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Echelon

mice eating seedlings

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Complete disaster, every seedling I am currently growing has been chewed and eaten by mice last night. Not one remains. 58 rare chilli species, 24 Acacia Acuminata & 24 Acacia Obstusifolia (Acacia's were 6 months old and were going well) gone in one foul swoop. :ana:

They had been growing on shelves in a shed beside a sunny window for the last couple of months and were going really well. Mice didn't go near them for months and then in one night wiped out all of them. Not just lopped the top off but pulled everything out including the roots. I know it's mice because there is hair and droppings in the seed punnets.

The mice have chewed my wheatgrass before but never touched my chilli seedlings in other years until last night.

I'm going to have to start from scratch again and I don't want to use rat poison as I have a dog who catches the mice in his mouth. I've used a gizmo called a rat zapper that electrocutes them in the past however it can only catch one at a time and they will still be able to get my seedlings.

Apart from a rodent proof greenhouse, does anyone have any advice for protecting seedlings from mice? Should I invest in propagator covers for all my seed trays and wrap an elastic band around them so the rodent's can't get to the goodies inside?

Thanks in advance.

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Hey mate, we had some mild success with my girls uni room mouse proofing with essential oils. They hate lavender/citrus/peppermint, the stronger the better, but 20% lavender oil extract seemed to do the trick. Don't dilute just squirt it around cracks and what u want protected. D00d

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Thats a shame to hear - we get mice around this time of year and during winter, but they dont seem to go for my plants (I dont think). I like the previous suggestion with the essential oils as a start, and maybe put mouse traps around (up high so the dog doesnt get a nasty shock) - the traps usually work for us and quickly get rid of them (and the 'upmarket' mousetraps are often designed to instantly kill the mouse or to trap it without killing or hurting it if your worried about cruelty or whatever)

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Oils huh... what a great idea! Yeah the physical barrier will work aswell ie. Prpagator lid. Pretty hard to mouse proof a shed as the bastards can squeeze through a couple mm gap. The only other thing would be to ensure there is nothing in your yard to attract them like bird seed. Do you live near bush or your neighbours have birds?.... or your dog leave remnants of food around?

Shame about the plants though......always more seed to be had but when you bring the babies up it can be quite sad!

Best of luck mate.....Bong

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I've been known to put seedling trays in old bird cages to keep the blighters at bay. doesn't look very attractive but it works

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my latest mice damage, some seedlings have been pulled out and shredded, one big seedlings tray with a few hundred cacti seed totaly destroyed (mouse slipped thru a tiny gap) and other seedling trays which had been only "mice proofed" poorly.

killing them with traps is hard work and doesn't seem to make a difference, so since they destroyed my cacti seedling, i have layed out bait.

using a cage is a very good idea, same goes for the lavender oil, anyway, i use large sheets of glass to seal the cacti seedlings trays, and softdrink bottles (top cut off, and replaced, and lots of small holes drilled) for the small seedlings punnets).

cacti seedlings don't mind beeing sealed into, a 100% humidety enviroment (which aswell protects your seedlings), but many plants hate to grow up (they grow leggy and soft tissued) under the same circumstances.

regardless of how we mice proof our plants, one has to realy do a good job, in doing so, because those creatures are smart and if given halve a chance of digging up the potting mix, they will do so.

i get a little bit of cat damage aswell, btw, the bastards kick pots of shelves and tumble over cuttings if not protected.

and than the cane toads which rest in flower pots sometimes and squash all the seedlings.

but you know what? we, the operators cause a bit of damage aswell, at least i do, it's best not to get too upset about it. that's the beauty of plants, you can always try with them again! :)

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Bait can be dodgy around animals like dogs and cats. if you have a tray of rolled oats, sugar and plaster of paris at a rate of about 2:1:1. Leave it in a mousy kinda spot with a cover over it, with rodent size entry holes, so dogs and stuff cant get directly at it. It will control mice and to an extent rats..

The good thing is you dont have to worry so much about your dogs and cats eating dead or dying mice

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I have birds and i can say they always get into the cage and eat the food. Even in my finches cages, which are the smallest possible gauge wiring I could find... what sort of cages were you guys using? keen to know for seedling and bird use :-)

the best thing I can think of (pending knowledge of lavender essential oil fumes damaging seed germinating/propagation) is to get a humidity crib and a bread cooling tray thats raised a bit. pour some lavander oil in the bottom of the humidity crib place in the bakers cooling tray and then your seed tray on top...

