Oh, Gosh I think I may have a rat...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Lil Chickie Mama, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. Lil Chickie Mama

    Lil Chickie Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 1, 2009
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    So I go out this morning to let the chickens out and on the outside of the coop there is a pile of dirt. I raked and raked but didn't find a hole. I spied a little dirt underneath the nest box in the same spot as my suspicious pile just on the inside of the coop. I had to run to work as I have to clock in at 8, but I plan to run back over if we aren't very busy. I have a dirt floor for now, but after harvest we plan to build an actual shed/house type coop for them.
    I got ONE egg the other day but none since. I just thought that was normal since it is only one girl that has matured and she's not regulated yet. Yesterday I saw one of my roos get into the nest boxes (I've seen them in there about 15 times as much as I've ever seen a girl in there) and he was scratching around. I didn't think anything of it then as I've heard people say that he's preparing the nest for his lady. Now I'm wondering if he heard something under the nest box? It's made from a pallet so the pallet sits on the ground and the nest sits on top of that so that's only about 3 inches off the ground. Have I just created the perfect hideout for rats? Should I put it up on stilts? I have been leaving the food out at night (bad [​IMG] ) but now due to changing seasons I was going to start taking it away anyway. To top it all off: I live on a grain facility, I KNOW there are rats, mice, squirrels (millions) and other nasties here. I've seen random holes in the ground all over. Be straight with me...I have a rat (or a family) inside the coop don't I? [​IMG]
     
  2. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    You should keep as much things off the ground as possible so they have less places to hide. They'll still dig burrows to hide in though. And as you noticed, you should put the feed away at night, that's just a beacon saying 'FREE FOOD HERE'....you might as well have a neon sign!

    We have tons of rats here, it is almost impossible to get rid of them once they get a good hold. The roo was probably just prepping the nest, but you still want to get them off the floor. And put some wire around the bottom of your coop, that will deter them from getting in.

    ETA: Since it seems as if your coop floor is dirt anyway, you need to put wire down on the whole floor of the coop and cover it with gravel and sand. That will keep the rats out, plus help with drainage. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
  3. Lil Chickie Mama

    Lil Chickie Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    California
    Quote:Ooh, I'll have to do that, thank you!!! Other than raising the nest boxes, changes will have to wait until after harvest which is November, but it's good to know how to combat the beasties. I do have an apron of hardware cloth but I'll have to increase it and do the floor too. Right now I'm using rice hulls (grain facility=more rice hulls than I could ever use or give away) and hay but I'll try the sand soon. Can I still cover that with the rice hulls?
     
  4. stephhassler

    stephhassler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just found a rat too - rotten buggers. We have a concrete floor so I know they can't tunnel in, but I suspect they can fit in through small holes. I found a hole with a pile of dirt on the outside of the coop near the wall. We put a water hose down it and turned on the water - out came the little rodent. I do have one feeder that sits on the floor - all the others are hanging. I'll have to start picking up that feeder at night.

    However, my nest boxes are all up on the wall. I have 4 hens laying regularly, but since the rats came, I have been getting only 2-3 eggs per day. I suspect the rodents are eating my eggs. We can easily eat 4 eggs a day so my supply is slowly dwindling.

    Does anyone know if regular mouse traps will work? I thought I could put them out at night and bring the traps in during the day so the chickens don't get caught in them?
     
  5. koifarm

    koifarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    My white cat just killed a palmetto rat today....saw her coming from the direction of the coop so it may have been one... I'll have to check the pen and feed shed to see if any more are around.
     

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