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Re: Man vs. Mouse

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:56 pm
by Tweetypie
I can see where you are coming from now, Rick. I wasn't quite sure why you needed the sh#t shaker, but now realise that like most on here, your chooks are in an enclosure with dark bedding. My poor husband has to pooh pick by hand, with a shovel. I reckon I might keep them in a big enclosed area through winter and get OH to make the famous Rick S#it shaker. I'm sure it will make his life easier 😉

Re: Man vs. Mouse

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:49 pm
by rick
The battle continues...
I think I have stopped them digging in. Its quite obvious where they do as there is a clear spot on the bedding on the floor and a corresponding gap in the paving/tunnel below.
Have been leaving the trail cam in the run the past few nights and they are still having a party in there! Its been good to note that the one meter of half inch mesh does give them trouble to climb. They jump and run up about a third of it but then turn back - its obviously an effort for them to climb the whole distance though Ive no doubt they could in a crisis.
There are some places where they can get through the gap between the woodwork and wire where the timber is sitting on the low wall around the base but I suspect their 'front door' is in the extension at the back of the run because one ran that way earlier when I looked in as the chooks were settling in on the perch.
Part of the problem is the heavy duty wire that I used to fox proof in a hurry as it is really difficult stuff to work and though it has totally fox proofed it makes for a lot of badly fitting corners to cover with finer mesh. If I could Id take the whole defenses apart and re-line with neatly fitted and servicable panels but that would be an epic job!

The gaps between the base and the wire are vertical gaps where the wire isn't completely tight against the frame and brickwork. I can fix that (and will) but they don't seem keen on going that way for some reason. I think they are cautious when the smooth face of the beams don't give much to grip on and they might fall down. Again, they could do it, I'm sure but there is an easier way that I haven't found yet. Pointing the camera in every direction in the run and extension is going to take some time! Feels like a border intelligence operation! They are a very cute foe :)

Re: Man vs. Mouse

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:34 am
by Icemaiden
Hmm. They're cute when they're somewhere else. They're not so cute when they chew through plastic water pipes that're buried under a floor or in a studwork wall...

When we converted an outbuilding into a studio last year I had a heck of a job finding a plumber who'd lay in copper water pipes rather than plastic ones for just that reason.

Hope you beat the little blighters Rick. Thought about keeping a few owls??

Re: Man vs. Mouse

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:32 am
by LadyA
You know what I've discovered??

The last couple of weeks, my cats have been obsessing about an electrical outlet on the living room wall. Just the one. They ignore all the others. Now, when we moved into this house, one of the outlets didn't work, and we had an electrician in to investigate. He found a mouse skeleton behind it! He said that it happens occasionally. In one house, he had found four mice, nose to tail, all electrocuted! :o So I was suspicious, but tbh, didn't pay over much attention.

We've had some fierce storms the last few weeks. The other day, I was out at the side of the house where the electricity meter is. The lock for this meter has been gone since before we moved in, 20 years ago. So, the cover flaps. But now, around the ground outside, there were loads of the tiny insulation beads! opening the cover, I discovered a hole had been gnawed in the side of the cover, leading into the wall of the house! So, that's obviously how the mice got in. I'm thinking of using expanding foam on that, and have now sealed off the actual cover. And will enquire about getting it repaired/replaced. And will not think about the dead mouse/mice in the wall!!

Re: Man vs. Mouse

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:52 am
by rick
Agh! Yeh! Haven't had problems of chewing through wire and pipes. Maybe if I do succeed in keeping them out of the run they will get a bit more desperate for something to chew.
They are defiantly using the rear corner in this shot. Maybe I can hypnotize Bonnie into thinking she is an owl. She looks a bit like one in the early morning :)
Screenshot from 2018-11-19 08-43-14.png
Screenshot from 2018-11-19 08-43-14.png (409.72 KiB) Viewed 499 times

Re: Man vs. Mouse

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:04 pm
by Marigold
rick wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:52 am
Maybe I can hypnotize Bonnie into thinking she is an owl. She looks a bit like one in the early morning :)
She's not the only one!

Re: Man vs. Mouse

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:32 pm
by rick
Just thought I would update on this ongoing saga.
I have given up on having the hopper for the chooks to scratch the bedding out of themselves. It does take them longer than it would to find scratch that was just scattered but not that much longer! Did discover, though, a good way of putting scratch under the surface of 'bedding', some 22mm plastic pipe with a funnel on the top. Fill it with scratch and stir around in the auboise and the pipe empties - keeps them busy scratching for just as long.
So the hopper that I had built into the new perch and nest box unit, to get it all away from the sides, to make it harder for the mice to use to get in, I took out today. There was a triangular gap under it that I had sealed off with mesh (or thought I had) and when I upturned the unit today they had built a nest in there!
However, there was only one mouse on camera last night so at least thats a good sign. DPC (damp proof course) is slippery black plastic on a roll that is pretty cheap. They don't seem to be able to climb it (just like an 8 inch band) up or down if it is fixed to the wall. Otherwise they quite happily run up half inch weld mesh to at least a metre.
I know this is obvious, and I had an inkling in the summer, but the smell of mouse near a nest box will put them off laying in there. Very sensible and probably learned from millions of years of experience for birds. The reason for them shunning the built in nest boxes last summer seems obvious now.

Nesting isn't an issue at the moment. The last to molt was Mo. Now she has quit laying we have no eggs :( Bonnie seems determined to keep eating discarded feather cases and is as runny pooped as ever but tail up and seems OK otherwise. Lulu's big comb is pale and shriveled -she and Mo look like they have been dragged through a hedge backwards but Pom is getting a new outfit of feathers. I took their rings off quite some time ago and am hping that I will be able to tell who is who from their combs as the new feather outfits could be very different... Mo might not be the one cappuccino on top anymore!!

Re: Man vs. Mouse

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:44 am
by LadyA
My girl that had an almost full moult in the Autumn went through a hard time with the other hens w hile moulting. She was very bullied, and they wouldn't let her near the food. I had to feed her sneaky feeds in the house by herself, while they were all getting their evening feed out in the run. And I gave her extra in the mornings, in the house, once they were all gone out. Thankfully, now that she's fully feathered again, there's no problem, and she's back feeding with them. Hens are just weird! :roll:

Re: Man vs. Mouse

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:52 pm
by rick
I cant work them out! Sometimes, when one is looking under the weather the others seem to keep them company but whether that is actually what is going on..
It is roost time that gets me. Occasionally, because of being there at the time, I am foolishly tempted to try to settle perch squabbles by rearranging them. Not a chance! - the one that was being pecked starts pecking the new neighbor and its into another round of musical perches. At which point I give up and say 'Well it will be too dark to see each other in 10 mins so you can all just get on with it! G'night!'

Re: Man vs. Mouse

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 9:11 pm
by bigyetiman
OH learn't that you can't rearrange hens on a perch, you just have to let them get on with it and once it is dark all is fine. a lot of it with ours is just posturing. She has two old timers 5 & 6 who get on one end of the perch and just look disdainfully at the bickering, conveniently forgetting that used to do exactly the same.
OH had a friend phone up today and ask if we had a humane rat trap, as they had one rat ( that's what you think) and they wanted to catch it and release it in in a field at the back of them. Her reply was "yes I have but be careful with it as it will break your fingers if it goes off with them in the way, and rats come in bunches like buses you have more than one" She just rolled her eyes after that call