How to keep rats out of my run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PtldChick, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    This may be next to impossible given Portland's rat problem...

    I don't want to try to roof over my run, It's too big and I'm too lazy. [​IMG] But if there's an easy, rat-proof way to cover 500 sq ft, I'm listening...

    My chicken run is in an L-shape, bordered on several sides by my house, gate, garage and my neighbor's garage. I fenced in that area with chainlink kennel fencing, and my coop is 6'x12' chainlink attached to one of the chainlink walls (has a roof and wooden hutches/cages, but the birds all roost on the hutch roof since it's highest. lol)

    The rats seem to come in between my garage and my neighbors garage - there's about 18-24" of cedar fencing and they come in between the fencing and the buildings or underneath, so I'm going to cover those openings over with hardware cloth (I read rats can squeeze through chicken wire, is that so?). They're cheeky things, I've heard them squeak while I'm in the run after dark!

    I'm also running electric wire along the top of the chainlink and am considering continuing along my neighbor's garage wall and across the top of the cedar fencing if they decide to come over (once the under and around is blocked off). I may even run it along my garage walls all the way to my gate if they come over the garage roof.

    Any other ideas on how to keep them out? I trap them and more come, and some are smart enough to trip the traps. I figure there's an unending population out there. Not interested in poisoning, in case the chickens find and eat a poisoned rat.

    I'm trying to make the run secure enough so that if I want to go out of town for a night, I don't always have to hire a chicken sitter to let them in and out of the coop. I figure it will take the neighborhood predators (rats, possums, maybe a raccoon) that long to realize the dogs aren't there - they catch anything that dares step foot into the yard, good whippets! [​IMG].

  2. groundpecker

    groundpecker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2011
    Rison, Arkansas
    I is illegal in most cities to run a electric fence. You will be responsible for any damages/injury/death that might occur because of it.
    I would suggest you thin the population by keep setting the traps outside of your run, where your birds cannot get to them. Don't leave feed in your run/coop will also make them move on to better feeding places.

    You could also enlist the help of your neighbors trapping the rats. Talk to them about setting their own traps.

    A more extreme measure would be to cover the entire run with 1/2 inch hardware cloth and bury it about 8 inches in the ground. It will be costly and the rats could chew through it, if they wanted in bad enough.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  3. goldtopper

    goldtopper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Near Bert Blyleven
    Set the old style wooden traps with peanut butter or bacon grease. Get an old plastic milk crate and place it over the trap. rats can go in and out of the holes on the sides of the milk crate, chickens can't.
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    There is a poison, bromadiolone, that is relatively safe around animals who might eat a dead mouse/rat.
  5. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've never heard of electric fencing being illegal in 'most' cities. It's not illegal in here! [​IMG] Besides, unless he buys a livestock charger that is really strong- meant for cattle, then it's not going to kill anything. Just a bit of a sting. The smaller units will give you a bit of a zip for sure, but it won't kill anything. Unless your rat has had a pacemaker put in. Might try it and see what kind of deterrent it is- worth a shot, right? [​IMG] (and BTW, I do use the cattle chargers--which are the highest voltage you can buy -- with my horses and I have gotten zapped by it on occasion- more than I'd like to be, and I'm still here talking about it. )

    Personally, I would still consider bait- and I'd stick it around the areas you said they come thru. If you're out there everyday, you can pick up any dead rats. Most of them aren't going to die in the open anyway. They'll try to crawl into something dark. I have to put bait around my gardens. I used rail road ties to make raised beds, and the mice tunnel under the ties. Well.. they did, anyway. I actually pushed the bait under the ties and I never saw a dead mouse-- guessing they are now composting the bottom of my gardens. I just know there are no more tunnels and plants being chewed up. I also liked the idea of PP with the milk jug and traps. Smart. Honestly, if you want to keep them out- you'll need to cover your run with the smallest hardware cloth.
  6. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2010
    Slidell, Louisiana
    Hi, I'm old school and would go for the traditional rat traps baited with peanut butter as previous poster suggested. I like to see that I got the little suckers......not smell them later under something. Just my thoughts. Good luck.

    VI KING RANCH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2011
    Campbell River
    I killed 20 rats earlier this year with my .22cal and haven't seen or heard a rat since...
  8. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2011
    Quote:x2 on this, lived in lots of cities in CA, CO and MO, but never anywhere it's been illegal...
    now it's illegal to *electrocute* people with a "boobytrap" setup, but you can't electrocute them with a hotwire fence.
    the cattle chargers are *darned* unpleasant but I couldn't tell you that if they were lethal, considering the number of times I've been zinged.
    use the all the time for horses and dogs. do talk to your neighbors about installing it on the wall - if they reach up over the top and hit it by accident, they *won't* be happy.

    if you're looking for a safe kill, there *is* a little electrocution device for rats - looks like a small version of a mailbox with an open end, can't remember the brand but you should be able to search it up online. runs off batteries and kills even good sized rats dead-dead and quick. it has limitations - it shuts off after a kill to conserve battery, so it has to be emptied before it'll work again (so it's one at a time on the kill rate.) but the thing works great. we bait with peanutbutter.

    will help reduce the local numbers, but won't help keep them out of the yard.
  9. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2011
    Quote:wow, last time we tried that, we had a visit from the SWAT team...
    oh, right, that was while we were living in CA... SOOooo happy to be in MO now!
  10. Chickadee55

    Chickadee55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 17, 2010
    Central Florida
    Quote:X 2[​IMG]

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