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Rodents and wires

 
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In the course of an email conversation, some neat ideas came out, worth posting.

It started with:
Ever since the car companies tried to go "green" by using soya-based insulation on electrical wires in cars, there's been an increase in rat-chewed electrical faults - duh! Unfortunately, when I was researching it, the successful solutions were few and far between.

Then someone's husband added this idea:
https://www.collegehillshonda.com/product/4019-2317.html  
Rodent tape is a deterrent for critters that like to chew vehicle wiring. Wrap any trouble spots to prevent any future wire harness issues. The tape is treated with capsaicin (active component in chili peppers). Approximately 65 feet of tape.  $45.90

Which is AWESOME but WAY expensive.

An engineer said:
Seems like it would be extra green just to add the capsaicin concentrate into the electrical insulation polymer. Guess they just look at it as not their problem?

Hmm...maybe use a solvent that dissolves the capsaicin and swells the insulation, then dries off and leaves the capsaicin inside the insulation....might need a touch of something that acts as a softener for the polymer too to keep it from splitting. Should be very easy to do

Then me, being the low tech cheap bitch frugal type I am said:
See, I look at the world weird, I'm thinking wrap the wire normal, then wrap it with a run of tape sticky side out, and shake cayenne pepper on the sticky part. Wouldn't be easy to do every wire in a new car, but easy enough to do every wire in an old tractor.

Or mix cayenne with paint, and paint the wires!!!



So now I throw it out for the Permies community to brainstorm! There has to be a good way to keep wires from being eaten.
 
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An effin' mouse cost us $650, last fall because of exactly this!!!
 
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Cute, but not when they do this and not so cute when it costs $650 Carla, so sorry  :(
 
Carla Burke
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Greg Martin wrote:
Cute, but not when they do this and not so cute when it costs $650 Carla, so sorry  :(



Thanks, Greg. The problem we're facing is that now there's another one. So far, it hasn't gotten back to the wiring harness, and we have rodent repellent packs scattered in the car, including under the hood. Unfortunately, it's only been partly successful, at repelling them, because there's still a bunch of flooding flying out of the vents, every time we start the car. Grrrrr...
 
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An interesting historical example of mousey love for electrical insulation is the experience of the 22nd Panzer Division in World War II. From the wikipedia entry:

Together with the 1st Romanian Armoured Division ... the 22nd Panzer Division comprised the 48th Panzer Corps and was tasked with defending the northern flank of the ill-fated German 6th Army at Stalingrad.
...
On November 19, 1942, Operation Uranus began. The great Soviet counter-offensive encircled the German 6th Army and much of the 4th Panzer Army and smashed the 48th Panzer Corps, including the 22nd Panzer Division. Many of the division's tanks had been parked in dugouts for an extended period of time and protected from the frost by straw. When the tanks were called on to respond to the Soviet offensive, many could not be started because mice had sought refuge in the straw and then in the tanks where they chewed up the insulation of electric system wires.

 
Carla Burke
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The enemy of my enemy (in this case, the mice) is my friend!
 
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Seems like you can eliminate all rodent problems if you just get rid of the rodents.

Chickens are little raptors aka dinosaurs. Once they recognize rodents as a food source, they will fight each other to eat them.

I train all my chickens to eat mice and rats. Once they are out of the brooder and gaining some size. Chop up some mice into pieces and feed the pieces to the chickens. Then start giving them mice and rats cut in half, then go to whole and alive. You can live trap the rodents if you already them or buy them from a pet store. But once your chickens get a taste of rodent, good luck finding any in any place the chickens are free to roam.

Granted it’s not a solution for everyone, but it is very effective. Even chickens that haven’t been trained to woof down rodents might occasionally kill and eat one but they often just peck and inspect and the rodents get away... But when they are in a flock aka mob, and they all know and like rodent meat, then they are motivated to compete with each other for food and will aggressively clean your property of any and all rodents.

If you want to treat the wires with capsaicin, you could just go with double sided tape and sprinkle with cayenne or ghost peppers or something. I like my chickens eating all the mice though, it’s free high protein chicken feed with a crunchy calcium center... LOL!!!


Good Luck!






 
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We suffered from mouse and rat damage to our cars for several years before stumbling on a solution that has been 100% successful for us -- leaving our car hoods open whenever we park. It works like a charm as it deprives them of shelter and leaves them feeling exposed. Only issue is people coming to our house for the first time assume our cars are suffering from some form of breakdown, an impression possibly encouraged by their advanced age. (They are starting to look like antiques even to us.)
 
