It's said that we're never more than a few feet away from a rat and let's be honest the stable / barn environment is a wonderful place for a rodent be it rat or mouse: warm, dry, plentiful nesting material and food. So what can we do to help eradicate rodents in the stable? Here are our top tips for rodent control around the stable yard.
Clean & Tidy:
Avoid feed spillage.
Feed should be kept in metal containers with tight fitting lids.
Sweep up any food spillages and dispose of in a metal dustbin with lid.
Keep feeds prepared in advance in rodent proof containers.
Don't allow grass and vegetation to grow long around the stables, keep it trimmed low with a strimmer or lawn mower.
When mucking out make sure you regularly remove the "banks" of straw at sides and corners to prevent rodents nesting in them.
Store rugs etc in sealed containers, don't heap them in corners, they make great nesting areas.
Cats & Dogs:
Many stable yards use a cat or terrier or both to help keep the rodent population down, although not completely effective it will help and some cat rescue charities have working mousers available for adoption.
If you use s cat or a dog great care must be taken if using poison.
Also remember rodents will eat cat and dog food, don't leave uneaten food lying around in bowls. Store feed in metal bins with tight lids.
Poisons should only be used to manufacturers instructions and only in specially purchased baiting boxes. Great care must be taken with poison as it has the potential to kill your horse, pets and wildlife such as birds.
Trapping is often the best solution but again make sure they are carefully baited and set up correctly safely away from pets and other wildlife. Sadly, live traps aren't recommended as rodents will often return to their territory after they are released.
Steel wool can be used to block existing rat holes.
Cover drain pipe spouts with wire mesh.
The area under pallets is perfect for rodents, avoid using them if possible.
Rodents love hollow walls, if you're having a new stable built avoid them.
Repair any holes that can be used for entry.
If you have snakes around the yard do not disturb them they make great rodent controllers.