Mice in the hay? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 19 Old 05-02-2013, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Mice in the hay?

Hi guys, I was wondering what you do when(if) you find mice in your hay. My dad set up a few traps(but didn't catch any before my sister got rid of them) and he talks a lot about how dangerous the dust with mouse pee/poop in it is for the horses.
It started off with one or two mice that I would see maybe once a week... Now it's five or six and I just found a nest with 7+ babies. The babies are adorable and we've had pet mice before, but now I'm getting worried about all of those diseased mice living and running around in my horse's feed.
So what should I do? Are they really that dangerous? I live out in California so everything is very dry, including the hay.
Thanks in advance for your answers!

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post #2 of 19 Old 05-02-2013, 10:42 AM
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Get some barn cats.
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post #3 of 19 Old 05-02-2013, 11:27 AM
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Unless you have dead mice decomposing in your hay, you shouldn't need to worry.
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post #4 of 19 Old 05-02-2013, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
Get some barn cats.
Our dogs are very prey driven and I would hate it if we got a barn cat who accidentally walked into the dogs' section of the yard... It just wouldn't be right to endanger a cat like that. And we have coyotes and random dogs running into our backyard all the time, I wouldn't like leaving it out there to die.




PHM- So as long as there aren't dead ones, we're good? If that's true that's great! I really don't want to harm any of the mice, so as long as my horses are safe with them around, they can stay!

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post #5 of 19 Old 05-02-2013, 06:45 PM
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I would get a barn cat.

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post #6 of 19 Old 05-02-2013, 06:56 PM
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We have 'feral cats' runnin around our yard- our dogs would try to eat them 'sept theyre ninja ferel kitties!! Lol. ..seriously-- theres even a few black ones now.. I think they belong to our neighbors? Lol.

*back on track*


I always see rats nests theyve made in our hay bails-- we do have field mice everywhere in the country- so theyre going to get into the hay no matter how many traps are out.. a cat works better than the traps though- they dispose of the carcass-- no bad smelling dead rodents.

I noticed the ninja kitties always hang out by our barn and the field mouse population has gone down-- havent seen one yet this year.. they do their jobs well-- best part? We don't feed em, lol.


Almost forgot---- no the mouse droppings/urine havent affected our horses in anyway.. the smell of it in the barn is the dangerous part? The heat will make it 10xs worse too.. that's even bad for humans to ingest.. I do know that.

Last edited by toto; 05-02-2013 at 06:59 PM.
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post #7 of 19 Old 05-02-2013, 08:45 PM
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Yup, cats. Don't get tame house cats. Find a farm nearby and ask them if they have any spare cats. You'll probably get a big smile and "YES MA'AM! Come right this way!" The cats will figure out the dogs in a hurry. For the most part, they can take care of themselves. Just don't get kittens - get a couple of full grown mommas. Stand guard for the first 30 minutes or until it takes for the dogs to see them and give the cats a head start. They'll stay clear of the dogs from there on in.
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post #8 of 19 Old 05-03-2013, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Icrazyaboutu View Post
PHM- So as long as there aren't dead ones, we're good? If that's true that's great! I really don't want to harm any of the mice, so as long as my horses are safe with them around, they can stay!
Live ones are not a problem, but any dead animal that's been baled up can produce botulism. It's not common, but if you're really concerned about it, you can vaccinate against it. Suggest you talk to your vet about the risk.
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post #9 of 19 Old 05-04-2013, 03:30 PM
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Live ones are a problem to people, they are the primary carriers of the Hantavirus.

Hantavirus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seriously; Google, Feral Cat rescues in your area. They take feral cats from urban areas or nucences areas, spay or nueter them and then release them on your property. The cats can and will fend for themselves vs dogs, coyotes and nature in general.

I got mine a couple years back, and I rarely seen them but I do occasionally find a wayward, present.

Also if you don't bring in cats to naturally control the problem, other natural predators will find the abundent food supply you're housing and usually that means, ESPECIALLY in California, snakes. And if you think finding mice nests, bodies or droppings are bad .... That's NOTHING compared to the sheer horror of pulling down a bale and finding a snake with a mouse shaped lump.

Last edited by BigGirlsRideWarmbloods; 05-04-2013 at 03:38 PM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 05-04-2013, 03:44 PM
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For the TL;DR crowd Hanta is very real and very common.

Hantavirus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Humans may be infected with hantaviruses through urine, saliva or contact with rodent waste products.

Some hantaviruses cause potentially fatal diseases in humans, such as hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), but others have not been associated with known human disease.

Human infections of hantaviruses have almost entirely been linked to human contact with rodent excrement, but recent human-to-human transmission has been reported with the Andes virus in South America.
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