Mice are harmful pests which bear ailments and transmit other pests such as ticks, mites, and lice. Moreover, they cause the destruction of equipment in the chicken coop and consume the chicken feed leading to additional losses. Furthermore, serpents and other vermin use the holes created by the mice to gain access to the chicken shed. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the chicken shed is free from the rodents.
The common solution to the mice problem is the application of poisonous chemicals, but this is unsuitable around poultry. This is due to the likelihood of a hen dying after devouring a poisoned rodent. Other animals including owls, eagles, and hawks might also meet a similar fate after preying on an affected mouse. Therefore, there is a need to use non-poisonous measures to deter rodents from infesting the chicken coop.
Consequently, the measures taken to prevent mouse infestation involve depriving these rodents of the incentive to attack the chicken coop. The two main reasons why mice are drawn towards chicken shelters are a need for shelter and food. If the feed is kept away from the coop and conditions in the coop are made unsuitable for the inhabitation of mice, they naturally stay away.
First, the poultry farmer needs to separate the hen roosting area from the feeding area. This is accomplished by placing water and chicken feed outside before releasing the chicken to the field to feed. The water containers should then be stored at dusk and the feeding troughs covered or stored to prevent wastage of feed. This ensures that there is no leftover food to attract rodents.
To discourage the mice from inhabiting the chicken coop, the objective is to introduce a strong scent that simulates the presence of a predator. The sense of insecurity that results from the scent will deter the mice from establishing living and breeding centres in the coop. Scents that are repulsive to rats include mint, lavender, rosemary, citrus, pine, and balsam. Planting mint around the structure is, therefore, a suitable deterrent for mice encroachment.
It is possible to install lights on the front of a chicken coop that is yet to be connected to the electric grid. These lights are not only aesthetically pleasing but are also useful in case a farmer wishes to monitor activity around the coop at night. The lights are cheap, costing fifty dollars on average, and do not need electricity to operate. You simply install farmhouse lights that are tailored for outdoor porch zones, and the results will be satisfactory.
With these lights, you do not have to use a flashlight or the unreliable light from your cell phone screen to achieve visibility at dusk. Furthermore, the porch light illuminates a wider zone when compared to the flashlight. Moreover, you avoid the extra cost incurred by installing electricity to the chicken coop.
The lights are battery powered and remote controlled, making it convenient to operate in the dark. Moreover, they are not a fire hazard to the structure. The fixing process is simple as it only involved attaching the battery powered puck to various fixtures with superglue and then using applying screws to ensure that they are firmly attached. The lights should be placed above the windows. While selecting a remote-controlled light, it is crucial to ensure they can be operated over a large range.
It is very important for a chicken coop to be draft-free, dry, and well ventilated. A draft can be described as a stream of air that flows into an indoor space while ventilation is the introduction of fresh outdoor air into an enclosure to replace the stale air that is expelled from the room. For poultry farmers, a draft is a term that implies the cracks, openings, or crevices that are situated near the bottom of a coop. Conversely, ventilation describes openings, which might be vents or windows, that are located near the top of the coop.
Importance of ventilation
Good ventilation provides an avenue for the expulsion of ammonia fumes that emerge from chicken waste. The ammonia gas is typically lighter than air; therefore, it rises and is released to the atmosphere through the ventilation spaces. If the gas is allowed to accumulate in the chicken coop, it damages the delicate respiratory system of the chicken eventually precipitating blindness and respiratory diseases.
Even though the ammonia fumes are less dense than air under ordinary conditions, the gas becomes heavier than air when the humidity rises or in places which are very humid. This results in the settling of the gas near the floor thus afflicting the chicken. Proper ventilation has the added benefit of expelling excess moisture thus mitigating the risk of ammonia accumulation.
It is necessary to seal any openings close to the roost level in cold seasons to protect your chickens from cold wind flowing into the coop. The small door that allows the poultry to access the coop can be spared since it is a necessity; however, it is recommended to install a draft drape across the pop door to reduce cold drafts on cold days when the birds are forced to stay indoors.