We had a chipmunk and mouse problem in the garage this past year. It started when a chipmunk chewed its way into the one plastic garbage can I had used to store cob corn and scratch grains. (All other feed items were stored in metal containers.) The mice followed the chipmunks, and one day I opened the can and found every cob bare of kernels and some very fat mice staring up at me from the open bag of oats.
And the smell of mouse pee and feces was really special, too.
Once we started to look around the rest of the garage, we noticed more evidence of the vermins’ occupation. Gross.
We took a two-step approach to getting rid of the mice: (1) we let our house puma, Bert, hang out in the garage each evening, and (2) we remove the food source completely.
That is why I got this neat feed storage box added to the back of the coop. (It isn’t actually attached, so you can’t say that the building is more than 100 square feet in size.) It runs the full length of the coop’s east side and contains the tarp I use to protect the yard, scratch grains, all of my chicken feed, supplements, and wood shavings.
The box is deep enough to accommodate 20-gallon metal garbage cans. The lid is split (I found the hinges at a garage sale for $1.) and constructed of 1x2s and ¼ inch cedar plywood, making it sturdy but light enough to lift with one hand. The lid also is tilted to shed rain water and snow melt. The bottom and sides of the box are lined with hardware cloth (left over from building the coop) so critters can’t gnaw their way in to the goodies.
Most of the materials used to frame the box were scavenged from our local composting site, which also accepts clean fill in the form of demolished decks and other home improvement by products. We also used scrap from local lumber yards (the cedar plywood for the lid), and leftover wood from other projects. The siding ($10) used to cover the OSB (we had to buy one sheet–$12) came from one of the Madison Habitat for Humanity ReStore. In the spring, I plan to paint it the same colors as the coop.