In order to get to your house, most pest animals first need to go through the front and/or back garden or yard. This means that you can use those spaces as barriers for mice to work through, because the more obstacles you give them, the higher the chances of them getting bored trying to get to what they want and then move along.

Your garden or yard is probably what lured the rodents in, in the first place. Have they rummaged through your garbage bags? That’s your problem. What about chicken feed? Is it going down quicker than it usually would? Rodents might be the culprit behind that, too. Is your land a bit of a mess, with lots of trash and debris all around the place and low-lying vegetation and overgrowth? Ta-dah! There’s your problem.

It’s time to pay some serious attention to the garden or land surrounding your home, because that’s what rodents will need to work their way through first.

Tip #1: Take away the bird feeder.

You can put it back once you’re sure that all rodents have been eliminated, but for now you’re going to want to take away ALL food sources.

Tip #2: Make sure all chicken feed is safely stored away.

At the same time, don’t leave feed all over the floor once your chickens are done with it. All feed, whether it is chicken feed or other animal feed, should be stored in metal containers, with lids that can be secured. Any other material, including plastic, can be chewed through by a rat or mouse.

Tip #3: Don’t leave pet food on the porch or decking.

If you normally feed your pets outside, treat them to dinner inside for a change. The pet food outside could be what has lured those rodents in, and they’ll devour any food that is left over. (If there is any.) Cats seem to be worse than dogs for leaving food in the bowl, but both food types should be taken inside until you can be sure the rodents are gone.

Tip #4: Don’t leave garbage around.

Garbage bags are leftover or bad food to you. They’re a five-star buffet to a passing scavenger, such as mice and rats. Plastic garbage shoes are easily chewed through. We recommend moving your garbage to metal containers, with lids that can be securely fastened. You can even chain the lid to the main container of the garbage can if you have raccoons or other, bigger pests in the area.

If you already have plastic garbage containers with lids, raise the entire thing away from the floor. You only need to go as high as five or six inches or so, but this makes it harder for passing rodents to get into them.

Tip #5: Don’t leave fruit on trees or plants.

If you have a vegetable patch, sort the vegetables out as soon as possible. You can even protect the patch itself with a framework made from mesh wiring, but this doesn’t always protect against smaller pests, such as mice and rats. Fruits that have fallen from trees are a prime hotspot for passing rodents and pest animals, so remove these as soon as you see them.

Tip #6: Tidy up the garden.

The more you have on the ground in the garden, the more places these rodents and other scavengers have to hide. No wild animal likes wide, open spaces, because it makes them vulnerable. This is more so the case when you’re a mouse, because there are predators in the air, such as owls and eagles, that have the upper hand. Low-lying vegetation and debris across the ground helps to make the route safe for a small, furry rodent, and keeps it out of the eye-line of something that might want to eat it.