All winter I knew that we had a rat in our coop. As the weather allowed, I opened it up to allow our barn cats to do some hunting. The cats didn't get the rat, mostly due to the rat building their nest behind the various bales of straw in the coop (to provide additional insulation during the winter). The past week has been much warmer in Wisconsin, so I took the opportunity to begin removing the extra straw. The chickens have been out each day and I have been removing the straw as I have time (its been added to my compost heap). When I pulled out one of the bales I discovered nearly 8 rats hiding out!!!! I grabbed my garden shovel and attempted to stab at the rats, but I wasn't fast enough. I have now made it my quest to destroy the rats (along with my barn cats' help). Its a mission... I want them all DEAD! (thankfully I have not had any problems with the eggs being eaten, it seems the rats were eating the feed that was in the feeder for the chickens. The feed is stored in a steel can with a cover, so I'm not too worried about that.) Last night when I was pulling out another bale of straw I discovered a nest of baby rats... there were at least 8 of them. I tried to coax my barn cats inside to eat them, but they were enjoying the sun outside. So I took the baby rats (they were less than a week old and still had their eyes closed.. they were about 3.5 inches long) with a rake and tossed them outside for the cats to have. The cats each took one, but that left 4 or 5 still on the ground. A couple of my chickens walked up to check out the commotion and one of them started pecking at the baby rat and grabbed it and ran off. Of course this created a "keep-away" game and a couple more chickens grabbed baby rats and ran off. I was shocked at first, but then found the whole situation hillarious. The chickens ran around with the baby rats in their beaks, with others pecking at them as they could. The rats died pretty quickly and eventually the chickens gave up. I believe the cats ended up with the rat carcasses. Has anyone else had an experience with their chickens going after baby rats like that?