I have a rat problem

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by dacasodivine, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. dacasodivine

    dacasodivine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I actually caught it with a chick under the coop. I had waited until full dark to go get the chicks in. Since I actually saw one of my dogs kill a chick, I assumed the one that disappeared the day before was killed by her too. Now I'm thinking it was a rat since we did get back from out of town after dark.

    The chicks are almost a month old. I do plan to keep them inside at night anyway but when is it going to be safe for them to be out after dark?

    I'm going to use plaster of paris mixed with powdered sugar, but I can't be sure how well it's working so will keep the chicks in at night until they are too big to be an easy meal for the rats.
     
  2. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens actually don't like to be out after dark (unless they are roosting in the trees). Is there any way to fix it so they can go in to roost on their own? Just be careful with the plaster of paris, make sure that the chickens don't have access.

    There is one rat poison that is relatively safe to use (though you still need to keep it away from other critters). From another group that I belong to:

    The ONLY effective rat poison that is not toxic ( except in laughably huge quantities) to nonrodent mammals or birds is CHOLECALCIFEROL. Its probably in the multivitamin-mineral supplement you take every morning. One of the brand names is Quintox. It is available from several pest control companies online.

    That being said, I am hesitant to use any poisons due to the fact that you just don't know where the critters will move the stuff to store it. When I saw a rat, I was lucky enough to find the nest where they were living. I left the nest there to keep them from relocating, and just went out a couple of times a day with my dog (a lab/australian shep mix). I would lift the board, rats would run, and he would grab one or two. I have no idea of why they kept going back to the nest, but it made things easy for me! After a few days, there were no more rats and haven't seen any since. Looked like a mom and a bunch of half grown babies.
     
  3. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    You also might want to try one, or some, of the sticky rat traps. They do work good, so be careful to put them where your little chicks can't get onto one of them. You will NEVER get them off! It is not the most humane way to dispose of the rats, but I think it is the safest. The bottom line of it is, you can't have rats hanging out and snatching your babies. This is war!!! Do whatever needs to be done to save your babies! Sticky traps don't seem so bad now, do they?!?! [​IMG] Good luck with it!
     
  4. dacasodivine

    dacasodivine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Frosty,

    I usually go get them right before dark. I keep the crate I carry them to and from the house out there and they will usually go in on their own. I will be sure to get them before dark from now on.

    I can put the mix under the coop. The chicks don't go under there. It's only a couple inches off the ground. Or, I could use a wire dog crate that I have. Put the stuff in there and the rats can get in but not the chicks or chickens.

    gumpsgirl,

    I will have a look at the store today to see if they have the traps in rat size. That's also something I could put under the coop but would be hesitant to leave it there during the day. I may try several different things including the bucket with water in it. You're right though, it's war!
     
  5. Run-A-Muck Ranch

    Run-A-Muck Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jsut a suggestion that I had happen with the sticky traps....

    I know spring is apon us now and the temps are starting to warm up. But if it still gets chilly at night the traps might now be as effective. For some reason the ones I had became unsticky after it got chilly..(even inside the barn). and in the winter they were useless for us.
    Maybe we just had a bad batch. I don't know.
    I know when I first found proof of a rat in the milk house I poored mouth balls in there. That bugger wasn't even bothered by them. It just moved them out of the way.
    As for the rat poison....I set a container of it right infront of the whole the rat was using. And in 1 day I had to put 4 different containers down. It ate all 4 in one day. I actually set the poison down in the milk house filled a 5 gallon water bucket to take and fill the chickens water dishes and when I came back the rat had eatten all of the poison in the dish I just set down less than 10 minutes earlier.
    About 4 or 5 days later I found the bugger deader than a door nail....
     
  6. dacasodivine

    dacasodivine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My problem with the poison is if it dies in my backyard and my dogs find it (or them) before I do. That's why the plaster of paris idea appeals. Or even a bucket of water. If I had a pellet gun, I would get a red light and sit out and get them as they come out. I don't think they live under the coop though. I suppose they could but it's only been there a couple of weeks.

    I'm in SE Texas so it doesn't get very cool at night here. I think it's in the 60s.
     
  7. Frosty

    Frosty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The active ingredient in the poison that I referred to is actually vitamin D. Supposed to be safe if pets eat the rodents after they die. It doesn't take long for rodents to nest somewhere... DH did some work on my henhouse, and left some of the old wood and stuff in a pile right outside the henhouse. About a month later, I saw the rat and the nest was under the stuff he had thrown out. Along with the bunch of half grown babies... You might want to check under the coop if you can.

    And tape doesn't stick well when it's cold, either. The sticky stuff probably freezes.
     
  8. dacasodivine

    dacasodivine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There's no way to check under the coop without tearing up the floor or jacking up the coop. The only entrance under there is on one side. There is a 4 x 4 about half way back (around 10 feet) and the chick was drug past that. If they're under it would be past there.

    I don't know if there is a nest under there but I could use a pole to push something way under. That's what I intend to do.

    Thanks
     
  9. dacasodivine

    dacasodivine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind of wire would keep rats out of my coop? I would like to be able to move the chicks into the coop but there are openings that rats could fit through. Would 1in. chicken wire keep rats out or 1x2 rabbit wire? The door is 2x4 wire and one side is 2x4 wire for ventilation. Did I read somewhere that you only have to put wire up a foot or two because the rats won't climb? Or would I need it floor to ceiling?

    Thanks
     
  10. Faded Intimacy

    Faded Intimacy Out Of The Brooder

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    I actually keep pet rats. :]
    One inch chicken wire is two big(MAYBE not for male rats, but a young female, who would be looking for those eggs or chicks, could fit easily.)
    My rats cages have wire that is about .5 x 1. If I put a baby younger then 5 weeks into my cages, they could fit through. just to give you an idea. You need to get the smallest size chicken wire you can, and YES. Rats climb. Mine are FANTASTIC at scaling curtains and the outside of their cage (The treats are on top). You need the wire Floor to ceiling.
    Remember, Rats can compress their bodies to fit into small spaces, so its best to go as small as possible when keeping them out of things.

    Also.. think of humane methods of capturing the rats and any other pests.. I know they are pests.. but.. only doing what they have to to survive. I probably wouldnt be saying that, but after keeping them. Rats are AMAZING little animals.
    [​IMG] Good luck!
     

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