University of Vermont

Healthy Farms - Healthy Agriculture

Rodents sheep photo by Krista Cheney, link to home page

Wildlife Biosecurity—

Rodents, like birds, are found on most farms. Rats and mice live in farm buildings, feed storage areas, and woodpiles. They eat grain intended for the herd and potentially spread bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli by contaminating feed with their droppings. They may also chew the insulation off of wires, causing a fire hazard.

To control these risks to the herd's health, identify and routinely bait places where rodents could den in storage areas or barns.

mouse photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServicePhoto: Mike Belasco, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • Inspect buildings and feed storage areas for evidence of rodents, such as droppings and nests.
  • Identify their source of food and prevent access to it.
  • Destroy their denning places and block off any small holes to prevent reentry.
  • Eliminate hiding areas around barns and storage facilities. Consider paving right up to buildings and removing all vegetation close to building entrances. Rodents do not like crossing wide open areas.
  • Use traps or bait to catch rodents. Place 10 to 20 feet apart.
  • Use tamper-resistant bait stations to protect farm pets, especially dogs, from rodent poison.
  • Search for dead rodents and dispose of them appropriately. Do not touch them with bare hands.
  • Prevent more rodents from coming on the farm by maintaining a clean and regularly inspected facility.

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Last modified October 06 2010 09:19 PM

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