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Ferrets as mouse deterrents?

This is a discussion on Ferrets as mouse deterrents? within the Barn Maintenance forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category
  • TAME FERRET LOST GONE WILD IN A BARN WHAT CAN HE EAT
  • Ferrets as rat control barn

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    10-13-2013, 04:22 PM
  #11
Yearling
Wow, people talking about ferrets on a horse forum .

I use to have ferrets a LONG time ago and yes, we had them to take care of rodents in the barn, chicken coop, hay shed, etc......

If you are thinking of getting any there are a few things you should know.
The domestic ferret is not going to become feral. They'll die if left in the woods on their own.
If you have a non spayed female you must breed her when she comes into heat. She might survive the first heat without breeding but the odds of her surviving any after that are not good. So if you're not planning on breeding then you'll need to spay in order for her to survive.
Ferrets are born predators. The domestic cat (feral or otherwise) can compete with the ferret for lethal determination.
They must have a meat diet. If we weren't hunting them we use to feed them strips of pork liver, but any good meat protein can do the job.
If you're hunting them (e.g. Cleaning the rats out of the hay, etc...) don't let them have a dead rat until they've finished clearing them out. They'll stop to eat and not hunt. If you're knocking the rats in the head as they race out (and they'll "break a leg" to get away form the ferrets) make sure you're hitting a rat (don't smack the first head that shows itself...it could be a ferret).
If we let them play around in the chicken coop (with the chickens out) and in the barn, hay, etc.... it did cut down on the pests coming back so their scent apparently did keep the undesirables from returning.
After we killed our last cat (it had taken eating my grandmother bantams which was a death sentence ) we never got another one. They never did the job as well as the ferrets. But then how is a cat going to compete with a predator that can go anyplace the rat can go. There's no place for them to escape from a ferret.
I could go to a neighbors and turn a pair loose in the corn crib. In a minute or two there would be rodents coming out from everywhere . Some folks were amazed at the number of rodents they had. They thought their cats were taking care of it, because they weren't seeing many, but cats can't visit the pest where they live. They can't work their way into the small little space between the bales or through the corn like ferret can.
The females tend to make the best hunters. Plus they're smaller so they can get into tighter places.

Have no idea about using just the scent. We had the real thing and I can attest to how well they worked.
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    10-13-2013, 04:24 PM
  #12
Yearling
Sorry...typo.
....cat cannot compete......
     
    10-13-2013, 06:16 PM
  #13
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Evil    
I know, I'm not sure about the "created with love" part either, that's why I was thinking of an actual ferret. The ones that are sold as pets are de-scented, so I am not sure if they would work. They would probably have to live in a day cage in the barn, a night cage in the house and come out on leashes, but the lingering smell is supposed to work.

Cats...

I love love love cats, but if they are free range/outdoor cats, they get hit by cars and kill all the birds. At the barn where Djinn lived for a couple of years, we had a feral cat whom we loved, tamed, and called Hobbs; he got hit (sob!!!) and then another really feral cat moved in, black with stunningly lovely eyes.

We were in the process of trying to tame that cat; leaving top quality kibble and extra tidbits of fish and chicken out. After a bit we stopped seeing the cat, but the food kept disappearing. Finally the woman who leased us the barn clued us in; the cat was long gone, but we had some mighty fine rats running around. We went down at night with a flashlight, and they were the size of opossums!

Also, and I really hate to be this honest, I kind of like mice, and hate to see their tiny mangled bodies around. I would rather they would just go away... Hmmm, maybe I should delete that last sentence; makes me sound a little soft in the head...
Descenting a ferret does nothing to alter the odor that they naturally produce. Removing their scent glands only makes it so that they cannot produce the strong poof of odor that they will do when upset or frightened. If you went your whole life without upsetting the ferret then you wouldn't have to worry about that aspect of their scent anyway.

It's not a method of rodent control that I would personally use. Ferrets are little mischevious little creatures that can get into lots of trouble. Having one free roaming in a barn could be damaging to the ferret, and not worth the trouble. I love my two ferrets to death, but no way would I let them loose at the barn!!
     
    10-13-2013, 06:37 PM
  #14
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee    
I have heard it said that mice and rats rarely live in the same space but

Rats will eat mice.
     
