How to Feed Chickens Without Feeding Rats??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MamiPollo, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. MamiPollo

    MamiPollo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2011
    My Coop
    Yesterday my neighbors told me they saw a rat in their backyard. Today I saw the rat. He was going for some leftover breakfast I put out for my chickens. Ugh!

    My neighbor is calling the city about the rats. I am legal with my chickens except that they sometimes fly over my fence to my neighbor's yard (he feeds them). I am in the process of addressing this, but not all the way there yet. My neighbor is not concerned about it except that he sometimes has his granddogs, which would be a danger.

    I don't think the rats can get into my chicken house, and I have not seen any rat droppings, but he was using the side of the coop for cover as he was running away from me.

    I have brought the chickens' feed bowl into the house and picked up some produce I was composting in place in the garden. Of course, this is also part of my chicken's diet.

    So, how do I feed my chickens without feeding the rats? Blech!

    And should I be worried about the city coming out? Any steps I should take?
  2. gophert

    gophert Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 20, 2011
    We know we have rats in the yard. I think they are wood rats, because they're rather small. Nonetheless, blech.

    We recently took up the compost bin and attached hardware cloth to the bottom because they were digging in. I do not compost scarps in place in the garden and I only feed the girls what they will clean up and bring in scraps (melon rinds, etc) promptly. I also do not free feed. I give the girls a measure portion of feed in the morning and evenin and they finish it. (They also free-range).
  3. MamiPollo

    MamiPollo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2011
    My Coop
    Thank you! While you were writing, I was on the phone with the feed store. The guy there told me probably the rat sniffed out my chicken feed and is coming and stocking up on it for the winter. I have been putting their food in a dog dish on a little shelf in the coop. He said if I use a hanging feeder it will deter the rats.

    Also, I have been just tossing scraps out on the patio for them, and decided after they finish with them I will just go ahead and pick up whatever they don't eat the first round.

    I don't think these rats are living on my property. There really isn't a place for them to live. But, they are definitely coming to get food because I have been making it easy for them.
  4. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

    Jun 17, 2011
    Morristown, AZ
    Quote:Yup hanging feeder will work and that is how we avoid the rodents. Heck they even learned how to use the treadle feeder we built, they are smart but cant fly [​IMG]
  5. EM Squared Farms 2

    EM Squared Farms 2 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 31, 2011
    A hanging feeder is a good idea. The best way to get rid of rats is to get a cat. I have never seen a rat and I have cats. The only time is see mice is when the cats have them.
  6. csummer8882

    csummer8882 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2011
    Rockingham County, NH
    We have horses as well as chickens. We live right on a river. We def have rats down back. All the food is in metal cans with lids and the chicken feed hangs in the middle of the coop. We also have feral cats down back somewhere too. Not sure where they live but just saw the cat 2 nights ago under the coop. The rats are bigger than the cat for crying out loud. We protect as much as we can but its inevitable being on the river and out in the open like that.
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    A couple things. First, clip one wing of your birds and they won't fly over a fence that is 3' tall. Clipping one wing makes them unbalanced for high flight.
    Second, being "free" with food stuffs is an open invitation to rodents, rats, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, etc. It is a serious issue.

    The only sure way to limit the "free lunch for all critters" (which multiply at an astounding rate) is to ration feed very carefully. It may not seem ideal or convenient to feed chickens small portions that they eat up quickly, but it is one of the most effective in preventing feeding the vermin wild life. Having food uneaten on the ground or feeders with left overs at night or spilled, uneaten food laying on the floor or run is a virtual dinner bell for vermin.

    Also, begin an all out assault on the population with peanut butter bombs, traps, etc.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  8. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    Totally agree with Fred's Hens. I've found hanging feeders to be useless at deterring rats. Only feeding enough for a day, or removing all leftover feed at roost time, is the best way to stop rats.

    Though if there's a serious infestation already, removing the feed suddenly can cause attacks on young birds at night... Removing feed and trapping works to prune the population first.

    Good luck with it, they're a perennial problem and can easily get out of hand. [​IMG]
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    What I am about to say is unpopular, but it is something that needs to be addressed. Even if one is legal with chickens, laws about health concerns still come into play and can trump laws allowing chicken keeping.

    Chickens attract mice and other rodents. It is a simple reality that needs to be faced. Again, not a popular thing to say, but I risk saying it because people's concerns about allowing chickens in their neighborhoods is based many times on the fear of increased rodents.

    It is the responsibility of flock keepers to accept the challenge and practice good husbandry and to engage the rodent issue head on. In my experience, anyone who keeps chickens will have to become self educated about fighting predators, varmints, vermin, rodents and the other things that oft times comes right along with flock care. Sorry to burst anyone's romantic bubble here, but sometimes, such things just need to be said. Rodent control comes with the territory, more often than not.
  10. Al Gerhart

    Al Gerhart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2011
    Oklahoma City
    I tried hanging the feeder to where the hens had to stretch up to eat but while the birds were free ranging in the backyard, I would open the coop door to find the metal hanging feeder swinging like mad and rats scattering.

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