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The joys of the countryside - mus musculus!


First a warning! for those of you who don’t like mice, perhaps you should stop here.
Living in the wilds of the countryside you get used to the wildlife, not just the joys of the songbirds, pheasants and owls, but the other less welcome visitors. With chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, peacocks and zebra finches, all who scatter food about, you will get rats and mice. The rats usually disappear onto the adjoining fields for the summer while there is plenty of natural (and the Farmers) food available. As soon as the fields are cleared they gravitate to the nearest food source.
We were all brought up on Beatrix Potter’s adorable depictions of mice, but the reality is far from mice in pretty bonnets and aprons!
Having spent well over £100 on rat poison, traps and mouse traps over the past month it really was unwelcome to hear the patter of tiny feet over our heads while lying in bed!
How does a mouse know that by climbing a wall, at the top will be a cosy well lagged attic space to live in? What are they eating while they are there? They can’t possibly exist on the nice new foam pipe lagging recently installed and already with lots of chew lumps out of it. Do they commute nightly for food? If a mouse lives the average of 2-3 years, do they tell the other mice that there is a home up there?
We don’t live in a hovel, it’s a 1960’s bungalow, but not mouse-proof obviously. I am not sure you could ever keep mice out when they can get through a hole the size of your fingernail!
Anyway, OH leapt into action one evening “There’s a ****** mouse in here” Moving the furniture we found a pile of eaten seed under the bookcase (not moved much as it weighs a ton) and a miniscule hole against the edge of the carpet coming through the wooden floor! Barney our ring-neck parrakeet is not the tidiest of birds (or I’m not the best house-keeper) and the mouse found his scattered seed. (Is this something I should admit on here?). Now…how did the mouse
1. Get under the floor? Airbricks?
2. Know that there was food above it to gnaw a hole through?
3. Where did it go?
Our new extension which you would think was mouse-proof harboured two mice (that I have caught that is) living happily in the boiler! The pipework comes down the wall, boxed in, and into the side of the boiler, so they must have travelled down from the attic space.
What a nightmare, every tiny rustle from carrier bags settling, ticks and pings from a lampshade warming up or just the house settling in for the night, creates a flurry of activity from us inhabitants.
On the bright side the new mouse traps work a treat, on the down side we have caught eight mice from the attic space – so how many are there?
Outside, near the back door I have caught three mice lurking under the water-butt and amongst the garden plants and I just daren’t get onto the area away from the house and what runs there at night!
Everyone’s suggestion is get a cat, but you can’t put a cat up amongst all that ghastly fluffy stuff in the attic and the peacocks hate cats!
I will stop here and not traumatise anyone who has staggered this far, by adding photo’s of my ‘catch’ so far.

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Isn't a peacock big enough to stand up to a cat? never had a peacock, just wondering! We lived in a house where people on each side kept seed eating pets and both ended up bringing in the council to deal with the mice. On one side they caught 35 in the house. Our house in the middle had none at all - what we had was little slender Norton who could obviously mouse for England!

If a cat's oput of the question bringing in the professionals might be a solution for you, even if its only temporary.

19 Nov, 2014


Thanks for your comment Steragram. It's not the peacocks are afraid of cats, they just hate them and honk loudly if one is in the garden. If you don't go out and chase it away, they will - all the way down the road or across the fields. This means they are either way across a field or wandering about on the road! As for the professionals, all they do is put some bait stations down and go away and probably charge you a fortune for it too. Been there, done that, have a lovely selection of bait stations, live traps, dead traps and everything else. We will get on top of them, just annoying at the moment.

19 Nov, 2014


We also live near fields and have mice regularly in our garden and sheds.They have, in the past , got into the house as well.Being a dormer converted bungalow, it has lots of little gaps where the dormer walls meet the original roof tiles so, not long after we moved here in 2003 , I filled the gaps up as best I could with thick(small gauge) wire mesh and it worked mostly.We did have the odd occasion when a peice of the wire fell out and mice got in but very few times.
Rats, however ,are a real problem and one of the worst things, in my opinion, is decking.My neighbour has some, right up against my fence, and the rats find it a great place to live and in the spring they breed and then get under the fence into my garden. I know many people who have had Rats under their decking, hence, I hate the stuff!!!

20 Nov, 2014


I'm sorry you're plagued with mice. They do seem to be able to get anywhere.
I live next to fields and mice get into the garden and shed, but I've never seen one in the house (except the ones the cats have brought in)
I think if the mice can smell a cat in the house, they keep away.

20 Nov, 2014


Honeysuckle, thanks for the chuckle - I can see why you want to avoid unnecessary honking, they do make a piercing noise don't they?

20 Nov, 2014


Thanks to you all for your comments. It's great to know that other people understand the problem. Paulspatch - I agree with you about decking, not only do I think it's a fad (sorry to all who have it and no doubt in some places it works a treat) but why make a home for all sorts of unwelcome visitors! Might try the wire bit if I can fix it without it looking like Alcatraz, which also goes for my neighbours suggestion about putting up an angled metal all the way round the bungalow - definitely Alcatraz that one.
Snoopdog - I am so impressed that you did the recording, as I'm sure your exterminator was too, but it must have been a bit of a horror movie to watch them feeding knowing they were above your head!
Hywel - I know a cat seems the obvious answer but perhaps someone could invent/produce 'Essence of cat' spray?
And Steragram - you have obviously heard them! Great when you have one on the barn roof, one on the bungalow roof and the other two somewhere else all honking away - which they do when they don't like something - such as: tractors, low-flying planes, motorbikes, cats, dogs, fox! The last sets off the guinea-fowl as well, but the stupid chickens just stand and look.

