Mice live everywhere and there is no escaping them! Whether you live on a farm or not, these hardy creatures manage to survive where ever they can find food and lodging. They will eat just about anything and they can squeeze through the tiniest of space to get inside our homes and coops. And they have had to evolve to be prolifc breeders and scavengers because they are food to many wild and domestic animals. In fact, if you would research their purpose to our environment, it is to be food. It also doesn't help that they are very intelligent and they have to be to survive. They are largely nocturnal, so you may think they are not around, but very likely they are. I was curious to see if they could be a viable food source for my birds as they are a very natural food for them.
Mice not only love a lot of the same food like seeds and grains as poultry do, they also like the shelter and bedding where your birds live too. Mice can get through a 1/4 inch size opening, so a lot of younger mice especially get into your coop through the hardware cloth or cracks around the doors. To really keep mice out of a building, you have to have all the seams and openings fairly well sealed. Since poultry housing typically needs lot of ventilation, vents and windows leave a way in. Be prepared for chewed holes in your coop walls for yet another way to get in. Bird doors are left open during the day, so it is safe to say probably most poultry housing are visited by mice.
Strong scents as mice repellents are nearly worthless outside. They will easily maneuver around it and once they are inside a coop, it will not work to get them back outside. I have had the experience of mice using fresh mint leaves in their nests!
We can be concerned about the diseases mice may carry and spread to us and our poultry. This is true, but it is true for all animals and even insects you come in contact with in the outdoors (said as a person who has contracted Lyme from a tick!). It is prudent of us to practice health safety for ourselves by avoiding bites and scratches and avoid breathing in environmental dust as much as possible. Washing our hands and clothes after working outside is just common sense things to do when we are in contact with our animals and cleaning outdoor buildings and animal housing. For our animals, keeping their health and immune systems strong should be a top priority and is good practice. They do live outdoors and short of making your birds live in a contained, sterile environment, we can only do the best we can.
I think it is integral to the health of my poultry to have food and water available whenever they need it. I have read it advised to pick up the food and water each night to not
feed the mice. But birds are messy eaters and scratch food out of their feeders, and food gets on the ground. A lot of people throw food around in the coops and run areas to encourage their birds to scratch! If you are
using the deep litter method you want them to help turn the litter. So,
there is always going to be food around to attract mice. And mice are going to love to live in your coop, especially if you provide lots of nice bedding for them!
Original Source: Susan Burek 2019