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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Horse and Animal Lovers Only!

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Author Topic: Horse and Animal Lovers Only!
luvs2ride
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Right now I am incredibly upset and I do NOT want to hear from any of you who live in concrete worlds due to your fear of grass, ticks.

I only want to talk to other horse lovers, animal lovers, country dwellers. People who will understand how devastating this is for me.

After battling this disease for the last two years and winning the war, my husband and I have found an ideal horse farm. Level 12 acres with an 8 stall horse barn, implement sheds, and all close to town.

Lyme gave me Rheum. Arthritis and yet I have battled and beat it into remission. I feel healthy enough to again live on a farm, have my horses with me and do what I love more than anything else in life.

Additionally, this farm offers the possibility of a small income from riding lessons and boarding which could allow my husband and I to retire in a few years.

While the farm wants for nothing, the house needs complete updating interiorly so we have not moved in yet but have been going there daily to feed the farm cat we inherited.

Yesterday, for the first time in the month we have owned the farm, we saw rats in the barn. Man, I kid you not, I have never seen rats this big in a barn nor this brazen. They were everywhere and kept running around in plain sight. They would stick their heads out from the hay and stare at us then run across the aisle. Their heads are as big as squirrels' heads. We must have seen 12 or more. Add to that, the stupid cat just dozed while all this was going on.

I am certain these rats have just recently moved in to such an extent because I have spent time in that barn daily and never saw even one. I'm sure the lack of livestock and daily activity has them overrunning the place.

This morning I have been researching rats and disease. Now I am crying and crying.

I don't see how I can risk this exposure? This blows all our dreams. I'm dying here!

Adding to my already sick immune system, my LLMD who is also a rheumatologist just recently put me on Methotrexate and Enbrel (I haven't even begun the Enbrel but have just completed my first 2 mths of MTX) I was painfree 60 days before beginning these drugs and begged the dr to not put me on them but she insists that when she begins treatment for the Babs my joints will flare and could be damaged without these drugs. She promises I should only be on them a short time (3 to 5 yr!!!) I do not call that shortterm although with traditional rheumatology, it would be for the rest of my life.

The obvious is obvious! I am at high risk for contracting any of the number of diseases these stupid rats carry. To move to this farm is to play Russian Roulette with my life. I really believe this.

Is there any good answer for me? I can't afford to continuing boarding 2 horses indefinitely. The thought of not riding anymore makes me want to die.

I looked at the best ways to eliminate them. Rat poison is not good due to killing any animal that eats the poisoned rat including owls and pets. Attracting barn owls by placing nesting boxes in the barn is a great idea but how long will it take to attract them? Giant mouse traps sized for rats seems to work real well but I worry about the cat getting caught in them.

The farm is surrounded on two sides by a creek which is probably the source of these stupid rats so whatever measures I take, we will have to keep taking them for as long as we live there.

Help!

Luvs2ride

--------------------
When the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power, there will be Peace.

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luvs2ride
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Look what I found. Could this be hope? Has anyone ever used a service like this? These guys are in my area.

http://www.aallanimalcontrol.com/animal_control_roanoke_va.cfm

--------------------
When the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power, there will be Peace.

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sizzled
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Okay....let's put our heads together and see if we can come up with some solutions.

Barns and vermin exist no matter what BUT we can decrease their presence.

I have used the plug-in sound detractors. The ones that emit high pitch sound to repel mice with fairly good success. They have come way down in price and you can often get a package of three for the price of one.

Keep the barn as clean as possible by using only vermin-safe containers like metal garbage cans, good, old tack trunk (to put the bags of feed in).

Jack Russell terriers were once bred to be 'rat dogs' and some people even lease them to get rid of vermin on farms.

You may want to check out the local humane societies to adopt one. This way if it doesn't work out you can bring the dog back. Also, there are dogs that really only belong on a farm and are hard to place as a result.

You can use 'predator urine' like bobcat, coyote, or fox. They can be bought at some hardware stores or hunting stores, I think.

There are large rat traps that look like giant clothes pins. They trap the head and suffocate the rat. No mess. You reuse them with a little peanut butter smeared on the inside.

They work great!

This sounds like a temporary situation.

I wouldn't tolerate rats for a minute.

Hope these suggestions help!

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Curiouser
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I understand. We live out in the woods. While we don't have rats, mice are a constant problem even with 3 cats and a dog that mouses.

