Spring sprang and the chicken house was a nice, warm, toasty place. Time for some spring cleaning!
What I found and had been observing over the winter: mice escaping the zero degree winter had made hobbit homes in the bedding. You ask: why don’t your chickens dispatch them? Answer: the mice are dormant during the chicken woke hours and become active when the hens are asleep on their perches at night. So getting the chickens to do their duty to eradicate the mice was going to be nigh impossible. Frankly, the mice were having babies exponentially, and they should have been easy prey from the giant velociraptor-like chickens, but the chickens just did not know. They were ignorant and happily naïve, as they were asleep during the major activity and had plenty of fun stuff to eat outdoors thanks to the homesteaders who kept bringing them provisions.
Enter: the Exterminator. Along with faithful dog Lily, I cleaned out the chicken house. Lily detained any stray mice, chomping them into inertness. Many escaped into the shrubbery nevertheless. The leftover bedding was added to the compost pile.
Then, I cleaned up and protected the house with several barriers of deterrent. First, I sprayed the interior with a mixture of orange oil and 30% vinegar with equal amounts of water. (Pro tip: use a respirator to do this.)
Leaving this to dry for several hours, I then made a slurry of diatomaceous earth (1 C) and water (2 C) plus peppermint oil (1T). Mice despise peppermint scent. I painted the entrances of the hen house with this slurry. I also painted/poured some of this into known mouse holes. Afterwards, I spread some cedar shavings in the house and nest boxes. To cap it all off, I sprinkled 2 T of diatomaceous earth in each nest box to help the hens with parasites.
Result? No mice. Happy hens. Happy me.
So, in truth, I titled this Chicken Woke/Mouse Broke. Frankly, the chickens were clueless. So I guess you could say I just did this for clicks . . . or chicks.