If you own a horse stable or an indoor riding arena, you may be dealing with pests in your facility. Pests, particularly pigeons, rodents, and barn swallows, like to nest in stables and indoor riding arenas, because they provide shelter and food. Here are a few important things to know about these pests in your facility and how you can control their populations.
Pigeons in your facility may pose health risks to you and your horses. A fungus can be found in pigeon droppings, which can cause histoplasmosis. This is a flu-like condition that is caused by inhaling the fungus from pigeon droppings.
Droppings can also lead to intestinal distress in horses, particularly if they are found in your horses' water and food supplies. You may experience intestinal distress if you somehow ingest droppings, such as if you have some on your hands when you eat.
Pigeons are not attributed to pigeon fever in horses, which is a condition that is caused by flies and causes a horse's chest to protrude. However, pigeons harbor fleas, ticks, lice, and mites, which can irritate your horses.
There are several ways to eliminate pigeons in your facility. You'll want to deter them from nesting in your facility by placing owl and snake decoys near entrances. Use noise deterrents designed for pigeon control. These devices emit high-pitched noises, but they do not affect horses, humans, or the dogs and cats you may want in your facility. These deterrents will cause the pigeons to leave and prevent them from returning.
Mice can also harbor pests on their little bodies that can irritate your horse. However, the biggest problem you may experience with a mice infestation is the loss of grain. Two mice can damage as much as 4 pounds of grain in just 6 months.
However, mice populations can grow quickly. In fact, one female mouse can produce 5-10 litters each year, with 5-6 babies per litter. The babies mature in 6-10 weeks, at which point they can also reproduce. As you can see, an infestation of several dozens of mice, or more, can cause a lot of damage to your grain.
If you've notice mice and/or their droppings, you can safely bet that there are several hidden nests of babies in your facility. You'll need to call a pest control company like Antex Exterminating Co Inc to get rid of your mice population. When they come to inspect and treat your facility, it may be a good idea to put the horses outside. That way, your horses won't get spooked when the mice start scurrying about when the pest control company is locating their nests.
After the population has been eliminated, you'll want to take a few preventive measures to ensure they don't return. Fill gaps and holes in the exterior of the structure. Install steel kick plates on the doors to prevent mice from chewing through the door to create an entrance.
Barn swallows are migratory birds that prefer the shelter they find in large facilities such as yours. The main problem with barn swallows is that they leave droppings, which poses the same problems as pigeon droppings. However, barn swallows can be beneficial to your facility, because they eat insects, especially large horse flies. Therefore, you'll need to weigh the risks and benefits to determine whether or not you want barn swallows in your facility.
However, barn swallows are protected wildlife. This means that you will not be able to remove them or damage their nests while they are using your facility. You can, however, prevent them from returning by installing deterrent devices, such as strips of spikes on the rafters to keep them from being able to build their nests in the future.