We call them "kamakazi mice" because they have to have a suicide wish to come into our house.

The main problem with live traps is "now what I do I do with it?".

I agree that poisons aren't the best method and should only be used as a last resort, if ever.

You could consider something like this:
http://www.pestproducts.com/rat_zapper.htm

You could also consider using those noise-making repellant things that plug in.

It'll probably take a combination of different methods in order to get this problem under control and to keep it that way.

I remember reading something about mixing molasses with oatmeal and borax, but don't recall the specifics. Can't remember if it was for rodents or ants. (gotta love brain fog!)

Will have to look into this one a little further.

--------------------
If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there. - Lewis Carroll

Posts: 356 | From Body-PA, Mind-elsewhere | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
joysie
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Luvs,
1. Contact a cat rescue that re-homes feral ctas. You need several, and most resues will acclimate the cats for you. They come spayed/neutered, w/shots, ready to go. OR
2. Jack Russell terriers.
3. OR crate your cat and set out rat traps.
4. I know people who have had success with commercial rodent management.

Our neighbor's bad horse-keeping resulted in rats on our property last year.We did both #1 and number 3. Have been fine ever since, and our neighbors are still slobs.
Don't let this ruin a good thing for you.

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joysie
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Luvs,
1. Contact a cat rescue that re-homes feral ctas. You need several, and most resues will acclimate the cats for you. They come spayed/neutered, w/shots, ready to go. OR
2. Jack Russell terriers.
3. OR crate your cat and set out rat traps.
4. I know people who have had success with commercial rodent management.

Our neighbor's bad horse-keeping resulted in rats on our property last year.We did both #1 and number 3. Have been fine ever since, and our neighbors are still slobs.
Don't let this ruin a good thing for you.

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joysie
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Whoops-that would be re-homes feral cats, not ctas!
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merrygirl
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Luvs don't panic ok?

I think you have to stay there! I too grew up o a horse farm so I understand the love that you have. You can't let Lyme ruin this!

I would also suggest hiring someone to come out and "get the rats out" for you. There is probably a nest that needs to get taken care of.

Then I would also suggest getting several more cats. Adopting older cats would be a great thing to do as they tend not to get adopted as easy.

I think we had 6 cats and there were no rats. Maybe a few mice but that was it.


I think getting a terrier is a good idea too. Jack russels are good at mousing and are also good "horse dogs"

Keep the feed in a tight container and just do your best to keep the barn clean.

I think your dreams for the farm sound wonderful!
Don't give up ok?
Let us know how it goes!

Melissa

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Michelle M
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Here are some tips from my horse, Al.

Keep a tidy barn. Tight lids on feed.

Have several cats who like to sleep in the hay.

Buy a big box of moth balls. Toss a few in corners, points of entry, etc. Most critters really despise them and won't hang out where they are. (Assuming YOU can take the smell.)

Most animals shelters will send you packing if you tell them you intend that the cat stay outside or worse -- gasp -- in the barn at night. Adopt them as 'house' cats and have them spayed/neutered. If they happen to love hanging out in the barn (they WILL), then so be it.

If the place is VERY rat-infested, I seriously urge you to wear a mask if you try and clean it yourself.

Good luck. You'll really love having your horse at your own place. Don't look at this as a deal-breaker, just a challenge. You can do it!!

Michelle

(and Al)

 -

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luvs2ride
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Thanks guys!

This is just what I needed to hear and what I love about lymenet.

We are going to consult the animal control company I listed above. I also like the cat idea but a little concerned about the terriers as I'm not sure I could keep them on my farm. I am surrounded by horse farms.

In the past, I always kept a very clean barn. I even used to shop vac the walls and rafters to get rid of spiderwebs. Odd as it sounds, I love working around my barn but hate cleaning the house.

You are right, Cavey. Rats are in the cities too and in fact, recently there was an article in the Roanoke paper about rats coming through the sewer lines into the toilet bowls and banging on the toilet lid trying to get out. Yuck!

But I have never seen such a gathering as I witnessed yesterday.

I will wear a very good quality mask when I clean this barn (after rats are gone...well, reduced). Then Shaklee makes a product called Basic G which is their answer to Clorox and in studies, Basic G did a better job killing some bacterias than did Clorox. It is toxic but much less so than Clorox.It is safe to use around animals and is preferred by many vets. I will be spraying it in my barn on a regular basis to try to protect myself from viruses. Also, I think I will have to break down and use DEET during mosquito season.

