Step 4: Set Tamper-proof Bait Stations Outside

Bait Station Against Wall

Tamper-proof bait stations loaded with rodenticide baits are best used for on-going rodent control. These rodent stations will need to placed on the outside of barns to deter rats and mice from coming inside of your barn. We recommend using the Solutions Rat and Mouse Bait Station loaded with Eratication Rodent Bait. This flexible unit can be used to bait for all types of rodents and its sturdy construction protects the bait from the weather, children, and unwanted animal attention.

Eratication Rodent Bait comes in the form of a block with a hole in the center to easily be placed onto bait stations. This product is especially attractive to rats and mice, because it is formulated with a peanut butter scent and seeds. When rats and mice feed on this synthetic rodenticide their blood becomes clotted leading to death within 2 to 4 days.

While wearing gloves, open the Solutions Rat and Mouse Bait Station and load with 4 to 6 Eratication Rodent Bait on the metal rods inside the station, then close. Place the loaded bait stations flat against your barns exterior wall as this will be the pathway most frequently used by rodents. Each bait station used should have a distance of 20 to 40 feet.

Consistently replace the Eratication Rodent Bait at least once a day to keep the bait fresh. Rats and mice will move on to other sources of food in your barn if the bait is not replaced or if there are dead rodents present. Depending on your infestation, continue to replace the bait until rodent activity is no longer witnessed.

Preventing Rats and Mice in Barns

Mowing Grass

Once your rodent infestation has been controlled, you will want to avoid rats and mice in your barn or stables again. To prevent rats and mice from entering or revisiting your barn, then proceed with the following preventative measures.

  • Store all grains and feeds in plastic containers with secured fitting lids in a closed room. Other things like tractors, machinery, compost heaps, or large bales of hay will need to be stored several feet away from the barn to prevent rodents from nesting or foraging in these sites.
  • Sweep up any fallen hay, feed, plant foliage, and bedding material at the start and end of the day.
  • Eliminate any shelter for rats and mice by decluttering your barn and storing items in a secluded areas. Mow around your barn to remove overgrown weeds, turf, and other foliage that rats or mice can use to travel or hide within. Prune overgrown tree branches and shrubs located near your barn so rodents cannot access roof and other high entry points in barn.
  • Seal all voids, holes, openings, cracks, and crevices with a caulk and copper mesh to prevent rodents from traveling to and from your barn.
  • Monitor rodent activity with Solutions Easy Set Mouse Trap or Solutions Easy Set Rat Trap.

Key Takeaways

Which Rats and Mice Infest Barns?

  • Norway rats, roof rat, house mouse, and deer mouse are the most common types of rodents to infest in and around barns or stables.

Rodent Control in Barns

  • Snap traps like the Solutions Easy Set Rat Trap or Solutions Easy Set Mouse Trap are best used for indoor rodent control within barns and stables. However, make sure these products are not within reach of animals and outside of their stall and cage. To control rats and mice around your barn, use a rodenticide within a tamper-proof station like Eratication Rodent Bait and Solutions Rat and Mouse Bait Station.

How to Prevent Rats and Mice in Barns

  • Prevent rodents in your barn or stables, by securely storing all feed, grains, and cloth-like materials in plastic boxes with tight fitted lids. Consistently maintain vegetation around your barn and clean the interior twice a day to remove hay, plant debris, manure, and bedding on ground.
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