Farmgirl School

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -Tolkien


The water was still and unmoved.  No life or death disturbed its surface.  I had ordered them all to walk the plank yesterday after setting up buckets with a few inches of water and a plank.  Doug threw in a little sweet feed for enticement.  I peered over the edge sadistically, with trepidation, and found that no one had taken the bait.

Our friend at the feed store had told us about this method of mice extermination.  Her friend simply sets up a bucket in the chicken coop with a plank and everyone falls in and drowns.  The vision of piles of dead mice in their watery grave did not sound enticing.  But neither does poison.  Or traps.  I will inevitably poison the neighborhood cat and snap my toe.  Guaranteed.

cute mouse

And I never thought myself a worrisome person, but I have found that I do indeed worry about the moral implications of mass genocide on another living creature.  I do not want them to suffer, by means of drowning, decapitation, or poison.  Do I even have a right to decide?  If I look through a different lens, I can see that the mice playing gleefully in the front yard, dancing on the porch, and raiding the chicken coop could be deemed, by Disney or Beatrix Potter standards as, dare I say, cute.  However, on closer inspection of reality, I see them and hear them racing in the garage.  Hundreds of them.  They are not even scared of us anymore.  They run across my feet as we milk.  They burrow into the photographs I treasure, the Christmas boxes of memories, and Andrew’s things that he will take when Megan becomes his bride.  Hopefully they will not all be destroyed.  But that is what hundreds of mice do.  They infiltrate and destroy.

They are graciously not in the house, which is surprising since they are under the porch and swarming the outbuildings.  The occasional straggler makes it in.  Yesterday, Eliza brought us a deceased mouse which she had no moral dilemma with, and left it for me in the bathroom.  Thanks.  However, if they were to get into the walls and decide to storm the castle, eight indoor cats would have little effect.  We have experienced this before in prior houses.  Cleanliness has nothing to do with it.  Mice are persistent little buggers.  I had read in our last house to put out cotton balls doused in peppermint essential oil.  I did so, and I kid you not, I found a nest made of the cotton balls.  It was lovely and aromatic and the mouse practically flipped me off.  I am so done with mice.

So, I set up watery graves and ordered them in Captain Hook style to kindly walk the plank and be done with it.  They have refused.  I lean on you, my farming and fighting friends out there, how, pray, does one rid the farm of mice?


17 thoughts on “Walking The Plank

  1. Cheryl says:

    Katie, look into Glue Board Traps. Some smell like peanut butter and will tweak curiosity.

    Trapping Mice With Glue

    Trapping mice is one of the methods of getting rid of your mice population. The other method is using a high quality rodent bait. Which ever method is chosen, make sure to use plenty trap placements or plenty rodent bait placements to be effective. The most common mistake in trapping mice or rats is using too little traps. Place out more traps than you think you need. You can not put out too many. There are several types of mouse traps, such as glue traps, snap traps and multiple mice traps.

    Advantages and Disadvantages Of Glue Traps

    Advantages: Glue board mouse traps are a very useful tool whenever mechanical traps or poison baits are not a good option. Glue traps are generally cost less than snap traps or multiple mice traps and are considered cost effective. You catch a lot for your bucks. Mice do not readily escape from the stickiness of glue traps. Snap traps can be dangerous to pets and children unless you have them in tamper proof bait stations. The use of rodenticides or snap traps may not be an option in a given situation. Locations such as food processing plants, warehouses, kitchens, hospitals, veterinarians, kennels, etc may benefit from glue traps. Glue traps are safe and poisonless.

    Disadvantages: If you are looking for a humane way of trapping mice, glue traps are not one of them. Instead choose a non winding mouse trap, such as Victor Tin Cat, Little Pete, or Kness Tip Top Mice Traps.

    Types of Mouse Glue Traps

    There are two basic types of glue board traps for mice. The first is the plastic mouse glue tray. The second is the cardboard mouse glue board. We prefer the cardboard variety because they lay very flat and the mouse can easily step on them. Keep in mind that a plastic mouse glue tray that is only an ¼ inch high looks very flat to us. To a mouse, however, it can almost be an obstacle and often times the mouse will detour around it. Another big advantage of the cardboard trap is that it can be folded into a tunnel. This tent like shape keeps the dust and debris off the glue surface in order to maintain stickiness. This will easily double or triple the useful life of the glue trap.

