How on earth do I plug up Rat holes in a stone building in the middle of winter?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TheSitcomGirls, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. TheSitcomGirls

    TheSitcomGirls Songster

    Nov 17, 2010
    My pesky rat friends have moved into the walls of my stone coop for the winter. I have only seen one, but I assume there are more. I really can't handle poison. The stress of worrying if my dogs (one is a 10 month old puppy) would get it or a dead rat is just too much for me to deal with. I just want to keep them out! In past years, other than a bit of food gone missing, they have never caused much of a problem. In the summer I never see them. But then yesterday I found a chicken with her neck chewed up about 15 feet from the building. I believe she died of natural causes. There were no injuries on her feet. There were no signs of a struggle. Her feathers except the ones on her neck were all intact. She was a weaker hen and we have had a very cold few weeks. What I imagine happened was that she passed away outside and then the rats came over. :( No other chicken had been touched. If the rats have developed a taste for a chicken dinner I am worried. I feel the need to step up my game and try to keep them OUT of the coop especially at night when the chickens are vulnerable. Of course I am assuming it was a rat and not something else?

    My hen died and was chewed on some time between 1:00 in the afternoon and 4:00 when I went to feed. All the other chickens were fine at 4:00. The dogs did not hit on anything strange in the run or get excited to chase a new scent.Today everyone except for a few brave chickens have stayed inside. But it's 5 degrees outside and we have snow cover. Their coop is nice and they do stay inside on really cold days on their own. I have checked on them about 8 times today!! Each time they have been relaxed and doing chicken things. Their 1/3 of an acre pasture/ run is surrounded by a 6 foot fence and then on 2 1/2 sides by an additional 5 or 6 foot fence. It's not predator proof, but it not predator friendly. A predator would have to work pretty hard to get in. Although a weasel type critter could possible get through the fences as the holes are 1" x 4".

    So this brings me to my question. How on earth do I plug up rat holes in a stone building in the middle of winter? One is in the wall two feet off of the ground! The problem is the difficulty of attaching anything to the stone. My DH said that we really can't just drill into solid rock! My DH plugged up all rat size looking gaps before winter with cement. But as soon as it got cold the rats chewed right through a few! I guess they were not willing to give up their winter home!

    Here's the hole in the side of the wall up close. And I have located two entrances on the outside of the building as well and three additional ones inside.

    We have been trying to plug this hole up for weeks. The floor is cement. Below shows the height off of the floor. I put a rock in the hole every night, it's in the hole in the picture below to the left of the box. Then I know if Mr. Rat has been in because he knocks the rock out! He also throws his debris out the hole-mostly hickory nut shells! I think next summer my DH will have to skim coat the whole wall....but for now, how on earth do I block up that hole!!!

  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Stuff it with steel wool.

    My parents had a real problem with pack rats. They had a few of those expensive ($60 each) battery operated rat traps. Worked like a charm with no poison. I think they found them on Amazon.

    [​IMG] this one.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  3. ChookRanger

    ChookRanger Chirping

    Jun 25, 2014
    A good 2 part epoxy will stick, but wouldn't be rat proof. At this point any mortar would be too weak for a determined rat. Good old 1/4 hardware cloth anchored with masonry bolts is the only thing I would add (along with the steel wool). Good luck with the rats, they are persistent and insidious. It is a big job to eliminate them entirely, but if you do not, they will return.
  4. Tenneesse

    Tenneesse In the Brooder

    Nov 24, 2010
    Woodbury, Middle Tn
    wad up some wire mesh into a ball and with a rubber mallet hammer it in tight into the hole force as much into and through the hole as you can get in maybe even some mortar mix added to it will plug the hole but a big tight wad of wire mesh will make it impossible for the rats to travel through even make the mesh like a rolled plug and hammer it in.
  5. TheSitcomGirls

    TheSitcomGirls Songster

    Nov 17, 2010
    Wire mesh in a ball! I hadn't thought of that! Hardware cloth I think would be too hard, but maybe some other type of fencing!
  6. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    Seems to me that if you plug up holes, a determined rat will just make another, or find an alternate route.

    In other words, an exercise in frustration.

    Get rid of the problem humanly.

    Do a search on rats, lots of info on this site.
  7. LorieB

    LorieB Hatching

    Jul 7, 2011

    I wonder if plugging your hole with steel wool would help. I know it works for mice because they do not like to chew on it.

    I am also experiencing a possible rat or who knows what in my coop run. What ever it is tunnels up through the earth and leaves a hole about 4" diameter with mounds of dirt around it.
    I am in Minnesota and all activity stopped when temps dropped below zero. This weekend we hit 30's so we'll see if any of my traps will be successful.

    Good luck,

  8. amyandkids

    amyandkids Songster

    Apr 18, 2013
    I have tried everything and what worked for the longest is putting steel wool in the hole and then expanding insulation on top of that! but the rats will make a new route to were they want to go!!!! they sell T-rex traps that are so much better than the wooden mouse traps but im too afraid my cat or dogs will put there snout in them and get hurt. good luck!
  9. Suzie

    Suzie Crowing

    Jul 9, 2009
    I have almost exactly the same problem here...

    A very old stone wall coop...concrete floors too...

    Sadly rats will eat through anything...even chew up through concrete floors...I have set a trap in the coop...too small for the chicks and chickens to get into...baited it with chocolate...rats and mice eat chocolate and love it! I have put bait into inaccessible areas for chickens to sickens me that they are peeing and depositing their droppings in the coop...I had a chick a few days ago that was wounded...I suspect rats were the culprits...the chick is OK now...she was gnawed on her feet and one wing...she has been living in the house and is now back with her flockmates after intensive care...

    It is freezing here too...sadly there are no quick solutions...cement and concrete will not "set" when it is well below freezing....

    The trap I have set is called lucifer...if they are available in your area ...they are larger than mouse traps and are a cage type trap...once the rat enters it cannot get out...maybe it will not eat the wire of the cage...

    Wishing you a rat free Winter!
  10. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    Posted to another query.
    Hope it helps.:

    My understanding is that rats/mice are everywhere.
    They will congregate and breed where there is available food, water, and shelter.
    Look closely around any fast food restaurant and you will see rat bait stations.

    They will eventually come, the idea is to prevent them from establishing a colony.
    If you see 1, there are probably fifty.
    If you see two or more holes, expect dozens.

    Keeping a rat trap/bait station baited 24/7 hopefully keeps the population from establishing near your food source. Once established, they are very difficult to eliminate.

    Remember, chickens don't attract rats, food does.

    That said, I fabricated black 4 inch circular x 18" long drainage plastic pipe as a bait station.
    Placed along the outside of my coop, looks like drainage pipe (not unsightly).
    I put a t fitting in the center, capped, for easy viewing once a week.
    Inside I maintain commercial rat poison.

    My run has food scraps 24/7.
    My coop has food access 24/7.
    Water access 24/7.

    5 years, no sign of rats or mice...

    Hope this helps.

    1 person likes this.

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