Help!!! Rat infestation

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by nconley11, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. nconley11

    nconley11 In the Brooder

    Mar 6, 2017
    I've had my coop for about a year-and-a-half now. We converted an old shed that was on the property before we bought it into of the coop. It has a wood floor in and was on cinder blocks originally but it's been so long that it's basically settled to the ground. Long story short we started seeing signs of mice or rats in late fall. I know we have 40 plus running around right now. I need to do something and I need to do something now and fast. I don't want them to end up in our house. What would you do? I've had people tell me if poison and no poison. I have noticed that I'm finding a few of the younger ones dead but they're not messing with them so maybe it would be okay to poison them. I just really don't want to wait my whole flock out. In addition Part of me wants to scrap the whole old Koop and start over. Any advice or tips would be welcome. Thank you!
    KikisGirls likes this.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I would make a few "stairway to heaven" rat/mouse traps out of 5 gallon buckets.
    You can catch lots in a single night. Google it.
    I would not use poison.
    Start planning your new coop but keep the old one for a quarantine building.
    Put the new one somewhere it won't sink into the ground.
    ChooksNQuilts likes this.
  3. PollyGirl21

    PollyGirl21 Crowing

    Apr 15, 2018
    Oh my goodness, Poor chickens! also poor rats! like ChickenCanoe said, build a new coop, but keep the old one in case you might ever need it.
  4. The Moonshiner

    The Moonshiner Professional Chicken Tender

    Nov 17, 2016
    Poison, poison then more poison.
    If you seeing or guessing you have 40 you probably have a few hundred.
    I had same issue and tried all the traps and homemade poison type recipes. Also worried about using poison.
    Everything has limited success and in the end they out bred any success I did have.
    Poison and poison heavy. Best to give every rat and then some a chance to get some for themselves. It took a couple weeks but soon i wasn't seeing any.
    I left it at that only to get reinfested during the winter.
    Round two poison, poison, poison.
    Got rid of them again but this round I decided to make bait station and leave poison in them at all times.
    Haven't had problem in few months now and bait seems to only getting nibbles here and there. Suspect that's from mice. They can go too.
    I honestly think anything except poison will be a losing battle.
    Wish I would of gave in and used it sooner.
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Me too! The only thing that really works for rats, smart little critters that they are, is poison. Make sure it's in bait stations that are totally safe, so only the rodents can access them, and pick up and wrap in the garbage any dead ones that you find.
    It's also necessary to change to a different bait after a few weeks, because they are very smart, to get any that didn't eat the first choice.
    Most will return to their burrows and die there, so will be out of reach of your birds.
    I didn't want to do it either, but nothing else really works.
  6. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

    Feb 18, 2016
    To the OP, this thread should give you some insight into what you are up against. Good stuff starts on page 2 of the thread.

    The historic videos......all of them.......are old, but every bit as valid today as back then. The first video explains it all. Only the types of poisons have changed.

    Concepts remain the same. With a severe rat infestation, know they are there for the easy and abundant source of food.....chicken feed, eggs they steal, up to and even including attacking chicks and the birds themselves if things get out of control.

    So step 1 is to eliminate the abundance of food. They may not take to the poison bait blocks until you do. So with hunger going for you, transition to Step 2, which is to offer up the bait blocks. If offered loose, they will steal and scatter them around where anyone can find them. So serve the poison blocks up from secure bait stations where you can control access and monitor the results. Keep going until the use has died off. Then switch to a different type and keep going until use dies off. Just know that if you havea colony of 100 rats, you might get 90% of them with the first type of poison, but that still leaves 10 to go. If you switch baits, you might get 90% of those remaining, but that still leaves 1. If that 1 is a fertile female, things will be back to where they were in no time at all. So goal is to get them all......100% if you can do it. At that point, your rat infestation should have abated.......but you are still not done.

    Since at this point you know you live in an area with a rat infestation, you have not eliminated it, you have just greatly thinned the existing herd. So Step 3 is to confine birds and the feed you give them in a rat proof structure to protect them from future hordes. Building a true rat proof structure is no easy feat. Watch the video and you will see why. And do keep the bait blocks out in the secure bait stations to monitor things. Even if only one block at a time. Use means you have rodents. No use is the goal.
    ChickenCanoe likes this.
  7. Maeschak

    Maeschak Songster

    Mar 29, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    I hate to agree bc I hate the idea of adding poison to my animals' living space... But it is the only thing that I have found that works. Poison the hell out of them and grab up any and all dying rats. I've found that my chickens don't mess with dead rats- too big for Them. (They will attempt to eat mice). I tried all sorts of traps and nothing worked- except poison. Poison works. You can use empty card board boxes with holes cut out to put the poison in- so the chickens can't get to it.
    Good luck!
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but have not been successful catching a single rat in a standard wood platform snap trap, a plastic "Jaws" style Tom trap. The rats will snap them, but never get caught. I've also tried a 5 gal or a 30 gal trash can water bucket with the spinning jar/can. I have caught a few mice with standard traps.

    I have put out the neurotoxin bait and am scared to death to use it. Not so much b/c of the worry about it being spread around, but wondering what the issue would be if a rat decomposes in my garden/green house in the root zone of my veggies. I can not find any written info regarding that scenario, even when reading the MSDS sheets for the poisons. My dog also eats all manner of filth, and would gladly snarf down a poisoned rodent.
    ChickenCanoe likes this.
  9. Before any of you condemn someone for using rat bait to control rodents you may need to ask which you would rather deal with, dead rats or dead chickens? Rats are a vector for almost every disease that affects chickens and if the rats eating your chicken feed, urinating on it to ward off competitors for your chickens' feed (including your chickens) and drawing serious chicken predators to your coop isn't enough, then perhaps you should apply to the town of Hamlin im Deutschland for a job in their fairy tale day care slash rat control program.
    RonP likes this.
  10. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

    Feb 18, 2016
    The problem with most wooden and jaws style rat traps, like the Victor, etc. is that many Norway / brown rats are simply too big for them. They can eat or steal the bait without stepping on the trigger, or if they do, when the hammer bar comes down, it simply bonks them on the nose.......or is simply not powerful enough to kill them. Some get hit and are not killed and stagger off.

    Try one of these........and bait it with something they will have to work at to a small bit of tootsie roll impaled on the trigger wire.
    chickengeorgeto likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: