for people who love the littlest dairy goats
Hi all. Has anyone dealt with chipmunks in the barn? They are brazen! My barn floor is dirt, covered with hay. The outside perimiter is gravel over dirt. I keep filling the holes they dig against the inside barn walls with gravel and heavy rocks on top. They just dig new holes - no surprise. There are no holes on the outside walls of the barn, so they are tunneling through/under from somewhere else. Perhaps they are mice. I have not seen them inside. I know we have both. Can anyone suggest best methods to eradicate the rodents? Mouse traps? Rat traps? Poison? I can't get an outside cat. Should I put a fake owl inside the barn? I would put the traps on the outside of the barn and keep goats elsewhere but they are coming from below the ground. I could leave traps inside the barn during the day as my goats are elsewhere in daytime hours without access to the barn. I worry the chipmunks/mice are leaving dropping that may harm my goats or potentially might even bite them. Is that possible? My goats are scared of everything! I imagine they are not happy with their midnight visitors -assuming this is when they arrive. I only see the holes, not the creatures. The goats spend daytime hours elsewhere away from the barn. Also, I do feed a little grain at night which the goats clean completely. Each morning I pour water in the feeding dish and wipe it out just to make sure there is no trace of anything appetizing to chipmunks. Would they be interested in the free choice minerals or baking soda? Are they just coming in for warmth? Thanks for your thoughts.
I never say never, but it is highly unlikely that a chipmunk would bite a goat. Perhaps if it was sleeping and a goat stepped on it? But it's not something you really need to worry about. As far as diseases go, there are not any rodent diseases that the literature would say goats can get, although all mammals can get rabies. In most states, however, rabies is extremely rare. Most mammals with rabies get uncoordinated and lethargic, so infected animals look obviously sick.
We have a ridiculous number of mice and the occasional squirrel in our barn. Cats are pretty much the only safe thing that keeps them under control. Poison is a bad idea because if the chipmunk goes off and dies somewhere, the opportunistic carnivore that eats it will wind up also dying, and that could be someone's pet cat. Live traps are somewhat controversial because some experts say that when you relocate a wild animal it usually winds up dying fairly soon. Even though they're wild, they do have a territory and when relocated, they don't always find food, water, and shelter in a timely manner -- especially in winter. A mouse trap would definitely be too small, and I don't know if a rat trap would work or not.
It sounds like the chipmunks are probably just coming inside for warmth and shelter. I never worried about squirrels coming into our barn because as far as I could tell, they weren't doing anything harmful. Mice, on the other hand, pee and poop all over everything and make it stinky! For example, they got into my goat kidding towel cabinet and made my clean towels totally disgusting, plus they pee and poop all over the counters in the barn office, the storage room, and the milking parlor and make it stink. I have never seen mice in the minerals or baking soda, and they don't chew holes in the mineral bag. They do chew holes in the feed bags though, so they are just attracted to the grain.
If you arent seeing them during the day then I bet you have mice or rats. If you do have chipmunks then you will see them durig the day. This sumer I had problems with chipmunks in my chicken coop. I started out trapping them and attempting to relocate them. But for each one I moved two more would show up. I ended up having to pick them off with the pellet gun while the chickens were out roaming around. They stopped showing up after I removed 14.
If you have rats then I recommend the large sticky traps that you can find at hardware stores. You'll have to dispatch the rat yourself though as they won't die. But they are the only thing I've had luck with for rats. I dont like poison because your own animals can get into it.
Thanks Deborah and Lee for your replies. I confess we have not begun the vermin war full on just yet. The cold took over and that is my latest concern. I do intend to try and trap them and have my husband or father "dipatch" them - I'm a wimp. I'm happy to know that they cannot harm my goats. Deborah, I just read your latest blog. I am so very sorry for your recent losses. Your family will remain in my prayers.