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Hens not laying and cought a rat in the coop.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tiffu22, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. tiffu22

    tiffu22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2013
    The hens are 2 yr. And over the last few weeks the eggs have decreased down to none. My hubby is the one feeding them but i just went in last week and noticed dropping on the floor that are not from chickens. We got a trap and cought a rat. I dewormed them also. Some have tons of feathers, missing so not sure if molting or other hens picking on them. Out in the run you can see where an animal has dug under the fence to get in. I covered the holes up but last night it was back. So what do I do. I plan on closing up the coop from the run but not sure if it will bite through the door.
     
  2. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    At 2 yrs they could be molting. That could make them stop laying, but so could the stress of a lurking predator upsetting the apple cart. IMO, first (like really soon) I would skirt the run to make it dig proof . It might just be another rat, but depending on your local predators, it could wipe out your flock. Here's a link for more info. https://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=coop+skirt
    You might want to copy/paste this into a new thread in https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/13/predators-and-pests with some pics of your setup if you can, for more help securing your coop/run.
    Daylight hours also affect laying, so separate from the dig hole, which I personally would be very concerned about, shorter days may cause them to slow down/ stop depending on breed and where you live. Best of luck and I hope they get sorted out.
     
  3. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 2, 2013
    Atlanta, Georgia
    I agree with Mutt Farm...we just went through this.

    Just built a massive "fort knox" coop and found rats were getting in via a 1/2" to 3/4" gap at the roofline (where the wood siding was not yet installed)...spent several nights hunting them and finally managed to shoot 3 of them over several nights...then threw a few blocks of rat poison under the coop (no access for the chickens) and got another two via poison. Seems to have knocked them way back and the gap is now closed. We were way low on normal egg production while this was going on and after watching some videos of the rats running around at night on Youtube I can see how it would upset the girls. This is the time of year for molting so that would definitely be a factor as well.

    Just plug everything up for the rats...it's amazing how fast they are, how high they can climb, and how hard they are to kill. Ours were accessing a gap in at the roof line, about 10 feet up in the air.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. tiffu22

    tiffu22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2013
    We have fencing on the ground in the run, I think it is like 2x3 in squares. They are digging under through the dirt. I have seen holes in the ground in other places also. Will the rats attack the chickens? I think some of the hens are molting also. I have 14 darn chickens and I might have to buy eggs GRRRR, LOL
     
  5. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Right? 14 hens and not enough eggs? Nonsense! But it happens. IMO, rats will not attack chickens. 2X3 won't keep lil predators out. Hardware cloth is better.
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    Rats can and do dig for long distances, we get rats every year at this time, they are looking for a sheltered spot to spend the winter, we try to trap, but most years we have to resort to putting poison in a bait box, they usually stop after the ground freezes. I think it's near impossible to keep out determined rats, they dig and can chew through pretty thick wood. Rats have also been known to chew on chickens feet, and they consume a lot of feed.

    Sounds like your hens are molting. They will all quit laying to molt and recover. Work on getting rid of the rats before they become established and start breeding.
     
  7. tiffu22

    tiffu22 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2013
    That is what my hubby said when I told him to shut all doors to the coop at night. I really don't want to put poison because I'm worried with the chickens will get the rats or my stupid neighbors dogs that run the yards.
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Certainly try trapping, maybe you will have better luck than we do, I don't like poison either and we have six dogs, it seems the rats die in their holes, so it's just what we have to do or else we would be over run. They get pretty destructive very fast. Good luck.
     
  9. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just read on another thread where someone with a rat problem built a wood box with small holes to put the rat traps in so the chicken's were safe from the traps...they had great success. Just a thought.
     

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