LOL looking back at that, fairly ridiculous!!! :bong:

D00d

Edited by thed00dabides

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make a deal with God what you will do to get back on the good karma track with him after you absolutely destroy those little fuckers! and take preventive measures of course,.... hehehe,..... guys and girls I am an animal lover,... but there are limits.

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Whites Wires produces a 5mm mouse mesh. This can be shaped into a 5 sided box to fit snuggly over a single tray or you can make a big cage where you can put trays and pots. If using the single tray method on a mesh bench then make sure to use trays with small holes or the f*ckers will come up from below.

Planthelper has covered the rest. However watch out with polystyrene boxes as they can squeeze in the slots at the bottom of the box and dig their way up. They'll trash a whole box of cactus seedlings in one night.

We have a 6 x 6m enclosure that has been sealed to 10mm with Whites aviary mesh. The odd small mouse gets in, but no rats. Rats are far more destructive.

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Some really great advice there, thanks for all of your suggestions.

It can be quite devastating after watching them grow from seed, doting on them every day and then all gone in an instant. I was planning on sharing those Acacia's around with the SAB community as I certainly had no need for so many of them, same with the chilli seeds. Oh well, back to square one I guess.

thed00dabides - Essential oils sound interesting as a deterrent however would hate for just one of those little bastards to get through and devour my seedlings again, so I may be looking for a 100% foolproof method (some sort of barrier) to protect them if there is such a thing. Not to say that it doesn't work, I just think I would be stressing out about it too much without some sort of physical barrier.

poisonshroom & bongchitis - Although I am in a residential area, there are shitloads of them around, I think there is someone nearby with chickens in their backyard and I see them running along the top of the fence from house to house all of the time. Some small, some rats seem to be the size of a miniature breed dog, no joke! My dog leaves scraps of food around and I don't think I will be able to eradicate them for good using traps etc, will need to go the protective route.

shortly - I think you are onto something with the birdcage, I just want something that works, not fussed how it looks.

planthelper - some sound advice there. I think I will avoid the bait/poison route as I have found my dog chewing on dead mice and rats in the past (jack russell x - loves chasing them).

El presidente Hillbillios - I have heard of a similar concoction using concrete and corn flour. They get thirsty and after they drink the water the concrete goes to work. Only problem with this method for me is that there are so many of them around in the warmer months there is virtually no hope to eliminate them for good. Even if I manage to kill heaps of them using this method they will still have a window of opportunity to devour my plants and seedlings before the concrete or plaster does it's thing. I think I will still give it a shot just for fun! I do like animals and would never harm one but this is beyond a joke, they get in my roof and scratch on the walls which drives us all insane.

Torsten - I am swaying towards the mesh cage route. Will be a little costly to begin with, however I will have something that can be used indefinitely. Thanks for the tip on where to buy it. I see they have a 6.5mm mouse mesh, did not see a 5mm, perhaps the 6.5mm is what you meant or I am just not looking hard enough. Anyhow, I think the 6.5mm should do the trick.

Thank you all, I appreciate the time you have taken to put forth your suggestions.

Edited by Echelon

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sorry, I was guessing visually. 6.5mm is probably it. The boxes that fit over the top of trays can also be used indefinitely. The good thing is that they don't require a frame of any kind. If you build a cage you will need to leave an access gate which will need to be framed to form a tight seal. Some aluminium stripping or bar works well [bunnings].

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post-1140-0-79357800-1317306928_thumb.jp

Feel you. I have some of those under the isolating of my roof. Protected species. Now i bought a trap to catch em alive, collected some in a large cage and wanted to drive em away. Like 30 miles away. But the weazels got out and went on a rampage through my house. Ate all my apples and took a shit on my whole kitchen. I love animals but when its about my plants, im not to be fucked with. Picture very related. Its the little shitheads snagging on apples.

I once had mice that were coming from the cellar and i killed em all. I felt forced to. They have so many diseases that they can infect you with so i didnt want them shitting on my food. Go get yourself some mouse traps or a cat. Thats what i did.

post-1140-0-79357800-1317306928_thumb.jpg

Edited by Evil Genius

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evil,... now that I see that pic,.... I think they are cute. hehehe,.... that cuteness is an ingenious,... better said,... devious survival tactic. "AWWWW look how cute! We cant kill that cute little innocent looking thing!" And before you know it "Bammmm! plague breaks out!"

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