Carla Burke
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Ashley Harvie wrote:We suffered from mouse and rat damage to our cars for several years before stumbling on a solution that has been 100% successful for us -- leaving our car hoods open whenever we park. It works like a charm as it deprives them of shelter and leaves them feeling exposed. Only issue is people coming to our house for the first time assume our cars are suffering from some form of breakdown, an impression possibly encouraged by their advanced age. (They are starting to look like antiques even to us.)


This actually WORKS??? I'm telling my husband, first thing in the morning!!
 
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I'm curious about your training. Our chickens all naturally eat mice. Just like me and Bacon, no training needed. Our flock loves to play mouse football. Toss in a mouse or two, one grabs the prey and runs around as the others chase and try to take it away. We use live mouse traps in the Sheep feed room. I collect the mice, drop them in a bucket of water, They get tired out so they run a bit slower for the chickens.
 
Paul Eusey
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David Beachler wrote:I'm curious about your training. Our chickens all naturally eat mice. Just like me and Bacon, no training needed. Our flock loves to play mouse football. Toss in a mouse or two, one grabs the prey and runs around as the others chase and try to take it away. We use live mouse traps in the Sheep feed room. I collect the mice, drop them in a bucket of water, They get tired out so they run a bit slower for the chickens.



Hi David,

It not real training (but it’s easier to call it that), it’s more of an exposure/conditioning to let them learn. I start out feeding them small rodent pieces and gradually work them up to killing and eating large rats.

Untrained chickens have instincts that are not reinforced and leads to chickens being far more curious and inclined to playing with rodents more than they eat them (they still eat some, but they also let many get away and tend to shy away from large rats). I see this when I don’t train a flock to eat rodents. When you teach them that rodents are a delicious food source you remove any hesitation/curiosity, then they just focus on killing and eating them as fast as they can (before any other birds steals their food).

Large rodents still have to be torn into pieces small enough to swallow, but I have seen a few try to swallow large rats whole (it was like watching Hei Hei from Moana try to swallow a rock, eventually they figure it out).

Hens can become fierce hunters if you help them learn and young roosters appreciate any excuse to get their spurs wet. The instinct to hunt and kill is in there, but so is the confusion and hesitation, rodent training after the brooder really turns those instincts on and removes hesitation. And then you just let the chickens be chickens and roam around eating free food. (I’ll take them over a barn cat any day).

Good Luck!
 
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I no nothing about car engines, so please consider that when listening to my suggestion. The first thing that came to mind was something Dr Redhawk ( my apologies if the spelling is wrong). Posted. Wish I could remember what one. Anyway he said most critters hate ammonia. I was having trouble with mice and rats in my chicken coop at night. I asked if it would keep them away, and he said it would. You could circle your vehicle with ammonia.  I know they are wires, so common sense says don't get them wet, but it seems since the engine isn't water tight it could handle a little dampness.  Could you put alcohol and cyan pepper in a spray bottle, shake well and spray?  Before thinking about this suggestions talk to someone who knows about this kind of stuff. I wouldn't want the car to blow up, or reck things worse, it's just a thought.
We have been lucky, and only had this problem in a couple of cars that didn't run and sat for a while. Had possums living in an old station wagon engine years ago. They would hiss at us when we went near. Such a bummer, hope you find a solution.
I don't mean to change the direction of this post, but I have to ask. When feeding rodents to your chickens do you worry about rabies, or other disease?  I'm behind on vacation for my dog, and he is an amazing rat killer, but I always worry about that.
 
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I see lots of newer RVs parked in the desert with the hood up. I asked and was informed it was to deter rodents from lurking in the engine area and chewing. I often find a pile of poop on the engine of my vehicles but , knock wood, so far no noticeable chewing (my vehicles are 25-30 years old so perhaps not soya wiring?) . Oh, if a vehicle has been sitting always looking for rodent nests in the air cleaner before attempting to start the vehicle. I’ve cleaned many nests from air cleaners.
 
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I've found those sticky boards to be highly effective for trapping mice. put a dab of peanut butter in the middle and they are drawn to it rather than other stuff to go after
 
Carla Burke
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bruce Fine wrote:I've found those sticky boards to be highly effective for trapping mice. put a dab of peanut butter in the middle and they are drawn to it rather than other stuff to go after



Thank you for the suggestion. These do work well, but we've found several major drawbacks to them (for those wanting to try it):
1 - the poor mouse (who is not an evil critter, it's just a mouse), it's not quickly killed, but it's left there, until it dies of dehydration, or exposure - so unless you find it right away, it's suffering.
2 - you,  personally, have to kill them, to prevent #1
3 - the sticky stuff catches loads of dust (here, anyway) and debris, rendering them no longer sticky
4 - if other animals (including our chickens & ducks) can access them, trying to get the sticky goo off a terrified critter is no easy task
5 - if the mouse is still alive, and a chicken finds it, well...
6 - they're difficult to anchor, on or near any of the surfaces where we'd need them
7 - unanchored, they blow around, and stick to themselves, your car, your house, your livestock, you...

