Rodent Control Around Bins & Barns
The time of cooler weather and full bins are upon us, which also means rodents have likely pegged your facilities as cozy places to stay with an all-you-can-eat buffet. On top of being nasty, disease-carrying critters, they can be rather destructive when it comes to grain quality, buildings and equipment. The USDA estimates that these critters cause $2 billion in damages… and that’s just in livestock feed. From the whole U.S. economic standpoint, damages are estimated to be much higher at $20 billion (Bennett, 2021).
With a 21–23-day gestation period and litter sizes of 8-18, it’s no wonder rat populations can get out of hand in a quick hurry (Quesenberry & Boshcert, 2022). It’s a similar story with mice: 21-day gestation and litter sizes ranging from 5-12; one female mouse can average 25-60 pups in just one year (Terminix, 2022). If that isn’t disturbing enough, Mississippi State Extension’s population rule of thumb is rather eye-opening:
- If you spot signs of rodents (chewed wires, droppings, etc.), it’s likely there are 1-100 on site
- If you see rodents occasionally at night: 100-500
- If you’re spotting them nightly and occasionally during the day: 500-1,000
- If they are regularly found during the day: up to 5,000
Now that we have you either partially (or completely) grossed out, here are some rodent prevention and combating suggestions beyond the traditional herd of farm cats. Keep in mind the best time to keep rodents at bay is before they can get themselves established.
- Cleaning up overgrown weeds, vegetation and other materials rodents can use as shelters around bins and buildings is a great proactive step to keeping rodents away.
- Clean up spilled grain as soon as possible.
- Select your bait based on your infestation situation:
- Motomco Bait Chunx are great for monitoring consumption. They are a perfect fit for those critters who prefer to gnaw and given their mold resistance, they are good options for outdoor spaces.
- Motomco’s Place Pacs are handy for tight spaces or for keeping pellets contained.
- Pellets are a good option for baiting burrows as they are too small to be kicked out like the chunx.
- Meal bait is a very palatable and highly accepted option that mimics their natural food source.
- Bait stations are the safest option in terms of keeping kids, pets and non-rodents away from the bait.
- Just like weeds can develop resistance to herbicides or livestock/humans with antibiotics, rodents can become resistant to baits so it’s important to rotate baits with different active ingredients. Access Motomco’s recommended rotation program here.
- Rats can bite six times per second with a 7000lb per square inch crush (Bennett, 2021).
- Rat populations (and breeding) are the lowest in the winter, however, if it’s a mild winter anticipate elevated rat populations in the spring. The prime breeding season is March through September, while food and cover are plentiful (Indiana Department of Health, n.d.).
Bennett, C. (2021, March 3). Rat Bomb: Farming’s Death of a Thousand Bites. Retrieved from The Packer : https://www.thepacker.com/news/industry/rat-bomb-farmings-death-thousand-bites
Indiana Department of Health. (n.d.). Rats and Mice. Retrieved from Indiana Department of Health: https://www.in.gov/health/erc/infectious-disease-epidemiology/rats-and-mice/
Quesenberry, K., & Boshcert, K. (2022, October). Breeding and Reproduction of Rats. Retrieved from MSD Veterinary Manual: https://www.msdvetmanual.com/all-other-pets/rats/breeding-and-reproduction-of-rats
Tabler, T., Farnell, M., Wells, J., Yakout, H., & Liang, Y. (2014). Controlling Rodents on the Poultry Farm. Mississippi State University.
Terminix. (2022, October). The Life Cycle of a Mouse. Retrieved from Terminix: https://www.terminix.com/rodents/mice/life-cycle/