Is this chicken egg pecking damage or rats?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by madgeroonie, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. madgeroonie

    madgeroonie Chirping

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    Nearly every day I find a freshly laid egg that has been broken with its contents dripping out into the nesting box. I am wondering if the rats are getting in and eating them or if this one of my hens pecking the eggs. Can anyone tell from the photo? And have you any advice about how to stop this behaviour (from chickens or rats!!!) Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 12.10.48.png Thank you.
     
  2. Ducksandchickens

    Ducksandchickens Free Ranging

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    I would guess rats. Can you set up a game camera in the boxes to be sure?

    If it was rats then what I would do is either move your flock to the garage or another coop (depending on how big your flock is) and hire someone or do it yourself and spray the crap out of the coop. Set up traps and spray spray and set up mouse/rat poison.
     
    LlamaGirl4 likes this.
  3. LlamaGirl4

    LlamaGirl4 Crowing

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  4. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

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    If it were chickens, I think they would eat it all, and much of the shell as well
     
  5. madgeroonie

    madgeroonie Chirping

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    OK thanks everyone. It looks like the rats have started eating the poison I've put down too (out of reach of the hens) so they are definitely around. Horrid thinking of them going in the house and hassling the hens. What do you spray the coop with to get rid of rats?
     
    Ducksandchickens likes this.
  6. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Crowing

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    a secure hardware cloth envelope around the inner coop where they roost, lay and eat is so much better than endlessly poisoning rats and everything that eats rats, as they perpetually repopulate. rat poison is only about 40% successful at killing, so a lot of it makes it to unintended recipients up the food chain.
     
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    1/2" Hardware Cloth.

    There's nothing you can just 'spray' to get rid of rats...you need to use traps and poison and cover any openings in coop with the HC and find where they are living and clear it out of places of refuge.
     
  8. pigcoon

    pigcoon Songster

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    If anyone comes up with the rat answer, do tell. I've been working on it for 4 years.
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    We had rats in the coop once, and lost eggs, and three nice pullets before fixing the problem. In our case, insulating the walls provided them a safe haven! We ripped out the particle board and insulation, revisited the hardware cloth perimeter at ground level, and used poison. We never actually found a dead rat, but everything cleared up, including the mouse problem.
    It was a miserable experience, but needed to happen!
    Rats are very smart, and you will never get them all in traps, only poison will work.
    Mary
     
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  10. madgeroonie

    madgeroonie Chirping

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    I'm interested (and a bit confused) about the hardware cloth idea and how to apply it in my situation... my wooden hen house is within an area that is surrounded by chicken wire, 6 feet high and dug into the ground to keep out the foxes and badgers. I leave the bottom door (1 ft off the ground with a ramp leading up to it) open at all times so the hens can come and go as they like when they want to go in to roost or lay or come out in the morning before I get up to feed them breakfast. The rats have dug a network of tunnels underneath the entire enclosure that come up inside it so they can steal the chicken food and water during the day and recently they have also started to go up the ramp into the wooden house and steal eggs (and potentially harass my girls!).
    I can't work out how I would apply the hardware cloth in a way that would keep the rats out but allow the hens to step over it into their house?! I imagine you mean that the hardware cloth needs to be quite high to keep them out but how would I i. allow the hens access to the house to lay and ii. if I set up a perimeter of it far enough away and around the house so the hens could still access their food and water (which is in the enlosure - not the house - how can I stop the rats from just digging more holes and coming back up inside that enclosure?!
    Sorry if I'm being stupid or misunderstanding - I appreciate any ideas or solutions for my situation. Thank you!
     

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