    10-13-2013, 08:08 PM
  #15
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckDodgers    

It's not a method of rodent control that I would personally use. Ferrets are little mischevious little creatures that can get into lots of trouble. Having one free roaming in a barn could be damaging to the ferret, and not worth the trouble. I love my two ferrets to death, but no way would I let them loose at the barn!!
Yeah, they are so freakin cute! I wasn't thinking of letting them loose; 'cause they would probably get lost and killed in the woods. I had a sort of ferret Habitrail in mind, with two major "homes", one in the tack room and one in the feed room, with a series of wire overhead tunnels connecting the two, so they could kind of race around overhead. I was thinking two ferrets so they would have company. We would probably bring them in the house at night for warmth and safety: God knows we have plenty of mice there too.
     
    10-13-2013, 10:37 PM
  #16
Weanling
I'm afraid to ask but what does this mean?
Quote:
After we killed our last cat (it had taken eating my grandmother bantams which was a death sentence
I used to have ferrets and they were adorable and so playful. I can't imagine them being in a barn either. I'm sure wild ferrets could kill mice but their playful nature may make them more like raccoon in the barn. I know mine loved to get into everything!

At my current barn they got their cats from a rescue. The barn owner just contacted a rescue and said to let her know if they had some barn cats that needed a home. The rescue said they keep a list on hand when they are contacted by people looking to rehome barn cats. A couple of weeks later someone who was moving and selling their farm needed to find a home for the cats. They were brought to this barn. At first they were a little scared not knowing what happened to their previous home but they got the hang of it quick! I'd definitely opt for using a barn cat over a ferret.

And I agree about mice being cute. I know they are naughty in a barn but I'd feel bad killing them. However letting nature take its course is a different story.

Having a barn owl is really the best though! They are so amazing and do such a good job keeping a barn mouse free.
     
    10-14-2013, 12:49 AM
  #17
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heelsdown    
I'm afraid to ask but what does this mean?

But you did ask.
It means what is says. The last cat we had got caught killing chickens. So it was a short trail and the sentence was death. That sort of thing isn't tolerated on a working farm and it could have gotten worse if the cat started visiting the neighbors and killing their chickens which we would have had to pay for.
No different than if we'd caught a fox of coyote taking chicken (or a calf in the case of the coyote). We'd have killed it. Of course the wild animal is doing what it does to survive. The cat was well fed so it had no need to kill the chickens.
My grandmother had suspected the cat was responsible for some chickens missing until she caught him in the act. To top it off she caught him killing her favorite bantam hen and he did it in front of the kitchen window while she was there in the middle of the day. That cat definitely needed to be out of the gene pool.
     
    10-14-2013, 10:12 AM
  #18
Weanling
I understand about killing an animal that is eating your chickens.. I have hens and have to keep a trap set most nights.. I have caught, possums, skunks, squirrels, and a cat or two.. they all met the bad end of a 22 bullet. I know there are lots of squeamish folks out there.. but those hens feed me and my family, I am not going to tolerate my hens getting killed.

Rhonda
     
    11-25-2013, 04:57 PM
  #19
Weanling
So, I went and bought a whole pile of Mouse-B-Gone. It came in 12 little spice jars with mesh lids, and a plastic flip up lid on top of that. It looks like earth and cat litter mixed together. You add a little water to the jar and then set it in the path the mice take to get into your house.

Since my house is now gone, I gave some to my Mom as a tester, since she has an old farmhouse and the mice there really party hard. She set out her little jars, and Voila! No sign of any mice!
     
    11-25-2013, 05:43 PM
  #20
Started
My ferrets live in my (heated) tack room, in cages but loose in the tack room when I'm in the barn. They do stink. I love them and don't mind, but that's why they're in the barn not the house :P
As for mouse deterrents - not at all! I have caught mice eating the food my ferrets have spilled right outside their cages!! I've seen mice scurry across my floor while my ferrets are playing - they do not chase them. Maybe mine are too domestic, but the mice don't mind them one bit!!


The best thing I've done to keep mice out of my feed is making a big wooden feed bin and maintaining the edges.
     

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