If you don't have any of these issues, or can find a way to overcome them, they're very effective. But, we found them to be very frustrating, for our situation.
 
Carla Burke
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John found this, and while pricey, it eliminates the long-suffering of the rodent, the possibility of another critter(like my not-always-bright chickens) falling in or drinking from it, no poisons, less water needed, and because we've accidentally done something similar with buckets before, we know it works. https://violentbaits.com/products/-buy-2-free-shipping-flip-n-slide-bucket-lid-mouse-trap?fbclid=IwAR0xXIOufSwj8LkFnfNgHOfkb-vqVChljodKc4d0fG5NBI-3d_yHDUreG4I

Since John is uncomfortable leaving the hood of the car up, this is likely the next thing we will try.
 
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After having the chewed up wiring and then the rubber fuel line, I take a piece of women's hosiery and throw in a couple moth balls.  Tie them up under the hood near the back.  Mice do not get under there anymore.
 
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True story...
One of my employers early contracts was to install WiFi in VA hospitals. One building at one of my sites was old, but still in use. We installed 5 or six Access Points, made sure they were online and moved on.
About a week later we get a nasty email from the client. He wonders if all the AP's are going to go offline after a week and other nonsense. He really blasted us in three paragraphs. Apparently, every AP in the building was offline.
When we were doing our troubleshooting we discovered a family of squirrels had started munching on the wiring and actually had cut them in half.
That next email from him would have melted in your mouth he was soooooo nice and apologetic. He wanted to know if we'd give him some cable so HIS folks could run the new cable. His highest priority was to exterminate those squirrels... SMH
 
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Chickens cannot be relied upon to kill mice mine used to sit on their perch and watch the mice eat their food.. sigh. I would say that training is a must.
 
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Hi Carla,

While I hate sticky boards, when the mouse problem gets bad, I do use them.  I make a point of checking the sticky boards a minimum of 4x a day.  This has been an especially bad winter for mice on my property.  I have 3 cats that have been Largely indoors for the winter.  All 3 are mousers.  The problem is they will not get on counter tops and shelves ....their rules, not mine.  Of course, this provides a significant cat free zone.
 
Carla Burke
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John F Dean wrote:Hi Carla,

While I hate sticky boards, when the mouse problem gets bad, I do use them.  I make a point of checking the sticky boards a minimum of 4x a day.  This has been an especially bad winter for mice on my property.  I have 3 cats that have been Largely indoors for the winter.  All 3 are mousers.  The problem is they will not get on counter tops and shelves ....their rules, not mine.  Of course, this provides a significant cat free zone.



Desperate times call for desperate measures! Most of that is simply logistics issues we haven't been able to resolve, yet. But, John having to put them out of their misery was pretty much the last straw, for us. He's a hunter, so it's not about 'the kill', so much as their crying and fear - he ends up feeling guilty for the time they're suffering, especially for the ones he finds in the morning, because he pictures them crying and terrified all night. I get it.
 
Paul Eusey
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John F Dean wrote:Hi Carla,

While I hate sticky boards, when the mouse problem gets bad, I do use them.  I make a point of checking the sticky boards a minimum of 4x a day.  This has been an especially bad winter for mice on my property.  I have 3 cats that have been Largely indoors for the winter.  All 3 are mousers.  The problem is they will not get on counter tops and shelves ....their rules, not mine.  Of course, this provides a significant cat free zone.



Dogs and snakes John… Dogs are way better at catching rodents and it’s fairly easy to train them to do it. A toy mouse and a bag of treats tends to do it. I never understood dachshunds until I saw them take out ground squirrels in a friend’s almond and walnut orchards. They were also bred to hunt and take out badgers… They are impressive little hunters and one of the top breeds for killing rodents. Granted, Rat Terriers would be better at jumping up on the counters to catch rodents (and catching rodents is how they got the name).

https://doggysaurus.com/best-dog-breeds-to-kill-rats/

How do you feel about snakes John? I’m a big fan of king snakes (and garter snakes, but they are for slug problems). King snakes are not venomous but they eat other venomous snakes (including rattle snakes), and they eat rodents too. They are fairly pricey if you get them through a pet store, but they live just about everywhere. You might be able to offer to buy them from local kids, or you can dig a couple heated burrows for the winter to attract any and all snakes in your area, and if you have local king snakes, they might show up. Predators like that will match your local rodent population within a few years and eliminate them.

The dogs are a sure bet and way better than cats. The snakes can follow the rodents into places where the dogs, cats, and chickens can’t go.
 
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