One of the joys of nature is the pleasure that comes from watching birds and admiring their beautiful coloration and patterns while listening to their lovely songs. Having a bird feeder brings them right up close for easy viewing. It also brings messes that attract rodents to your door if you’re not diligent about sanitation.
If you’ve ever seen a bird eat, the word “dainty” does not come to mind. The seed flies everywhere, and in no time the floor beneath the feeder ends up looking as though you spread the seed out there intentionally. It’s as if the birds are trying to share their food with all the ground critters in the vicinity.
And mice will certainly accept the invitation to dine with them! So if you don’t want the additional guests to arrive, you should take steps to ensure that your generous act toward one species doesn’t lead to a potential problem with another.
How to Keep Mice Away from Feeders
The last thing you want is for your attempt at appreciating nature to become an attraction for rodents that could harm your home. Mice aren’t just minor nuisances that steal your food and bite through wiring and woodwork; they also have the potential to make you sick. Deer mice, in particular, have been known to spread Lyme disease and carry the deadly hantavirus. With a few simple steps, you should be able to prevent them from showing up in the first place.
Location – Whereas you may wish to position your feeder right outside your window, it would be wiser to distance it from your house so mice are not encouraged to find a way in and look for more food. If your property is small and you do not have this option, make sure there are no entry points a rodent can take advantage of, and plug up any you find.
Deterrents – Do not place the feeder where it could easily be accessed from the ground. Hanging from a branch that is not near tall hedges, a garage roof or another tree branch is ideal, as is using metal poles that do not allow a mouse to gain purchase with its claws. As an added measure – or if metal poles are not desired – attach baffles to prevent mice from climbing all the way to the feeding station. You could even sprinkle cayenne pepper into the mix to make it undesirable to many rodents – without affecting the birds’ enjoyment.
Limit spills – Some feeders come with a tray that will catch the seeds and provide a landing platform for birds. Additionally, no-waste blends are available that will help by eliminating the filler seeds and hulls that birds unceremoniously discard.
Tidy around the feeder – Sweep up fallen seeds and keep the area free of clutter. Mice like to have shelter to sneak around in, so remove piles or trash receptacles if placed over solid ground. If over grass, keep the lawn trim so mice cannot hide among the blades.
Storage should be inaccessible – Make sure that you store your feed in a canister that seals and cannot be chewed into by a mouse’s sharp teeth. Use containers made of metal or glass, or keep it inside, away from the outdoor critters.
If Repelling Doesn’t Work
If you’ve taken these precautions and still find that mice are coming around in the hopes of catching a dropped morsel, try a proactive approach and rid your yard of them with outdoor traps. Whether you prefer traps that kill or live traps that allow you to relocate your captives, Victor® offers a wide variety of products to suit any need. Subscribe to our eNewsletter to receive more great information and advice, as well as exclusive updates on our rodent control products!