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need help with rats in the coop!!!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

i recently have noticed a lot of feathers on the ground in my coop.   i have close to 40 birds.   most of them (about 35) actually sleep in some leyland cypress trees in front of the coop itself.   my guinea hens and younger birds sleep in the coop.   i have a smaller cage for young birds when they come out of the brooder.   the coop for it is a 4x5 doghouse.   it has 2 roosts of different heights to allow more birds to sleep off the ground.    i havent had any birds in there for a while, and i noticed a large pile of hay and feathers in the back a few weeks ago.   i knew it was rats, because they eat what food is left overnight.   theyre a huge problem for us.   i have gotten where i take the feeders and feed inside overnight.   i raise orpingtons and other laying varieties, and one of my hens at the bottom of the pecking order decided she wanted her own place to lay an egg.   well, long story short, she scratched down the rat nest into a bowl shaped nest for eggs.   i found feathers everywhere when i got home, and she couldnt even hop out of the 3ft high fence like normal.   i looked under her wings, and both sides had been ripped open, and under her legs were bitten too.   weve had problems with raccoons, possums, hawks, and the occasional dog that gets the chickens that escape the pen.   theres only one animal that would do this and not kill the bird immediately.  RATS!!! theyre everywhere.    i know this is a long post but its because im worried.   the hen died overnight, and she was a $200 bird.    its bad enough wasted feed money on rats, and i cant afford to lose my birds.   i need to know how to stop these things and how to prevent them from eating my birds.   thanks for your help!!!

post #2 of 7
I was told to limit the amount of food left out overnight, to prevent them from entering. Them to get a large snap trap, with a bit of meat for bait, and put it up on the wall. Screw it to the wall high enough up that you do not have to worry about accidentally catching a bird, but low enough to make it accessible to rodents.
A good dog could take care of the problem too.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

thanks for your quick reply.   i would like a dog, such as a great Pyrenees, but i dont think i could handle something like that.   would a cat maybe do the trick? theres lots of pasture and fields behind the coop.   we have a white lab but hes very friendly.   theres lots of people with kittens for free.   just wondering

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weldon farms View Post

thanks for your quick reply.   i would like a dog, such as a great Pyrenees, but i dont think i could handle something like that.   would a cat maybe do the trick? theres lots of pasture and fields behind the coop.   we have a white lab but hes very friendly.   theres lots of people with kittens for free.   just wondering
Cats are great, I have 7 right now that hunt on my farm. But if you have a decent sized rat, you will probably need a dog. Also be warned that if you get good hunting cats, they will see any young or small chicken as food too. I had to get rid of one of my best Toms because he was too good at killing my chickens. A pyrenees is a great dog, my aunt has had them for years. They have short lives, I think 8 to 10 years, but are wonderful pets.
I like my English shepard mutt. She is much smaller and very smart. They can be trained to kill rodents, my MIL had one that was a master at ridding the place of weasels and opossum.
Labs are great dogs too, and she probably could take care of your problem. Does the dog have access to the coop?
post #5 of 7

I'm so sorry for your loss. :hugs

 

How big are the rats? Cats can help with mice and smaller animals, but depending on the size of the rats, may not be much help. A rat terrier is a small dog and they have been bred to chase down rats and kill them. If you want to go that way, make sure you get one from working, not pet, parents.

 

You can also set traps. One that is effective for mice, and probably would be for small rats, can be made from a 5-gallon bucket, a dowel, a can, and some kind of ramp. You can see it here: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/747201/5-gallon-bucket-mouse-trap/0_20 or a similar one here: http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/easterly110.html

 

Good luck!

post #6 of 7

Posted to another query.

Hope it helps.:

 

My understanding is that rats/mice are everywhere.

They will congregate and breed where there is available food, water, and shelter.

Look closely around any fast food restaurant and you will see rat bait stations.

 

They will eventually come, the idea is to prevent them from establishing a colony.

If you see 1, there are probably fifty.

If you see two or more holes, expect dozens.

 

Keeping a rat trap/bait station baited 24/7 hopefully keeps the population from establishing near your food source. Once established, they are very difficult to eliminate.

 

Remember, chickens don't attract rats, food does.

 

That said, I fabricated black 4 inch circular x 18" long drainage plastic pipe as a bait station.

Placed along the outside of my coop, looks like drainage pipe (not unsightly).

I put a t fitting in the center, capped, for easy viewing once a week.

Inside I maintain commercial rat poison.

 

My run has food scraps 24/7.

My coop has food access 24/7.

Water access 24/7.

 

5 years, no sign of rats or mice...

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

Heat the nesting boxes to stop eggs from freezing.

Forever Water Heater one that lasts.

Unfrozen Nipple Watering for those cold days.

Removing dust the easy way.

Quick and Easy 5 Gallon Waterer.

Reply

Heat the nesting boxes to stop eggs from freezing.

Forever Water Heater one that lasts.

Unfrozen Nipple Watering for those cold days.

Removing dust the easy way.

Quick and Easy 5 Gallon Waterer.

Reply
post #7 of 7
Cats. Cats take care of rats. They are miracle workers.
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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Predators and Pests › need help with rats in the coop!!!