A major challenge that homesteaders and farmers face is the invasion of mice. Mice can steal foods meant for your animals and can even contaminate the place. While there are several ways to control mice, many homesteaders are using birds such as ducks.
Can ducks eat mice? Ducks can eat mice and some duck breeds even hunt for little animals such as mice. It is very safe for ducks to eat mice because mice are part of the diet of many duck and geese species.
When in free-range, ducks eat all kinds of little animals, and mice are included. The question, however, should be whether mice are safe for ducks or not.
Is Eating Mice Safe for Ducks?
Mice and rats have the reputation of spreading diseases because of the dirt and bacteria they carry.
This is true for city rats because they move from one waste bin or dumpsite to the next. For mice around farms and barns, although they can still transmit diseases to farm animals, it is not as prevalent as those in the city.
Considering the concern of diseases transmitted by mice, can ducks get a disease from mice? If your ducks eat mice and rats that are hosts to pathogens that can make ducks sick, your ducks will get the disease. It is important to note that ducks eat little mice and very young rats such as those still under parental care.
If your barn is close to the city or a place where mice can easily contract pathogens, it will be wise to get rid of the mice through other ways to prevent your ducks from getting sick. If, however, you feel that it is safe for your ducks, you can allow them.
Local Regulations Regarding Ducks and Mice
One great way to decide whether to allow ducks to eat mice or not is to research the regulations in your area.
You can also contact the local vet and other homesteaders around. Do they permit ducks to eat mice? Does the vet think that it is safe? When you consider these points, it will help you make the best decision.
Are Ducks Sufficient to Scare Mice Away from Your Barn?
Ducks do not search for mice as if mice are all they eat. When in free-range, ducks will eat mice as well as other edibles that they can find.
This means that raising ducks may not be sufficient to get rid of all the mice in or around your barn because ducks will not continually hunt mice.
You will need to control your mice population or get rid of them totally using other ways.
What are Other Ways to Get Rid of Mice?
Here are great ways to get rid of mice from the barn:
1. Get a Cat
Farm cats are great for getting rid of mice and rats. Farm cats have a great way of searching for and killing mice. You should also provide extra feed to the cats and do not let them go hungry.
2. Use Traps
Rat and mouse traps can reduce the mouse and rat population in your barn to a minimum in less than a week or two.
Make sure that the trap is humane. Great mouse trap examples are:
3. Lock Food Items Securely
Mice and rats visit your barn and live there because of the availability of food and shelter. A great way to drive them out of your barn is by securing the feed and other foodstuff meant for the barn animals.
If mice do not have access to animal feed, they will leave the barn.
4. Do Not Store a Pile of Items for Long
Remember that mice go to barns and other places because of food and shelter. They love living in a pile of dirt, paper, bedding, etc. Even if having a pile of materials such as bedding is inevitable in barns, you should move these piles or always check them.
Doing so will prevent mice from living in the piles for long.
5. Block Holes
Mice pass through cracks and holes to get into the barn. If the barn is not closed up securely, mice can enter at night.
You should identify potential passages to mice and block them so that mice cannot enter your barn.
What Else Do Ducks Eat?
Note that even though ducks can eat mice, mice are not the only food that ducks eat. Here are examples of feed for ducks:
1. Processed Feed
Ducks need duck crumbles and other processed feed. Duck feed has sufficient protein and other nutrients for ducks to grow quickly and in good health.
Note that duck feed is manufactured according to the age of your duck, so you should feed your duck with feed made for their age.
2. Insect Larvae
Insect larvae and protein-rich treats for ducks and other birds. Examples of insect larvae are:
- Beetle larvae (grub worms)
- Black soldier fly larvae
Since insect larvae are not so easy to culture in large quantities and they are quite expensive, you should use insect larvae as treats to reward your ducks during training.
3. Little Vertebrates and Invertebrates
When ducks are on free range, they eat a wide range of animals. These animals include vertebrates and invertebrates. Examples of vertebrates that ducks can eat are:
- Little mammals
- Toads and frogs
Examples of invertebrates that ducks can eat are:
- Ticks, mice, lice, etc.
Ducks love grains. Grains can be used as treats to reward ducks during training. Grains are also an important part of the duck diet, especially during the winter. Feeding ducks with grains is an effective way to keep ducks warm at night.
Examples of grains you can feed your ducks are:
If you want to use grains as treats, do not feed your ducks with too many grains so that they do not lose their excitement.
5. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are great for ducks. Fruits can give your ducks the energy and minerals that they need. Vegetables can also keep your ducks busy especially when they are cold.
You can give your ducks a green piñata which is just vegetables hung on the roof of their coop. Ducks will peck on the green piñata when bored and keep themselves busy.
Do not give too many fruits and vegetables to ducks because even though they can give your ducks energy, too much of them can cause them to gain too much weight and they do not have sufficient proteins.
Related Questions and Answers
1. What is the Best Breed of Ducks to Hunt Mice?
A great duck breed that is effective in hunting and killing mice is the Muscovy duck breed.
This breed catches and kills more mice than other breeds. It is also a cool breed to raise for meat and eggs.
2. What Other Birds Eat Mice?
Other birds that can eat mice are:
- Guinea fowl
Birds that are relatively larger than mice and kill and eat mice.
3. Can Mice and Rats Kill Ducks?
Aside from the fact the mice and rats can carry diseases that can harm or kill your ducks, mice, and rats can only kill ducklings (baby ducks). If you are brooding baby ducks, make sure that mice and rats cannot enter the brooder box.
Ducks love killing and eating mice.
You should make sure that it is safe for your ducks to eat mice by asking the local vet and other homesteaders around. You can also check local regulations.
Remember to feed your ducks with healthy foods.