To a rodent, a stable is an attractive home. There are plenty of hiding places for them to make a nest, there’s often sources of food in the way of feed and there’s lots of access ways that are out of sight and keep them out of the way.
As any owner of horses know, rodents in the barns and stables are more than a nuisance. Active primarily at night, they contaminate food stores, spread disease and their constant chewing damage structures and equipment. Rodents will chew through anything, including fiberglass, horse blankets and electrical wiring potentially causing shorting outs and fires.
They also multiply rapidly. Females are capable of between 5 – 10 litters a year with up to 14 in a litter, although 7 is more common. These pups reach sexual maturity at just five weeks after being born, meaning a single mating pair can grow from 2 rodents to 15,000 in a single year if left unchecked, a veritable army of rodents.
They say that an army marches on its stomach, and rodents are no exception to this. An adult rat eats around 30g of feed per day and colony of 100 rats eat around a tonne of feed per year, or as much as a single adult horse would eat in the same time span. Furthermore, it’s estimated that rats destroy ten times more than that in way of contamination by hair, urine and droppings. Yuck! Protecting your livestock from rodent damage is a fiscal must. But what do you do?
LOCK IT DOWN
Anyone who has spent some time working in a stable knows that they aren’t the most airtight of structures. To stop rodents though, you need to bunker down and make sure that the drafts can’t blow. Rodents can fit through spaces as small as 0.6cm across. That’s about the width of your pinky. Seriously small spaces. You need to get the caulk gun out and fill in any spaces or cracks you find (we don’t recommend sticking your pinky finger into the spaces to see if there 0.6cm across. Use a ruler if necessary, lest you poke a funnel web spider in the face). Attention should be paid to wires and pipes leading into the building. Often these have been installed by drilling through the walls and not properly sealed afterwards. You should also put door seals on your doors to stop any rats or mice coming in through the cracks under the door. They’re relatively affordable and can save you a lot of money later.
Other handy materials that can help block out these critters and that you can use that you can find at your local hardware store: chicken wire, cement and spackle, door sweeps, steel wool, solid fencing, etc.
Protect Food Stores
Rodents have an exceptionally keen sense of smell, and they can seek out food like a kid can sense cake behind close doors. Ensure all feed is kept in a sealed, steel container with a proper lid and any spilled or leftover feed is swept up and disposed of away from the stable. Not only will this make the stable less attractive to rodents, it will also increase the efficacy of baited traps that won’t have to compete with the feed.
Eliminate the population
Even the most entry proof barn and stable with protected food stores can be susceptible to attack by rodents. Unfortunately, the rodents can’t be just willed away, and a targeted approach is required to ensure that they are properly eliminated. A proper rodent management system installed by a professional pest controller provides the best way to eliminate and manage rodent populations. Evidently each stable and barn is unique, and as such, no two rodent control plans are the same. Flick has a variety of treatments and control methods that we use to combat rodents, from traditional baiting systems to our non-toxic SMART range of catch systems and devices. Each solution is tailored to the specific site after a careful site analysis and with consultation from the client. If Rodents are a problem for you call us on 0800 101 969 to discuss how we can protect your site today!