Help! Rats!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by LBCoach, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. LBCoach

    LBCoach In the Brooder

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    hello! Just after a bit of advice please
    I have had my chickens for about 18 months. I had a bad rat investation about 4 months ago, I tried everything and eventually bought a treadle feeder and stopped feeding the wild birds and this seemed to do the trick.
    Anyway yesterday I saw 2 rats by the coop and I am devastated they are back!!
    I now have a kitten so was considering sprinkling the used wood pellet cat litter around where I have seen the rats, do you think this could be harmful to the chickens?
    Any other suggestions?! I’m really not keen on poison as I have children and dogs
    Thank you!
     
  2. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

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    Do not use poison anywhere near your chickens. I would suggest using traps where your chickens, kitten, dogs and children cannot get into. Make sure all feed is stored in a sealed tight container. Good luck getting rid of those nasty critters!!!!
     
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  3. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

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    By the way, Welcome to BYC! ♥
     
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  4. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

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    Solving a severe rat infestation is a big, multi-step problem that likely as not will require the use of poison bait blocks to solve.

    This thread pretty much covers it all.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rats-when-the-army-went-to-war-on-them.1216226/

    The good stuff starts on page 2 of the thread. Do watch the videos if you can. All three of them, as it helps you understand the nature of what you are up against. As valid today as they were back then.

    Your treadle feeder, if it is working correctly, is a good step 1. That makes the rats more willing to consume the baits, which when served up from secure bait block stations, are not as big of a threat to kids and other animals as most fear.

    Rats and chickens seem to go hand in hand. Go back to books on poultry husbandry that were written 100 years ago, and about the only predators they mentioned then were rats and hawks. They also mentioned mites. But it was rats that gave them fits. A rat proof house was recommended, even back then.
     
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  5. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

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    Again, do watch the videos. It explains why trapping and a lot of other half measures will be ineffective. Totally ineffective.
     
  6. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

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    Poison bait stations are the only thing that stop the rats when I have had a problem. I always keep one in the run against the one side of the coop. It is the Tomcat one that the rats have to go in & can only eat inside. The one risk is if a poisoned rat dies in the run. I have had that happen only once in the 18 years or so I have used poison. It is a risk, but if you carefully check your run every morning & evening, I feel it's a small risk. It is the only thing that got rid of the rats for me. YMMV
     
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  7. JurassicBawk

    JurassicBawk Songster

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    I switched to one of these feeders and that really helped. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LM6TRRC/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I also put a dog crate inside the coop that had active rat traps in it, so that my dogs/chickens could not access them but any rats/mice going into the coop could. We had no rodent problems for years, until a vacant house close by went under construction, and between the new feeder and the traps we've really gotten things back under control. Good luck.
     
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  8. True Patriot

    True Patriot Sanity is subjective

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    It's a continuous problem. Rats are so numerous and breed so fast that sometimes all you can do is control the population. The above suggestions are all valid. As long as the chickens don't consume the poisoned rats there shouldn't be any major issues. Keep bait stations at least 5 feet out of reach for the chickens. Store all edible products in sealed airtight containers. Food grade buckets with lids hold between 20-30 pounds depending on feed type. Usually about$5-6 at feed stores or big chain stores. Close any openings you can fit a quarter through in the coop with 1/2" hardware cloth. Pics of the coop and run may get more suggestions. Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint. Your goal should be long term control. Don't be upset if it takes time. And once they are under control you need to continue to prevent them returning in numbers.
     
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  9. Al Gerhart

    Al Gerhart Songster

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    What brand of treadle feeder did you buy? As others have said, it has to be working right and usually if it isn't it is an assembly or installation problem. Post a picture, especially if it is one of my feeders, and I bet I can walk you through some fixes or improvements.

    BTW, that hanging feeder in the link that someone posted....look at the negative reviews, around 36%, 50% if you count the four stars where people are being very generous. Plastic + China + treadle feeder is never a good combination.
     
  10. JurassicBawk

    JurassicBawk Songster

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    I assume you mean the link I posted. I haven't had an issue with the feeder at all. It's hanging under their coop at shoulder level to the birds, so rats can't reach it to even pull on the guards. There's nothing treadle about it. I'm not saying others haven't had issues, and I did keep the box for awhile "just in case" because I wasn't positive it would work, but so far it's working for me at least.
     

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