If you own some chickens then you are going to want to know what they will attempt to and what they can safely eat. What about mice? Will chickens try to consume a mouse if it lands in its path? Is it safe and okay for them to do so?
So, do chickens eat mice? Most chickens will eat mice if given the chance. However, mice can carry infectious diseases that can be transmitted to your flock. It is therefore important to keep mice away from chickens where possible and do all you can to not attract them through food, or allow them easy access to the coop.
And it is not just through being eaten that they pose a risk.
Mice can transmit diseases through their urine and feces; both of which they are likely to do inside of the coop.
And as you can imagine, mice can squeeze through the tiniest of holes – so you need to be extra careful and vigilant!
And then there is roaming.
As you let your chickens roam, the chances of mice and other small animals coming into contact naturally increases.
As a keeper, there is only so much you can do and some contact is inevitable.
However, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers, risks, and associations, along with some appropriate courses of action that you can take.
Let us now explore the topic further to give you the information that you need.
Can Chickens Eat Mice?
Chickens can chase down and eat mice rather successfully. While not every bird will hunt mice (as not all hens like to eat rodents), it does seem to be common among these birds
If you have a voracious hunter or two among your flock, they will do very well to scare away any mice on your property, and they enjoy the chase.
Some will even attempt to consume mice when caught due to their relatively small size. Mice are naturally fast, and not as easy to catch as one might initially think.
If you have ever wondered why mice would even attempt to enter a coop, this is due to periods of inactivity by your hens offering an opportunity.
Many hens will sleep through a mice infestation, so they are not the best deterrent once they are sleeping. Its important to note that it is during this time when mice can really torment your hens, pulling out their feathers and even chewing on their feet.
While this may sound alarming, chickens are very resilient and strong pets. They’ll soon awake eat or scare off any such attempt.
Chickens can withstand the harshest winters, and you can feed them on a modest budget. They will eat just about anything if you let them.
However, they do need protein in their diet and lots of it, especially since they are so active.
Hens that are allowed to free-range will forage through lush grass looking for juicy worms and bugs to eat. This is ultimately why the majority of chickens will actually attempt to eat a mouse if confronted with the opportunity.
Is It Bad For Chickens to Eat Mice?
A mouse free from disease and parasites should not be bad for a chicken. But the chances of this are slim, at best.
Chickens have incredible survival skills, and we could certainly learn a lot from them.
However, It still isn’t ideal for chickens to eat mice, as they can easily transmit infectious diseases to your flock through their urine and feces. Aside from that, they carry ticks, fleas, and mites.
If your chickens like to eat mice, there’s not much you can do to stop them outside of taking some proactive measures we outline shortly below.
But, to be on the safe side, consider worming your chickens every autumn. Mice, like other rodents, are common carriers of disease-causing organisms, including various types of bacteria, viruses, protozoa and worms.
Mice can easily introduce worms to your flock which can be further transmitted through your chickens feces and eggs deposited on the ground will re-infect your birds.
By worming your birds frequently, you can minimize the build up of worms in their digestive systems which can lead to adverse health problems if left unchecked.
While some chickens are skillful at chasing mice away, many others are not.
Either way, any sign of their presence must be dealt with immediately. Your chicken coop and run must be rodent-proof. This is essential for the health of your hens.
Clear up any junk that’s near or in the coop and run, as waste makes an ideal hiding space for mice.
Are Mice Dangerous To Chickens?
In the winter, mice are looking for somewhere warm and comfortable with easy access to food and water. Your chicken coop, with its soft bedding, makes ideal living conditions for mice.
While some hens will kill mice, others will not have any interest in doing so.
Once chickens are asleep (and they like to sleep a lot), mice are free to wreak as much havoc as they want.
The mice will brazenly chew on the poor chicken’s feathers (even pulling them out for nesting material), and they will chew on their feet, all while your birds’ slumber.
Mice carry all kinds of diseases, so you do not want them in your chicken coop and anywhere near your chickens.
If your hens come into contact with mouse urine (which would be on their straw, water, or feed), they will very likely contract a bacterial infection known as Leptospirosis.
