How to get rid of rats???

ChickenKiera

Songster
Oct 17, 2019
129
97
121
There are rats that keep running in and out of my chickens coop and I’m worried that they are going to end up hurting my chickens and they just scare me as well. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them? Everytime I cover the holes they keep making new ones and I’ve tried putting rat poison in them (I kept it away from the chickens and they didn’t eat it) but it still didn’t work. Is there a chicken safe spray or something i can use to stop the rats from coming in or does anyone else know what I can do to stop them?
 

Callender Girl

Crossing the Road
Sep 18, 2018
3,084
17,960
766
North Central Iowa
Rats are the worst, and my best strategy has been to throw EVERYTHING at them and see what works.

First, make sure to eliminate what they want most -- uneaten poultry feed. I began letting my ducks out in the morning and feeding them far away from their night time shelter. Try to clean up any uneaten feed as soon as possible. And, I store my poultry feed in metal garbage cans.

Once you figure out where the rats are coming from, cut off access. I ended up putting hardware cloth underneath the Urban Coop run (which had a dirt floor) and the homemade tall coop (which also had a dirt floor). Prior to that, I was drenching cotton balls in essential oils and stuffing those down the rat tunnels to try to dissuade them from using the tunnels. Probably just ended up with rats that smelled like citrus.

Kill traps outside the runs did provide some success. I hot glued dog food to the snap traps so the rats would have to struggle to free the bait. Then, I had to deal with big, dead rats close up. Yuck!

I think my best move was an electronic rat trap that lures the rats inside and where I don't have to touch them to remove the bodies. It was pricey but most effective.

Good luck with your battle. It will likely take a while to convince all the rats you see (and all the ones you're not seeing) to leave. You're right; they are a danger to your birds and need to be dealt with as soon as possible.

I wasted too much time on things that didn't work, and the buggers were actually popping up into the Urban Coop in broad daylight and showing little fear of me.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,111
41,642
1,156
southern Michigan
You have a rat colony, and that's bad, for you and the chickens!
It's necessary to make the coop predator proof, no openings larger than 1/2" anywhere!
@Callender Girl fixed her coop's flooring problem, and you need to do something there ASAP.
Make sure there aren't rodents living in the coop itself; if you have insulated the walls, and have wall cavities, rip that out. We had them in an insulated wall, and removing that, along with fixing the floor access, worked.
Rodent bait in safe bait stations may be necessary, and when you have your coop floor fixed, bait down their tunnels, then closed off from the surface, would be good.
Traps will help too, although you won't ever get them all in any given trap, because rats seeing their buddies in the trap will keep the others away from it.
Wear gloves! Rats can carry some nasty diseases that we can all catch!
If you are in an area where plague occurs, be very very careful!!! Look it up, it's carried in rat/ rodent fleas.
Mary
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
29,281
29,284
901
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
I have tried many different things for rats. I had a coop that was infested. When I renovated it I found several rat nests in the ceiling and walls and dozens of rats of all sizes poured out when I tore out the ceiling and the walls. Our barn is behind the coops and I had seen some evidence of rats being in the barn. I also noticed tunnels around the coops and barn which I think the rats made. I bought some rat bait stations and some bait. The rats didn't care for the bait that came with the bait stations so I bought some different bait. They liked the new bait. As long as you are responsible poison can be used without harm. I put the bait stations with the bait into pet carriers so that only the rats could get to it and put the pet carriers up on shelves so again, nothing but the rats could get to it. Rats are good climbers. The bait boxes have a little window above the bait so it can be checked often. The bait boxes also have a patrician down the middle inside the box that the rats have to go around to get to the bait so the bait stays in the bait stations. I didn't find any dead rats and I think it's because they went into their tunnels and died. I not advocating using poison only that I did after trying many other things. The green line in the pictures are where the partition is in the bait stations. Good luck...
PetCarrier1.jpg PetCarrier.jpg
This is considered a disposable rat bait station but I have managed to get the top off and refill it if needed with some bait.
RatBaitStationRev1.jpg
This is a reusable rat bait station. You can check the bait daily through the little window.
RatBaitBoxRev.jpg
 

Ursuline Chick

Chicken Outlaw
Premium Feather Member
Jul 21, 2017
6,755
40,127
1,092
NOLA
A neighborhood cat or 2, that doesn't belong to anyone (but is spayed or neutered) and has to hunt for food is always good to have around. I have read that peppermint plants is a rodent deterrent. However as a city dweller, I find getting rats out of your chicken coop is a 24/7 job. We have cats and possums that help, but we trap regularly.
When we had a rooster, he would spike the rats in the head and call the hens for dinner.
Good luck
 

Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
842
740
251
Oklahoma City
There are rats that keep running in and out of my chickens coop and I’m worried that they are going to end up hurting my chickens and they just scare me as well. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them? Everytime I cover the holes they keep making new ones and I’ve tried putting rat poison in them (I kept it away from the chickens and they didn’t eat it) but it still didn’t work. Is there a chicken safe spray or something i can use to stop the rats from coming in or does anyone else know what I can do to stop them?

Lots of folks have chickens for years without a problem with rats but eventually poor sanitation and poor feeders lead to wild bird and rat/mice problems.

Do a forum search for Howard E., who in my opinion, is the best rodent expert on the forum. I copied and pasted one of his replies from several years back that has the meat of the solution for you. People tend to run one of two ways, willing to invest in an expensive feeder or willing to fight a battle with rodents and find another way. Only you can say which you have more of; time or money.

Here is Howard E.'s past post:

"To the OP (and others like them), if you will spend the time, everything you need to know about rats and how to get ride of them will be found in the links below......

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rat-control-the-video-series.1337456/

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rat-control-101.1283827/

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rat-proof-feeder-review.1180514/#post-18610285

This last one is a review of a rat proof chicken feeder built and sold by a BYC member, who is a staunch advocate for the plan of getting rid of rats by starving them out. Remove all sources of feed and they will be forced to move on or starve to death. If you are firmly against the use of poison bait blocks......for whatever reason.......then this is one of the best actions you can take. Bulk food in metal trash cans.....chicken feed in metal rat proof feeders. Can't get to the feed and birds do not spill and waste feed that the rats can survive on."

And the short version of Howard's post? Sanitation, exclusion, elimination.

Sanitation, bulk feed in metal cans or barrels with tight fitting lids, a treadle feeder, clean up the avenues of movement so the rodents have no cover to protect them from their natural predators. In my opinion and experience this is the quickest, surest, and cheapest way to solve a rodent problem.

Exclusion, plugging the holes and building a Fort Knox chicken coop and not leaving an opening for free range. Tough to do and expensive but it could work for rats.

Elimination, poison and traps. Problem is that rats are smart and will quickly learn to avoid both traps and poison bait. Were you to clean them out, the lack of sanitation would mean a new population of rodents would move right in. And there is risk and no end to the process, keeping fresh bait out. However, if you have done your sanitation using poison becomes effective as the rats are starving and will likely try the poison bait. Not needed though, they will leave in a few days as long as you are not feeding the rodents with a compost pile or other animal feed. Not all will leave, your area will have a natural carrying capacity for rodents, natural feed, but that natural ability to sustain rodents is quite small and the natural predators keep them in check and under cover as the rodents hustle to find this natural food.

Do a forum search on "rats chickens" and you will find most of the old wives tales exposed and read of long epic battles against the rodents. Sanitation, exclusion, or elimination all have associated costs but you are already paying for the feed and will recover the initial costs quickly with the first method.

Good luck and remember, it isn't just the stolen feed, disease and predators come with rodents.
 

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