Ferret for rat control?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by K7S10, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. K7S10

    K7S10 In the Brooder

    Apr 25, 2008
    It's very embarrassing, but I have a rat PROBLEM in my chicken coops. Snap traps, live traps & bucket traps have only caught under a dozen this year. I've seen a couple other dozen rats at LEAST.
    I have an 8x10 coop and a 5x7 coop side by side. What would you guys do?
    I tore up the 8x10 floor and am going to put 1/2 wire mesh down as well as 1 foot up the walls. Then place 2x6 boards on end on top of the mesh, and then the chickens ply floor on top of that. Do you think that will work?

    I really don't want those large number of rats to still be alive and roaming around though. They must DIE [​IMG], not just be blocked (til they chew in somehow again).

    I'm seriously thinking about getting a ferret to roam in the coops at night. Our neighbours have cats that sometimes hang around the outside of the coop, but I'm thinking this calls for something small and vicious that can chase down rat holes. ( *rubs hands gleefully at the thought)

    My chickens are getting older and I don't want to get more chicks until the rats are gone.
    If I get a ferret and have to be without chickens for a while to be rid of the rats, then I guess I'll have to.

    Ideas anyone?
  2. Connorrm

    Connorrm Songster

    Apr 27, 2011
    Capital District, NY
    How would you prevent the ferret from going after the chickens?

    If you were going to use a ferret a cat would work just as well. Don't get me wrong, ferrets are excellent mousers but they aren't real trainable like a cat or dog.

    Best mouser I have by far is Westley my Eskimo.
  3. Stormy Autumn

    Stormy Autumn Chirping

    Apr 6, 2011
    I think (although I'm not positive) that ferrets can also eat chickens, so I'd definitely do a little more research before going that route. It's an awesome idea, though. If you do get a ferret, see if there are any shelters or rescues (or just random people looking to get rid of a ferret) in your area before buying one from the pet shop. A lot of people get them from the pet shop on a whim, then realize that they're actually a ton of work and abandon them.

    As far as the rats.... in my experience, the ONLY thing that will really get rid of them is rat poison. Most people buy a box of the poison and set it out in little trays, but they also sell one in an enclosed box with just a rat-sized hole in the side (so none of your other animals could get to it). You're also not supposed to use it if you have cats or other animals that might eat the poisoned rats, but we've never had a problem with that. But you might want to house your chickens somewhere else until the rats are gone. I know a lot of people want to go the natural route, but when we had a huge rat infestation in our house the live traps just wouldn't do it. I think the rats were multiplying faster than the traps were collecting them!
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I'd just poison them. That's how we got rid of our infestation.
  5. Debbi

    Debbi Crowing

    May 2, 2010
    Ferrets are basically Weasels, Weasels EAT chickens and eggs! Get a one bite type of bait bar, sold at feed stores. I put mine in a large coffee can, with the lid on, then cut a hole in the middle of the lid so nothing else gets to the bait. To be safer, you can put a wire type of cage over this set up too, so the rats can get in but no one else can. I have 9 barn cats here, and I have zero mice or rats, but should they start to appear, the One Bite Bar gets them every time! Also rebuilding the floors of your coops the way you described sounds wise too! Good luck.
  6. eggboy

    eggboy Songster

    Jan 23, 2010
  7. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Songster

    Jan 18, 2012
    I don't think the OP plans on setting a ferret loose with their chickens...

    But if you are willing to get rid of chickens and get a ferret, you may as well just get a good barn cat.
  8. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Songster

    May 1, 2011
    Well, she says earlier in her post that she would like to get a ferret to "roam in the coops at night"...so the advise is sound. Ferrets will not only kill the rats but will dine on your chickens and since the chickens would be an easier catch, they would probably go first.

    I do know that even the scent of a ferret is enough to keep vermin away....I'm not sure how that would work out for you but as long as I kept ferrets, I never even saw a mouse!!!
  9. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Songster

    Jan 18, 2012
    Well, yes I know they will eat chickens, but it sounds to me like she wants him to roam the coops at night because that's when the rats come out to play. I may be wrong and just read it differently, but that's what it sounded like to me.
  10. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Songster

    May 1, 2011
    Either way, if the rats can get in, the ferret would be able to get out and it would be bye bye ferret :)

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