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Hole in the floor of my coop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by lastcopy, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. lastcopy

    lastcopy Out Of The Brooder

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    I have had my chickens in the same coop for about 6 years. When changing their water today I found a hole chewed in the floor near the corner of the coop. The hole is situated near the side of the coop that almost touches the ground. The other side of the coop has a space of about 8 inches from ground to the bottom of the coop. I looked under there and I see a huge leaf nest abutting the area in the floor that was chewed. My chickens are fine.
    I asked a few people and they all seem to think it is rats. I have lived her for ten years and have never seen a rat.
    Any ideas as to what this could be?? I have seen a possum a few times, but I don't know how they build their nest or if they will chew their way into a building. Also, the hole was big enough for a possum, but as I said the chickens are OK.
    My property is near a wooded area and also the town watershed.

    I screwed a couple of pieces of 2x4's over the hole. That is all I had to work with at the time. Thanks.
     
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Description would strongly suggest mice/rats, here (don't know your location). Jam steel wool tightly into hole and fasten a shaped section of hardware cloth over that and attach with either wood staples or screws through washers. Place both mice and rat traps up against high side of coop in something like shoe boxes, etc with a bricks on top of boxes to hold in place and mouse/rat sized holes cut in boxes so they can saunter on in. Only after catching something, or not, distrupt and remove "nest" (don't want them bolting, only to return).
     
  3. lastcopy

    lastcopy Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I am in central Massachusetts.
     
  4. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer Premium Member

    Rats will definitely gnaw their way through timber to get where they want to go. Those rat teeth are there to gnaw on stuff. It's what they do.

    I'm not sure whether your possums are the same as Australian possums, but our possums live in trees and eat fruit and leaves and vegetation. They will go inside the roof or somewhere, but they'll find somewhere they can get in, I've never known them to gnaw on stuff.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Hmmm, hard to say....not sure US possums will chew thru wood. Squirrels, rats, mice would tho.

    Did you see any droppings? That's often a good way to ID intruders, if you take a pic of droppings put a quarter in the pic.

    Can you clean out the nest from thru the hole in the floor?
    Do you have any idea how long the hole has been there? Might have been inactive for a long time.

    Patch the hole with 1/4" hardware cloth.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I would guess rats. Just because you don't see them doesn't mean they're not there. I had chickens in a small coop that sat on the ground for years without any problems. Then one winter, feed consumption went way up and egg production went way down. When I did my spring cleaning of that coop, I noticed holes in the floor. I took a flashlight and looked beneath the floor, and it was full of rats! I hadn't seen any during the winter, so I was quite surprised to say the least. (That coop has since been retired and the two newer coops are on cement blocks so as to not give any varmints nice warm, protected hiding places.)
     

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