20 Nov, 2014


Forgot to mention that I caught the one in the house that came up through the floor, it was in the computer room - lots of lovely papers in there!
And I got another one outside!

20 Nov, 2014


Essence of cat lol that sounds a good idea :D

20 Nov, 2014


LoL...was reading your response to Hywel's essence of cat!.... they do produce essence of cat...just get a tom and don't have him fixed. BUT... that could play havoc with your plants and shrubs...they spray and it's smelly. Ohhh.... can I empathize with this? Last winter I was sitting at my desk when Rufus came whizzing by on the tail of a mouse! the mouse disappeared behind my desk and before I knew it there was a rustling and squeeking in the top drawer!... To my horror I found that mother mouse had shredded some of my precious old family photographs and had made a very snug nest for her six progeny! I took the babies and put them in the shed while we tried to catch mama... but she disappeared so completely we never were sure if she reunited with her family or just started a new nest. At that point I was too sentimental to kill them and viewed them as "poor things"...but they were making a mess in my kitchen and it became a health issue. Long story short I used a poisoned bait...worried about Rufus for months, but it finally got rid of the mice... however!, like you I heard rustlings in the ceiling ... oh no, not again! Living in the country ... :-(

24 Nov, 2014


Hi Lori, I really enjoyed your story, but was sorry about the photo's. They always seem to pick things that not necessarily have a lot of monetary value, but loads of sentimental value, the tops of a couple of books in the bookcase, my Son's early school drawings in the shed and my late Father's newspaper clippings about the Far East Prisoner's of War spring to mind.
You are never absolutely sure that the little monsters have left or you have caught them. My Son had one in the mobile home he lives in and got his other half to shut him in the bedroom until he caught it. When they moved everything they found a nest of young just like you! She was horrified, the thought of mice a nightmare! I tell her that I saw a rat running about near the mobile home yesterday?

27 Nov, 2014


Perhaps that might be best left for her to discover!? Especially since it was only "near"....not "in". What have you decided?

27 Nov, 2014


Honeysuckle - heard peacocks? Yes. There was one belonging to the farm next door to the school where I worked in the library and it used to escape and run past the windows meowing very loudly. The naughty boys used to imitate it - nightmare!

27 Nov, 2014


Lori - I have decided that it's best not to tell her, otherwise she might be camping in my bedroom!
Steragram - They are delightful birds, very tame, not enough to touch, but will feed from your hand. Every night before dark they queue up for pieces of cake, which I bake for them! OH was spending a fortune on Madeira cake from Morrisons, it was a £1 a slab, but I think because he bought so much in our local shop they decided there was a high demand for it and put the price up. Now I bake about six at a time and put them in the freezer, usually light fruit cake, but have been known to add any ingredients that are in the cupboard and are out of date - old dates, nuts, tinned fruit, powdered milk, cereals and anything else. Luckily OH doesn't eat cake so there is not a problem with him taking one out of the freezer to eat! Our peacocks are all boys and all make a heck of a racket when disturbed, so good burglar alarms, but it does mean you are dashing out to see what is going on when a plane goes over (we are near a military station), big tractor goes past (we're in the middle of farmland), noisy motorbikes (not too many of those), stray cat, fox or, joy of joys, bird scarer on the fields (they have just put one out).

28 Nov, 2014


All boys? Do they fight with no ladies around to pacify them? What with the military planes, the birdscarer and the peacocks who said the countryside was a peaceful quiet place...

28 Nov, 2014


LOL... quiet is a relative term, I think. Thanks for the smile, Honeysucklegold. I saw a pair of earrings at the local market made from pea-hen feathers...lovely dark dotty things and very quiet.

30 Nov, 2014


Steragram - The boys are all peaceful, apart from the odd skirmish over the doling out of cake! In the Spring (seems a long way off) when they start displaying they all seem to have their own space to do it in. One of the boys who was brought up by one of the hens, tends to stay on the field and display to the chickens - not that they are impressed! Evenings in the countryside are quiet apart from the odd drone from a distant car, hooting of owls and the far-distant (we hope) calling of the foxes - no fast-food outlets, night-clubs or pubs to encourage bad behaviour!
Lori - Glad I at least provided some entertainment! I have seen the earrings and even had some in the past, with beads added to the feather edgings - too much work for too little return you would think!

2 Dec, 2014


My heart goes out to the poor peacock displaying to the chickens. Poor old chap, hope springs eternal!

2 Dec, 2014


Our daughter has 'something ' in her loft they haven't found out what it is yet despite setting numerous traps , we had rats when we had a couple of free ranging chickens they use to come from the ditch to steal the chicks food we haven't had the rats since they went to their home in the sky at least its not so obvious .. the mice use chew into sacks of sunflower seed in the garage we keep it in a huge plastic container these days even then you can see where they've tried to break in ...

6 May, 2015


I do feel for your daughter Amy, it's the not being sure what it is that's so appalling! We lived in a house in Cornwall at one time and used to hear 'something' in the loft, but never discovered what that was either. Rats and mice leave 'droppings' wherever they go, so close inspection should reveal those. The other alternative is to put a board/cardboard down with a dusting of flour and see if there are any footprints. The other rodent which might be there would be a squirrel and of course all rodents tend to chew things like electric cables, they love the expanded foam lagging round pipes and anything you store up there, ours ate the pine cone Christmas decs! If you have livestock, you will get rats and mice sadly - but not wanted in the house, you can at least ignore them outside!

7 May, 2015

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