Another disease, known as Salmonellosis, can be transferred to your hens by the urine and feces of mice.
Both bacterial infections can do severe harm to your flock. It can make them very ill or even kill them.
Mice, as small as they are very dangerous to have around your chickens, they are incontinent, and they defecate everywhere. They also chew very frequently, and their saliva also carries harmful bacteria.
How Do You Keep Mice Away From Chickens?
Chickens that are natural hunters of mice will do very well to keep them away instinctively.
However, you must do all you can to protect them from a mice infestation.
The first thing you must do is to clean the coop. You must do this frequently and ensure that there is nothing that could attract mice to begin with.
Put your chickens somewhere safe in a separate area before you begin cleaning.
You must take some precautions for your own sake, wear a mask so that you don’t inhale any dust, wear glasses and wear gloves to avoid contact with urine and feces.
You’ll also want to thoroughly disinfect the area with a safe product.
Let’s look at the correct way to clean out your coop:
Use A Strong and Safe Disinfectant On Mice Feces
Allow the disinfectant to settle on the feces for five minutes before clearing it all away.
Remove The Straw With A Shovel
Feel free to burn the soiled straw if that’s possible. Begin disinfecting the coop, bearing in mind that there will likely be urine around the coop.
Rinse The Coop Thoroughly With Plain Water
You must do this after disinfecting the coop, as any residual cleaner can potentially harm your birds. Bleach can even burn your chickens’ feet, which is something to avoid at all costs.
Dispose of Contaminated Feed
Feces can infect feed, so place all feed into two plastic bags, making sure it’s well sealed. Only then can you dispose of it.
You must thoroughly clean your feeder, before replenishing it with feed. Consider purchasing rodent-proof containers and always store feed properly in heavy, impenetrable drums.
Make sure that your chicken coop is cleaned regularly; this will help to deter mice from making themselves at home there.
Ideal preventative measures must include the following:
Restrict Access To The Chicken Coop
Mice can squeeze through very narrow openings, so you must build a barrier to keep those pesky mice at bay.
You can do this by lining sheet metal or hardware cloth along the corners of chicken tractors and elevated coops, in particular, where the floors and walls meet. It is best to do this outside to prevent entry point through the timber.
Set Mouse Traps
If you are dealing with severe mice infestation, they must be physically removed. Run-of-the-mill snap traps are highly effective for mice, but you must keep them away from your hens.
Poison containment boxes are ideal as they can be placed along walls, anywhere in their natural travel line.
Colony traps can hold more than one mouse at a time; most mice are not wise to these traps and will very willingly enter them.
You do need to be careful when using traps and poison. Ensure that they are set up far away from your chickens and any other pets that you may own.
Call In The Professionals
If the infestation is more than you can deal with, or you can’t bring yourself to deal with them, it’s a good idea to contact your local pest exterminators.
They will be more than happy to tackle your mouse problem, leaving you peace of mind knowing that your chickens are safe and the problem is removed.
Chickens love to graze and eat a wide variety of foods. They love to eat insects, bugs, worms and other critters. When it comes to mice, we know that they can, they are omnivores after all.
However, just because they can doesn’t mean they should.
In fact, it can be outright problematic and dangerous considering mice and other rodents typically are the carriers of disease, bacteria, parasites and worms.
As such, you must take every precaution to keep mice away from your precious hens.
You want to keep your hens healthy, happy, and alive for as long as possible, and one such way is by keeping their environment clean, safe, and away from any dangerous intruders.
Wondering what else your chickens may or may not try to eat? Check out my guide below:
- Do Chickens Eat Rats? [& Other Considerations For Your Flock]
- Do Chickens Eat Slugs? [Will They And Is It Okay To Do So?]
- Do Chickens Eat Ants? [Are These Bugs Safe For Chickens?]
- Do Chickens Eat Cockroaches? [And Attract Them To The Coop?]
- Do Chickens Eat Ticks? [How To Protect Your Flock & Family]
- Do Chickens Eat Worms? [Earthworms vs Mealworms]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.