Help! rats and 1" hardware cloth question

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by socks, May 10, 2011.

  1. socks

    socks Songster

    Apr 12, 2009
    Pacific Northwest
    Hi, I've had my chickens and coop/run for 2 years now. The run encloses the coop in a hoop style (think greenhouse) housing which is covered with one inch hardware cloth (welded wire). We have been so happy with the security of this run that we have left the coop door open since the first few months. One of my friends who was keeping chickens recently gave up after killing 30 rats. I was kind of smug thinking that our chicken fortress would keep them out - it certainly works on the resident coons.

    So, imagine my dismay when after several days of our chicken shrieking and making a general scaredy-cat racket (they have this weird code of silence like 'what happens in the run stays in the run' when we come down to investigate) we discovered that we have both mice and rats.

    What I am trying to determine about the rats is whether they are likely to be getting in directly through the 1" square holes or would it be tunnels? We did find some tunnels ---we have 12 inches of the hardware cloth that continues onto the ground and is pegged down but the ground is very soft in the wet winter and so they were able to tunnel---but my husband thinks he filled these. I did find one place where the j-clips I used to attach the wire to itself has a gap big enough for a rat to crawl through if they can climb half way up the wall.

    If they shouldn't be able to get through the hardware cloth I think we can just mix up some cement and put it at the bottom of the walls so that tunnelers will smack their little heads on it. Otherwise I guess we are hooped! We have a rooster and while he is a wonderful gentleman that takes care of his ladies' dietary (and other) needs and has taken on a coon to protect them but to say he appears to be the first in the coop when the rats come.

    It is very unsettling when they start shrieking, not good for them nor us, nor the neighbourhood so I really want to deal with this. I can't imagine poisoning the rats would be a deterrent to the next bunch so I would like if possible to make this impenetrable. They haven't gotten into the coop yet and even the food is not very accessible (pvc type feeder) - only occasionally when the birds bill out some food.

    I'm hoping someone can help me figure out how to rat proof this. (my husband thinks like some great escape war movie they have some very long tunnel in from the trees nearby---I tell him he's crazy....I think)
    Last edited: May 10, 2011
  2. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Rats are coming through tunnels and/or gaps in wire. First thing is to close up any gaps because rats can climb anywhere on your coop!! Then set some rat "feeding" stations up such as described in posts #4 (pipe) and #5 (feed) of this post.

    mice/shrews might be able to fit through the 1 inch wire, but they should eat at your PVC diner as well.

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