Cavey, I am on doxy (low dose) as well as ammoxy and biaxin and plaquenil for 5 mths now. So I do go there when I have to. I just prefer not to whenever possible.

I am also drinking fresh veggie juices daily to try to keep my immune system up while the doctor is trying to tone it down with MTX and Enbrel. Hee-Hee! Talk about push me, pull me.

This morning I added 3 bulbs of garlic to my drink and when we got in the car to go to the barn(the barn where my horses are currently) my husband said I was reeking of garlic. He just grinned though as he knows why I am doing it. I hope all insects think I smell just awful.

I will try all of your suggestions.

One more thing I learned on the 'net is to try to attract barn owls by putting a nesting box high in the barnloft. Owls mate year round and when they are feeding their young they can eat up to 30 mice daily.

I really like the idea of owls because I don't have to feed and vet them. [Smile]

Thanks again. I am feeling so much better.

Luvs

--------------------
When the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power, there will be Peace.

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luvs2ride
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PS: Michelle, Al is adorable!!

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When the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power, there will be Peace.

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Monica922
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Very cute horsey [Smile]
I have no idea how I could post a picture of my Moose...120 pound yellow lab. I always worry about him bringing in ticks. He is only allowed on grassy areas and wears Advantage Plus. I have also put herbal stuff around his neck.

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CaliforniaLyme
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I got Lyme in the #1 place in CA for it- and I STILL Live here- and I go hiking all the time- and I have six cats and one goat and expose myself all the time to outdoors here- because THAT IS LIFE WORTH LIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I say, to heck with rats, follow your heart & your horses! & get MORE [email protected]!!

--------------------
There is no wealth but life.
-John Ruskin

All truth goes through 3 stages: first it is ridiculed: then it is violently opposed: finally it is accepted as self evident. - Schopenhauer

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DakotasMom01
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Luvs,
I hear you too well! While the owl idea might be tempting, don't forget you'd have to leave the barn open for them. This could allow other critters in there, Like raccoons, skunks, etc.

If you have many hay bales the owls might not be able to get to the rodents, as they mainly hunt outside in open fields.

If you decide to get chickens in the future, the owls will be a problem. Up here, people say that Guniea Hens {SP?} are great tick zappers, so you might want to look into them.

Perhaps a low temperature change has driven them to seek shelter in doors. In all probablility as long as you have animals, you will have rodents, no matter how clean things are kept. They eat hay and chew through wood, wireing, and plastic. Metal feed containers would be best.

You say the neighbors have animals too, so they will also have them.I have many friendly barn cats, but sometimes they are too lazy to hunt. Only feed them a little, once a day, otherwise some won't hunt at all.

Ferral cats are too unpredictable to have around if you plan on giving lessons and possibly having children around. The people here before me, left abt 50 wild cats behind.One tried to jump in the stroller with my infant dau, cause she smelled like milk, but I wacked it.

They make a mess and are into everything.Esp with bathroom habits. Better to get some tamer cats and handle them to keep them friendly.

I don't have horses, but have beef steers.The masks are a a big help. You might want closed in safety glasses too as the hay can get dusty and there may be mold spores that might get into your eyes.

I stopped the chronic sinus and broncitis infections, I got for years before the Lyme DX. With the help of the masks. Keep in mind the weight of the hay bales with the lifting and lugging. some are over 50 #s. I can't do that any more.

You could always rent out the barn, or get someone to trade off work for thier rent/ board on thier horses, if you find its too much for you.

These are a few more things for you to consider. Go with your heart.I have been here for almost 30 yrs and have no intention of leaving. Good luck with it. Take care.

--------------------
Take Care,
DakotasMom01

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Truthfinder
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Oh, dear, Luvs. What a nasty surprise.

One average cat against a gang of large rats? Hey, I would do just what you cat is doing - nothing. Frankly, I'd be worried about the rats attacking the cat..... they can be pretty ferocious from what I hear.

It's been ages since I had to think about rodent problems, and rats were never in the picture, but.....

One thing I do recall is that it is real important to keep all bushes and tall weeds from growing around the barn. You want a wide area of no-growth or low-growth in that area so that any rodents are exposed and have no cover to sneak into and out of the barn. If you give them cover, they will be drawn to the barn and get in a lot easier.