    Glue Trap Placement

    As it is with poison baits and snap traps, placement is critical to the successful use of glue board traps. Place the glue board traps along known rodent pathways when possible. Mice have relatively poor vision; they like to stay close to walls. Placing glue board traps behind appliances and furniture is a good idea as well because they seek shelter behind such items. Many of the glue board traps such as the Trapper Max Glue Boards are pre-baited , so there is no need to put food on them to attract mice. I do not like peanut butter as a bait because it is oily and may help mice escape from the glue. In addition, peanut butter can attract the family pets as well as ants and roaches. Provoke Mouse Attractant is not as likely to attract insects and pets and does not try out as quickly.

    Glue Board Traps and Pets

    Oh my goodness!!! Fluffy got into the glue trap, and it’s stuck to her fur! What do I do? Well it’s messy, but cooking oil and a little patience can release the glue and then soap and water can remove the cooking oil. If fluffy is a cat then good luck with the soap and water part. I have tried to bathe my cat (and I have the scars to prove it). With pets around a good option is to find a box slightly larger than the glue trap. Cut holes in each end of the box; make it large enough for a mouse to enter. I make them about 1½ inches in diameter. Place the glue board trap inside and use a small piece of tape to close the lid. Now position it against the wall. You have just made a wonderful pet-proof glue trap holder.

    We had used Orkin for over a year and caught some mice in the traps he placed for spiders. They do work.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      We don’t have black snakes here, but I am not sure if I want snakes slithering across my foot while milking either! I almost sent you an email yesterday saying, “Do NOT read my post today!” lol! Heebie Jeebies!

      1. debweeks says:

        I’m not a fan of snakes either, but I think I’d rather have snakes then mice. Although, I hear guinea fowl are also very good at keeping mice away. Their diet consists primarily of bugs and they eat weed seeds which prevent the spread of weeds. Of course I don’t know how you or your neighbors would feel about the noise they make, but they could solve the problem with mice.

  2. jennie says:

    a good OUTSIDE mouser cat? although really, we are trap people – especially if you can put them under your porch and places where your toes wont find them. I would also put poison under your porch and other places that you cant get to. I would try peanut butter on that plank – my father used that with success but it takes time – and don’t touch it – once one mouse goes – drop more peanut butter and don’t touch it because they can smell human touch for several days after, so after a couple mice go – even if they die, it becomes a mouse friendly space. also try a strong chili powder around the perimeter of your porch (after you get them out) and then try to control their food sources, – we have animal food in metal garbage cans (after a rat ate through a very thick rubber maid bin). then you need to check buildings for holes -they can get in anything their head can get it, so you shove steel wool in the holes to block them. ive also heard that urine filled kitty litter is a deterent. FINALLY – we have used these to get rid of large roof rats and I strongly consider these the success – although they did not work so much with squirrels. they did not annoy our dogs either – its an ultrasound thing that annoys them and sends them away.

    1. jennie says:

      they do have other versions of that ultrasound thing, including battery powered ones, we used battery powered ones and put out SEVERAL facing multiple directions.

    2. Farmgirl says:

      Thank you, I will try these things!

  3. Enjoyed this, such a dilemma.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I know I need to toughen up, I live on a farm for crying out loud!

  4. Mark Pearce says:

    Two suggestions:

    Send to Hamelin for a Piper. This has a certain literary appeal. Of course, it has the drawback of potentially losing your children in the same migration. But if you keep your children properly penned, it should work out well.

    My second suggestion is more practical, but involves a large amount of peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie dough. Spread liberal amounts of both substances along the inside walls and basements of your neighbors’ homes. (It’s crucial that you do this under cover of darkness. It’s almost impossible to come up with a rational explanation if you’re caught in the act.) You’ll soon find that your mice have migrated of their own accord.

    I hope these ideas help. Let me know if you need an accomplice for implementation.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Um, best response ever! We must be kindred spirits, I, too, thought of hiring a pied piper and looking up the patron saint of getting rid of mice!

      1. Mark Pearce says:

        I’ve always felt we were kindred spirits, Katie. 🙂

  5. Julie Pullum says:

    You need to be harsh! Sad but true if you have that many they will take over, traps are not going to cope with that volume but you could try them, we put a chewed toffee on ours and let it set! Caught five one after the other in my potting shed! You can get humane traps where you take them and let them out somewhere far far away but this is really not practical. Poison or multiple traps (the killing kind) is the only way forward. My husband says go on YouTube and check out plague of mice in Australia! He says it may help you to be harsh!

  6. Ugh! It’s time to be harsh. Try oats, floating on the water bucket, fill the bucket nearly to the top with water.

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