As a student of Permaculture, I detest the primary and ever present role harmful chemicals play in our modern lives. Monocultured lawns are sprayed with this one. Sidewalk cracks are sprayed with that one. The veggies on your family’s plates have been drenched multiple times in another. The porous shells of the industrial eggs you buy at the grocery are irradiated and sprayed with something else.
We try to live as free from as many toxins as possible and always seek more natural and healthy solutions. However, sometimes convenience and marketing wins the day and even us at the ol’ Gentleman Homestead give in.
Our first winter here, when we heard some scratching in the walls and caught a couple mice inside our kitchen sink’s cabinet… I declared war and implemented lots of improvements to mouse-proof the house, including building my (awesomely effective) Five Gallon Bucket Redneck Mouse Trap. That stuff helped… and even though our problem was far from an all-out infestation, and every neighbor chuckled while advising us to “Get used to it”… we still weren’t happy.
So, it’s confession time.
We hired an exterminator service and paid a hefty upfront cost plus about $30 per month (!!!) for them to stop by every quarter and refill doggie-proof bait houses with anticoagulant poison.
That was last year. Now that we’ve added a few more animals, all of whom would not think twice about feasting on a poisoned mouse that happened to keel over near their coop, and our Toddler is much more mobile and ornery than he used to be (hard to believe), I stopped filling those bait houses in early spring, boxed them all up, and am going to try a different, more natural route. Besides, I always felt dirty walking past those mouse hotels since they go against the Permaculture ethics by which I strive to live.
I fired our local A Abel Exterminator service. I adopted Gray and Abel as exterminators. (But I’m still calling them by their original names Gracie and Oliver while we all get acclimated.)
“Just cuz you bring me tuna doesn’t mean I trust you yet.”
We’re very happy to have Gray and Abel with us and are slowly but surely getting used to each other. I hope they’ll live long and happy lives out in my workshop… regularly patrolling the house perimeter… and hating mice as much as we do.
I performed a lot of research into the proper way to adopt, acclimate, and care for indoor/outdoor “working” cats. I have an upcoming post on that process. Thankfully, my research led me to Royal Rescue, a local organization that specializes in socializing and finding homes for stray or feral cats. Many Humane Societies have a similar program for felines who are unlikely to be adopted as indoor lap kitties for various reasons. Unfortunately, I learned some “unadoptable” cats in those types of programs are either released to a life on the street, or destroyed. I’m very happy to give our two loveable furballs a new home and a second chance at life.
Will this be an effective solution to all the mice living in our fields and woods who get too close to the house? Time will tell. For now we’re still working on accepting treats and petting without darting for cover.
Will this be a cost effective solution compared to a $30/month exterminator service? Probably not. But that’s not my main motivation. I take very good care of the animals I’m entrusted with, including these cute little guys who will be “barn cats” and have a job to do. Gray and Abel will always have shelter, food, clean water, monthly flea/tick medication, vaccines, and a (free!) scratch behind the ear multiple times a day.
So let’s take a look at our Big Board of Animals, shall we? This brings our count up to:
And hopefully a dwindling number of mice.
Question of the Day: Have you swapped out a toxin for a more natural solution? Let’s hear about it.