You may have to live-trap the rats to protect your cat from traps, and then dispose of the rats in some humane way. Cats get caught in live traps all the time, but it won't hurt them. (Although, check out any trap you consider using to make sure the cat's tail won't get caught - traps do differ quite a bit.) Usually, once is all it takes and then a cat will avoid the trap. Try to come up with a bait that won't tempt the cat.

Sorry you have to deal with this, but I guess rodents and bugs are a way of life in the country.

Oh, I would talk to some neighbors about the owl idea. I have it in my mind that most ranchers don't want owls in their barns, but I can't remember why..... it could be that they poop all over everything in the barn, including animal feed. That might not be worth it.

I'm sure you will come up with a good plan, now that the shock has worn off. [Smile]

--------------------
Tracy
.... Prayers for the Lyme Community - every day at 6 p.m. Pacific Time and 9 p.m. Eastern Time � just take a few moments to say a prayer wherever you are�.

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CaliforniaLyme
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This house was rat infested when we bought it-
traps with salami work- kill traps-!!!
We killed 3-6 rats a night for weeks when we first moved in- blech!!! My ex-husband did-
sometimes he would have to whack them with a shovel if the trap didn't kill them first.

I used to have rats and mice as pets and never thought I would be for that but it was INFESTED.

Then with more cats- now the only rats I see are dead ones on the grounds-

Cats work!!!

--------------------
There is no wealth but life.
-John Ruskin

All truth goes through 3 stages: first it is ridiculed: then it is violently opposed: finally it is accepted as self evident. - Schopenhauer

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Geneal
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Wow I am jealous. I live in the Country and would love to have a horse.

We have a multitude of rats/mice and other vermin.

Worse since Katrina. While it concerns me, I am not going to move from here because of them.

In fact, I have 14/15 neighbors with Lyme in less than a quarter of a mile,

And I am not moving away from here.

Our garage had a major rat infestation. Bought poison and bam!

Started finding dead rats all over the yard.

I wear two sets of gloves and place each one in two plastic bags prior to final disposal!

I also have seven dogs who all are excellent ratters.

My Mom lives in the burbs and has rats/mice, possums, etc.

Live your dream. Just be careful. [Smile]

I still hope to own a horse one day.

Hugs,

Geneal

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luvs2ride
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Thanks everyone.

I am much calmer today. Yes I like every method that KILLS the rats. I wouldn't even mind sitting down there with a BB rifle and practicing my shooting skills.

I think what may have caused this sudden increase is us. We were going down each evening and feeding the cat with dry and canned food. Then we would leave.

On the day we saw all the rats, we had fed the cat and were hanging around talking to a guy who is going to do some work on the barn. The cat came out and joined us pretty quick after we fed her. I thought too quick but didn't think more about it.

It was then the rats began to run/hop back and forth across the aisleways and stick their heads out looking at us. They weren't under our feet but I have never ever seen rats so open and up close. I even read they are nocturnal. Ha! Not these guys. So, we think the rats chased the cat away from her food and we have been feeding them, not her.

Last night we brought her into the house to eat and we carried the trash away with us. She took awhile to eat and was very hungry.

We are having a company meet with us to discuss our options. These guys are wildlife specialists so not only will they help us eliminate and keep rats down, but they can also advise whether or not to attract a barn owl. We had a hawk on our other farm and we loved it. He was a great mouser.

I love the idea of the guinea hens but my farm friends have lost so many chickens to the coyotes that live here. I don't want to feed the coyotes.

I like the Jack Russell/Rat Terrier idea. I love any idea that kills these gross fellas. I will talk to local breeders to see if anyone will lease them. I really don't want to own terriers. We like Weimaraners and they are good hunters too.

Once I calmed down, I remembered rats are common in the city too. So, the risk of infection by insect carrier is just a real there as here.

In fact, in my current home, we have had mice invasion twice but have nipped it in the bud each time. We have lots of wild rabbits in our yard.

It is truly hard to get away from mother nature.

I hope that one year from now I will be able to post pics of our happy life on the farm and my continued well-being.

Thanks again for everyone's support. It is so good to read.

Luvs

--------------------
When the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power, there will be Peace.

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oxygenbabe
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It sounds like the rats came for the food. I wouldn't worry about the rats--are you afraid they're going to attack and bite you? I agree, get more cats. But any animal can carry disease.

