Okay something just dawned on me today. Over a month ago, I let the chickens out of the coop to find some of them with feathers missing in a bizarre way. It was like someone had taken to them with a rasor and buzzed off a couple spots. It was only a couple of the roosters who had this so I figured it was from roo fights (we have too many boys right now.) One of them got the worst of it shortly after, it looked like someone had pulled a prank on him and shaved off some patches all over him. Again I thought it was rooster fighting, never once thinking it could be RATS!! Well now one of my Welsummer hens has a chunk of tail missing with broken feathers opposed to plucked out feathers that you would see from peer plucking. None of the birds fight very much and none of them have been plucking feathers at all that I have seen. This is when the lightbulb went off and I finally thought of the little vermin. There is a hole that we thought a mouse made next to the food fish in the coop. We filled it up but now I am wondering if it was a rat all along. Whats the best way to get them, poison, death traps or live traps?? We could put rat poison in a place where no chickens or household animals could get to it but where the rats are sure to find it.