Hey, my husband insists that he won't have to cover 1.5 inch slats in our stall with chicken wire because rats don't eat chickens. He's willing to put chicken wire from ceiling to stall tops, but doesn't believe me that rats will get in and get my precious chicks. Did I just hear this somewhere? It took so much energy to hatch my egg layers - it could be marital problems if they get eaten! Ann
Rats Eating Chickens
Featured Stories on BackYard Chickens
We have a huge commercial chicken farm inbehind us
(which is about 10 acres away)
the rats that steal thier chicks wander over.... I have yet to see an alive one but I've found a few carcasses
THEY ARE UGLY , DISEASED ,with big honkin teeth :thun
Ok I think Yonaton just made me throw up a little. How horrible!
If nothing else, they'll certainly eat the chicken feed I would think. Definitely worth keeping them out of the coop.
So how do you keep the rats from getting at the chickens or the feed? Because can't rats get practically anywhere?
Keep the feed in tin garbage cans (I personally don't dump the food in, but place the whole bag inside the can and just open the top of the bag). Make sure the lid fits good.
Hardware cloth (the metal fencing-like stuff with 1/4 inch square holes) works real well against most anything. If rats are bound and determined, they will chew holes in wood or plastic to get to what they want. If they start doing that, lots of rat traps need to be set out. take a silver dollar sized circle out of the center of a fresh piece of bread and wad it up real good, like a dumpling, then kneed it deep into the bait-holder part of the trap (they love fresh bread). I also used to sit out late at night with my .22 pistol and a flashlight. When I'd hear a rat starting to chew at something, I'd quickly turn on the flashlight and blow the critter away.
A cat will work wonders too. The drawback - they'll also kill any wild rabbits, squirrels, birds. Our outdoor cat never bothered the hens with any chicks (I think it learned real quick that it didn't like a big bird coming at it trying to kill it). If it was me, I'd go the rat traps and shooting them. I hate that now I don't have anywhere near all the squirrels and rabbits we used to have.
You have a fast aim and shoot with your .22 and flashlight. I tried it with a pellet gun. As soon as I turned on the flashlight though, the rats would scatter and could not get off a decent shot. I just can't get myself to spend $500 plus for a night vision scope for the strong pellet gun.
Appreciated your other tips.
You have a fast aim and shoot with your .22 and flashlight.
Heh, heh....yep, I started learning to shoot like that when I was about 6 or 7 years old. In Florida, my grandpa used to sit out in the backyard and do it with the rats in the jungle that was only about 30 feet from his backdoor. He got to teaching me to help and I just kept at it all these years.
- Staff PhD
I shot a rat with a bb rifle once. Skimmed it twice and it still came back for more! I was hiding in the back of a SUV and it would only come out when we closed the hatch. It was only dusk though. It's not very effective though. Trapping works better.