I'm much more concerned about WHY, YOU, who took homeopathy and are health oriented are on enbrel and methotrexate. I think your LLMD should be fired and you find one who yes will put you on abx if you want but also do holistic treatments. You are going to kill your immune system imo sorry to be so harsh with those immunosuppressants. THAT'S the worry not rats in the barn. WHY have you given up your power your knowledge your intuition in order to let a doctor ply you with immunosuppressant drugs along with abx long term. This imo is not good for you. Please rethink it. You keep saying, I know I know but you are bargaining with the devil and you have at your fingertips really good practitioners...

Wishing you the best. I hope you post pics of your new farm.

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merrygirl
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I hope you do post pics of your farm!!!

Also remember birds have there own set of nasty germs and critters too....

If I had to pick I will take the birds critters over any Rat critters..

Melissa

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Jellybelly
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Hi, I live in San Deigo Co. and owned a townhome that was infested with rats, big time. They were not inside of our unit but they were in the walls and had eaten a hole in the wall to totally clean out a 25lb. bag of dog food before we realized it.

I am a total animal person, and could not bring myself to kill these little guys, which were actually very large. I had rats as a kid and so did my kids. We actually had a rat that looked like a big gray sewer rat named Petri. He was as cute as a button, played just like a kitten, wrestling with your hand, rolling on his back and kicking with his little back fit when you tickled him, so cute.

Anyway, back to my infestation. What I did was purchase on line a LIVE animal trap. It worked Great!! We caught somewhere between 15 and 20. They were actually very cute and each had a very different face and personality........some looked so scared in the trap. We drove them to an open field and just let them go, one at a time, every day.

Your dream shouldn't have to end, but, traps are nasty and posion is just downright dangerous and such an awful way to kill something. It brings on a slow and painful death. Just relocate them, you'll all be happy.

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aiden424
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We had a rat and mouse problem at our barn that I board at. They used used rat and mouse killer. Now we have cats that do a good job. We don't have rats any more, but once in a while I do see a mouse. I have a Jack Russell who is also a good hunter.

Hope it works out for you.

--------------------
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

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hardynaka
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Luvs, I just found a mouse and will test peppermint (I don't have spearmint).

I'm not sure it'll work, but I found this website:

http://www.dreamingearth.com/mouse-away.html

Selma

Posts: 1086 | From Switzerland | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
luvs2ride
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We crated the cat yesterday and are letting him stay in the house while crated because it is very cold here now.

We set 14 rat traps and caught 2 before we could even finish setting out all the traps.

The war is on!

Luvs

--------------------
When the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power, there will be Peace.

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bejoy
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You go luvs!

We had a rat in the shed from overfeeding our chickens, and feeding them too late in the evening.

Also they came into town because of the drought around here.

We were afraid of traps and poison because we didn't want to hurt the domestic creatures.

In the end, we settled on target practice, and the BB gun won. We discovered that our rat had a very specific schedule and territory.

We also read that if you fix rat traps about six inches up on a wall, and stick the bait on with peanut butter, the mice can't reach it and won't spring the traps.

How many have you gotten now!

Good for you for living your life!

--------------------
bejoy!

"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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LymeLaura
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We also bought a horse farm just 2 years ago. We all have lyme (under control, thank god). We had a mouse and rat problem. We picked up a feral cat from the humane society. Now all I see is mouse parts (and no rats).

We also made sure we cut down all the old vegetable garden and secure all garbage. All feed is locked in feed room in rodent proof containers.

Haven't seen a tick since we first moved in and cut down all the brush. We also sprayed permethrin around the areas where we cut the brush.

Try to keep manure spread or removed from property. Don't keep large manure piles. If you compost, (we do) make sure you keep it turned to keep the heat up, otherwise it can be an attraction for rodents.


Also, check this website. We thought about using this system when we were still in Maryland. We had lots more ticks in Maryland and a huge mouse and chipmunk population.

MaxForce

This system is supposed to really work. There is also something similar for deer. It works with a corn feeder and brushes the pesticide along the sides of their head.

Good luck!

Laura

[ 09. January 2008, 12:17 PM: Message edited by: LymeLaura ]

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listenswithcare
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I bet you could find a local neighbor with a .22 rifle that would be happy to come in and do a little "target" practice at your barn. Not sure the BB gun would do it unless you hit them in the head!

Otherwise, I think people have made alot of great suggestions here. I am not aware of what kind of "treatment" is required after rats have been around. It doesn't sound like they have been there long, though?

You go, girl. Don't give this up! It is what makes life worth living!

Robin

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luvs2ride
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Nine so far.

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When the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power, there will be Peace.

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