I think mice are rather nice

Or I used to, until we bought a house in the middle of nowhere that had been empty for years.

Mice everywhere; we were tolerated by the mice as we didn't seem to disturb them too much - they carried on regardless, in the bin, on top of the fridge, running across my keyboard AS I TYPED. I tried everything. Put everything edible into Bocaux on the dresser. Emptied the bin nightly. Bought a mouseproof breadbin. Adopted two cats. Bought a very expensive humane mousetrap. The two cats did zilch (not feeding the cats, as suggested by all and sundry just resulted in yowling cats who went from overfed indolence to indignant semi-paralysis with nothing in between) and the humane mousetrap - à la Mr Jingle from 'The Green Line' who made even the idea of killing a Mr Jingle or one of his mates unthinkable - which caught one, just one, wee mouse in 6 months of use. And yes, we tried everything from peanut butter to cotton wool as bait; google is my friend.

Last week we'd had enough. Everytime we opened the bin, there was a mouse, incredibly cute and incredibly undismayed, staring right back. The same mouse every time or was there a rota......? The Frenchman went to the Quincaillerie and came back with a couple of these babies: http://tinyurl.com/aj8nufa

And blimey - 8 (EIGHT!) of the buggers under the kitchen sink in just 2 days. St Francis of Assisi friendly they are not, but effective they certainly are - and cost effective as the same smidgen of value Nutella has served to lure all 8 to mouse heaven.

Now we just need Le Foine to vacate the loft and the 30,000,000 rats that have turned the woodpile into a rodent HLM and are costing me a fortune in lost chicken feed to follow the Pied Piper over ze hills and far away........


Are they these David as we've just bought the French equivalent and they are amazingly effective.

The rat trap, however....

B and Q sell a trap and bait made by Rentokil. VERY GOOD, is an understatement !!!!!!!!!!!

I have no rodents any more, and no signs of any "droppings" anywhere. Nuff said.!

The not being fed (much! I couldn't not give them anything!) lasted all of 24 hours. The yowling and reproaching looks got to me. If you look at my photo above, this is how Puku spends his days, hungry or not......

Moreover, domestic cats that are not fed have a nice little habit of finding somewhere else to live or going feral. Elizabeth says the rest.

Not feeding cats will not make them hunt. A well fed happy cat will hunt for fun, a hungry cat cat hunts because they have to and are not always successful. We have a cat that catches anything that moves including moles and squirrels.Every morning we have gifts at the door and the occassional one that escapes.

Soon after we moved in to our farmhouse 6 years ago we realised mice were everywhere. We mentioned it to ur neighbours and within 24 hrs they were back on the doorstep with a cute cuddly farm kitten rescued from a neighbouring farmer who was about to put the whole litter down the well. At this point sensitive souls should read no more. The farm kitten has turned into a killing machine. On one occasion when I heard the patter of very tiny feet in the attic I literally threw her up into the attic and within seconds she re-appeared with the victim in her crunching jaws. Within 6 months there no mice/rats left within our boundaries and she had started to patrol our neighbours barns. Occasionally she tries to smuggle one in to play with (and let us know she's still on the job) and occasionally she leaves body parts on the doorstep. Luckily she doesn't seem to bother too much with the local bird-life. She even curls up on a lap when she feels like it but mostly she's outside hunting in all weathers. I just wish she'd learn to dig up the damn moles!! The moral is - tell a neighbouring farmer and before long the answer to your problem will appear on the doorstep.

I know, estate-agents are sometimes "rats" LOL. But seriously; get a professional in to get rid of the problem which seems actually to be an infestation. For the rats' hiding place: in a diffuser prepare a solution of half bleach and half water and apply this on your wood-stack.Repeat this regularly. It smells bad but should confuse the pests into leaving the place alone. Do not leave anything edible for them accessible in and around the house, put the chicken-grain in a drum instead of sacks, your own foodstuffs in containers and clean up thoroughly after yourselves in the kitchen etc.. No food means that they have to go elsewhere to search it so make your house and surroundings as barren as possible in that respect.

And spread these granules that Don Duca recommends. It works fine without alarming the critters, the mice die in their nest. Might be a bit smelly for a while if the nest is in your house, but the little mouse-corpses will dry out within a week or 2

These two type of rodents can be cute with their little shiny eyes but are always a hazard to your health. Don't be nice to anyone of them, they always have a huge family hidden outside which moves in before you know it.

Wonderful stuff - great story. Hope you succeed in your mission.

Interestingly I had expected lots of mice when we moved to Le Mayne, our house in Eymet.....we had left a very des res in Newbury, modern house with all mod cons including a pool and always...at least one mouse (please dont tell me we had hundreds) we would catch one mouse every 3 years...and never have another problem...then 3 years later...we would find one. Always under the sink...eventually when we had a new kitchen put in discovered it was the pipe from the dishwasher that went out through the wall that left space for the mice to come in. After that...no more mice. I concur though, that chocolate and chocolate spread are the foods of choice to catch your mouse. In Le Mayne...we have never seen or heard a mouse...had the odd bat fly through the house at night when the windows are open...plenty of insects...great leathery beetles etc...but not a hint of mice activity. Certainly the house is airtight with double glazing and electric shutters...a new roof with underfelt....so maybe we are lucky...or maybe they hide well and have never destroyed anything....but to date..no sign of the little squeakers...!

I saw one running along the baseboards a few years ago. A French friend said if you see one, you have 100. They finally became destructive, chewing up a new pair of running shoes in the closet, so the man at the jardinere recommended a product, Frap. I put the pink granular food in bottle caps, in spots around the house and garage where the dogs couldn't get to it and it did the trick. I top up the caps every autumn and haven't had a problem since. But they do love the ripe tomatoes in the garden. Another friend recommended a liberal coating of cayenne pepper moulu on the ground around the plants. Haven't tried that yet.

We have two cats who just love mice. To hunt. They politely leave small piles of them outside the door, heads neatly removed in most cases. We have running battles with the ones indoors and no greater battles than the ones who run along the beams or scuttle about between floors. But bit by bit...

On active duty.....

The previous owner was a great fan of plastic cladding. As the cladding came down, the mice came out...

I think the Foine has been there for generations. The rat population has increased in direct proportion to our burgeoning woodpile and flourishing chicken troupe.

I think the estate agent was delighted to get the house off his books; I don't think he spent enough time in the property to have the faintest idea of its zoological goings on.

I wonder how the estate agent that sold you the house managed to control the mice and rats when you visited the property :-)