Since the beginning I’ve received many questions about, “How to protect quail from rodents?”
The thing is, I honestly haven’t had any issues with rodents in any of my quail runs. Pretty amazing right?
So, what’s my secret? Well, I’m not sure I have any fantastic secrets but one of the main things, I never leave food out overnight. If Rodents are making their way into a quail sanctuary there’s a reason and it’s not to eat your quail. it’s to eat their food.
Our quail have a feeding schedule, this includes a morning and early evening feast. The rest of their days is focused on a free-range diet where they hunt for bugs and seed inside their habitat. Sometimes I mix in fresh vegetables and remove leftovers and their dishes at the end of the day.
Since I’m in the middle of establishing a new sanctuary and we’re way more rural than our farm I thought it made sense to incorporate a rodent detour just in case my luck runs out.
This brings me to one of my favorite herb plants, Chocolate Mint.
Planting Mint to Detour Rodents
I’ve been growing chocolate mint for many years and propagated a couple nice size plants from the farm to establish at Quail Grove. Well as we all know mint is invasive; it loved our black soil and it multiplied perfectly.
This herb comes in a variety of options and each one is a good detour plant towards rodents. Learn more about mint here.
Why does it work?
Like most herbs, mint has a strong scent most animals don’t like so they normally move on. At our farm I had this plant everywhere because it worked wonders.
When I added that protective boarder a few weeks ago it dawned on me it was the perfect place to transplant the mint.
So, that’s what I did.
When it comes to gardening there seems to be a lot of rules and I often wonder who made up these restrictions? I’ve found over the years that sometimes rules can be broken if the temperatures are right, you work fast and the soil is moist.
Those are my three key elements I seek when I want to move plants from one place to another the summer.
Last Wednesday night it rained, the temperatures dropped and when I went outside in the morning it felt like I was given a gift. I quickly grabbed my boots, shovel and water bucket and decided to transplant that mint.
Follow these steps and you can also have a successful transplanting experience any time of year.
- Transplant in the early morning or late evening (late evening is best, just make sure temperatures are below 80)
- First prep the new planting area, make sure it’s moist and dig holes for the new plants.
- Remove plants from current planters with a hand spade one section at a time. Try not to disturb the roots but with mint that can be difficult.
- Most important, soak the roots in a bucket of water for a good 15 – 20 minutes.
Establishing these plants into their new home is a quick process, add bundles of mint to each hole and cover the roots with additional soil.
I had enough mint to go around the entire sanctuary and made sure to water each one again after it was secure.
Gaps were left between each transplant and leaf mulch covered the entire surface to help maintain moisture. Any mulch would work and don’t skip this step because it really helps the plants recover. I’ve been using leaf mulch all summer, it’s amazing learn more here.
In about a year those mint plants filled in the gaps and expand with gusto. It will make a beautiful presentation and welcome the honey bees to help pollinate the garden beds inside this quail sanctuary. It’s a win, win situation.
Use this tip to protect your quail from rodents but remember clean spaces and removing their food will also help detour these pests. If you have a quail run with space to add a protective boarder this may be a good solution to detour rodents.
There is no 100% guarantee but there are things you can incorporate to make the experience more enjoyable and hopefully less frustrating. Who knows this might even be a neat solution for chicken runs and fenced in gardens.