Dealing with rodents on my homestead wasn’t easy and, honestly, it got a little out of hand. It forced me to make some really hard decisions and start looking at ways to repel rodents on my homestead. Here are a few “farm hacks” to avoid inviting rodents to your home and farm.
How to repel rodents on the farm to prevent an infestation.
Grass attracts rodents on the farm, not repel them
Keep your grass cut! I know, it is such a bother. I used to think to cut the grass, to some extent, was pretty much useless. When it comes to repelling rodents on your farm, it’s actually a crucial part of the puzzle. “Field mice” sort of explains it all.
You might be thinking “How do you expect me to keep my grass cut on X amount of acres?”. That’s a good question, and I’m not saying to cut every single spot of grass you have. The best places to cut are around your house and any other structures where rodents might find cover. This discourages them to sneak into your henhouse, hutch, or the house you live in!
Compost can attract farm rodents
Cover your compost pile, especially if you’re not hot composting. Hot composting will usually deter rodents in itself because your pile should be too hot for them. If you’re not hot composting or your pile is currently in limbo *raises my hand*, cover it with a tarp.
Whenever you add food scraps add a generous layer of grass scraps, leaves, straw, etc. This helps to “mute” that stinky decomposing food smell and repel those farm rodents.
Also, such a controversial subject this is, but don’t put meat, oils, and dairy products in your compost pile. OR if you decide to do so, cover them extra. Those animal products/byproducts and oils are almost always a sure way to attract rodents to your homestead, not repel them.
Stacks of stuff are perfect animal shelters
Don’t stack stuff on your farm if you can help it. Heaps of piles of wood are perfect breeding grounds for rodents and the worst to repel them. Try leaning boards up against a wall in a way you can check them occasionally for nests.
If you decide to stack wood, be sure to do so far enough away from your home and shelters and be sure to raise it off the ground. Decrease the number of spaces that rodents can create a home, which is pretty difficult because they’re great at adapting.
Put up any animal feed
Try your best to not to leave food out. This was one of the most frustrating things I could ever read when I first starting to farm. You know those articles that say “Completely get rid of rodents on your farm with this ONE TRICK!”. Yeah, I find them to be completely misleading and a little silly. The truth about food on a farm is that it’s ALWAYS there. Whether it’s the pellets from the feed you give your livestock or your garden, it’s food.
Here’s how I know. When I was trying to get rid of the rodents on my homestead, I became obsessed with picking up the feed trays. I’d also cover and/or shovel up any food pellets that had fallen. I kept reading that this was the only way to repel rodents on the farm.
Well, guess what happened? They started to eat my cucumbers! So completely picking up food and water sources at the end of every evening is almost impossible. I know that. The idea is to pick up the bulk of it every night so you don’t encourage larger numbers of rodents. Always store your food in air-tight containers like this or this so rodents can’t get into your feed bags. I use them both on my farm!
Don’t stack branches
If you read my article about how I got rid of rodents, you’ll know that they were interfering with my rabbitry. Well, one night I went outside to check on all the animals before bed and noticed this branch leaning over onto the roof of the rabbit hutch. After noticing the branch, I noticed a healthy rat use it as a bridge to and from the hutch. I cut that branch down the next day along with any other easy access entries.
Believe it or not, this decreased rodent activity in that area of my farm tremendously. Cutting down low hanging branches is especially important to do over your home so that rodents find a nesting place in your roof. It’s been a huge key to reducing and repelling rodent activity on the farm here.
Be aware of your neighbors’ habits
Last, and this one might be weird for some of us, but talk to your neighbors. At the time of my almost infestation of rodents on the farm, the rodents that were invading my rabbit hutch were living in the yard next to me.
At the time it was a vacant house so I couldn’t tell anyone about it. My neighbors on the other side actually told me they had a terrible rodent problem and use poison to control it (they had a larger issue than I did). If you feel comfortable enough with your neighbors to prompt a discussion, I’d say do it.
Wrapping up how to repel rodents on the farm
If everyone takes steps to decrease and repel rodent activity in the area, there will be fewer rodents. I’ve always loved this article so I’m going to share it again for the folks who need a little more than just controlling the rodents (will the farmer with the infestation please stand up…). Learn to know what the signs are of rodent activity so you can get ahead of it early.
But remember one thing, you’ll never get rid of them and that’s okay. There are ways to control the population and co-exist and that’s what I’ve achieved on my farm. Repel, co-exist, repeat. What do you do to repel rodents are your farm?