How to get rid of mice in the chicken coop

The last couple of days have felt like spring and with the weather warming up comes all the little problems you don't notice as much in the winter. Like mice. Anytime you have feed around you're going to have wild critters looking for a free meal. Luckily, we haven't had too much of a mouse problem in the coop over the last few years though there have been a few. I've had more problems with chipmunks and squirrels chewing through feed storage containers but the mice are a close second. 

Get rid of mice

Normally they get caught before they can do too much damage because unlike squirrels and chipmunks, mice like to move in when they find a good food supply. I have a few different methods I use to catch them and it usually doesn't take long between when I find evidence of mice and when I get rid of them.

I did have one mouse that took a long time to catch though. When I finally got him I wasn't real sure if he was just a huge mouse or a small rat. (see picture) We decided he more than likely was a mouse but all that layer feed must have made him grow bigger then normal. 

Whatever the reason was, I did not want to see one like him again!

How to get rid of mice in the chicken coop

Getting rid of rodents is a 3 step process. First you need to get rid of the reason they are there, next you need to get rid of them and finally you need to block their way back in.

associate policy

Step 1, take away the reason mice are there:

Rodents come around looking for food, obviously. The fact that water is often nearby and readily accessible just makes it more comfortable for them. First things first, block all access to food and water. If this means bringing the feeder in at night, well then you gotta do it. Either that or get a mouse proof feeder.

You can get a treadle feeder that doesn't open up till the chickens step on it if you absolutely can't bring their food in each night. You'll also need to secure whatever you are storing their food in. We use a thick rubber garbage can that holds about 150 lbs of feed. 

Make sure you check your storage container often in case something starts to chew on it. You might even want to go with a metal storage bin. 

Empty water bowls at night and refill them in the morning. I've heard that some people switch to a nipple watering system when they find mice. While this will keep the chickens water cleaner, it will not deter mice at all. 

Think about the last time you saw a mouse in a cage in a pet store. What was it drinking out of? More than likely it was a water bottle with a nipple style tip. They will learn to drink out of whatever a chicken drinks out of. The only way to make sure mice don't drink out of the chickens water overnight, is to dump it.

Step 2, get rid of the current rodent population:

Snap traps: I use these in my garage anytime I think there might be a mouse hanging around. I bought the newer style plastic traps and they are e-v-i-l! Do not get your finger snapped in one of those...or so I'm told. 

Anyway, if you use these make sure they are only placed where the chickens can't get them. I often put them down at night after I lock the chickens up and pick them back up before I let the chickens back out in the morning.

Bucket trap for mice. I don't have a picture but it's easy enough to figure out. Get a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with water up to a few inches from the top. Toss some sunflower seeds, peanuts in shells and/or crackers in the water so it floats on top. 

Literally any food that floats will work. Make it a pretty thick coating so it doesn't look liquid. Lean a board up against it so they have a little ladder. They'll climb up then jump into the bucket to get the food but drown. 

I personally do not use water, I use a humane trap lid instead. I'll add my video here, but basically I bought this lid from Amazon. I put it on a large bucket, dabbed peanut butter and PB oil on the ramp and flip part of the lid and added some shavings to cushion the drop. Shavings also make it hard for them to jump out and give them something to hide in. 

Safe trap: If you have anything bigger than a typical field mouse, you might want to get a safe trap. These are the same as the raccoon traps just smaller. Set it along a wall since mice tend to run alongside the wall. 

It also helps if instead of just throwing bait in the trap, you actually smear it on the trigger plate. I smear peanut butter on the trigger plate and as they lick and bite at it they always activate the trap. 

Cat: Most barn cats do a pretty good job of keeping the rodent population down. You should be able to find a rescue cat that's been fixed and vetted for a small adoption fee. Just provide a safe place to sleep, food and water and it'll catch the mice for you!

Step 3, keep mice from coming back:

Seal off cracks and holes that mice might be slipping through. Use a staple gun to secure a piece of hardware cloth over ventilation areas near the top of the coop or cover any holes or weak spots in the wood.

Keep areas around the coop clean. The less places rodents have to hide and nest, the less likely they are to stay around. Don't leave wood or equipment laying around and keep the grass trimmed.

Mice hate peppermint oil. Dab a little peppermint on the baseboards of the coop and mice will steer clear of it. I know peppermint essential oil can get expensive, but peppermint flavoring will work just as well and can often be found in dollar stores for candy making. 

You could also plant mint around the base of the coop though there's only anecdotal evidence of this working. Whatever you decide, you'll probably need to do a few of these steps to keep the rodents gone for good!

Have a great weekend!


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  1. Oh they drive me nuts! We've just recently got a cat but he's still too young (not to mention hubby felt bad putting him out in the winter, enter eye roll here!) But hopefully soon he'll be doing his job! Thanks for sharing on the Homesteader Hop!!

  2. The rescue cat doesn't always work. Mine will sometimes catch voles and eat a bit / bite of them. But she does not recognize mice in any way. I have dangled live ones by the tail inches from her and she turns up her nose and walkd away. Like you said, the newer plastic mouse traps work well.
    The interlopers I would like help with are pack rats and english sparrows. ... enjoy your newsletter!

    1. Well, you know cats...they kinda do what they want! Guess that one doesn't like mice. lol Seriously though, I have had cats that are excellent mousers and others that don't even try. Stick with the snap traps to catch mice in the coop if they're working for you! The safe traps work well for rats. They're big enough to set them off. HTH!

  3. I have a serious rat problem in my chicken coop. I put bait stations out they haven't touched them I know that they are in the walls and ceiling been putting bait block out in the walls have killed off some but I'm sure there are many more. I'd like to find something that works better. Come summer time going to tear everything apart to find out where they are getting in. Coop is on a cement slab

    1. Try the small have-a-heart safe traps. Rats are big enough to set them off and they can't get out once trapped. Good luck!


  4. That's a young rat in your photo.....

  5. You just confirmed my suspicions about mice disliking peppermint.....I hopefully/desperately put some near one's travel area and it didn't come back that way...but it came another way, where I had a sticky trap set out(-:

  6. Why all of a sudden are my chickens are pecking and eating the eggs? are they lacking something?

    1. Maybe. Could be boredom or not enough protein in their diet. Add some extra protein to their diet and be vigilant about collectings eggs often for a week or so and see if anything changes.


  7. I see little field mice all the time! They tunnel under the dirt in the coop yard! I made the mouse proof feeders...darn those hens throw food all over!!! It is a never ending battle! 😵‍💫🐁🐔