Plan for the rats - what do you think?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Miss Sunshine, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Miss Sunshine

    Miss Sunshine In the Brooder

    Feb 13, 2017
    So we have quite the rat problem. I'm pretty new at this (familiar with chicken-keeping but I'm now actively helping with them), and I'd like to run the plan by more experienced people.

    In no particular order: Clean up yard (lots of debris from dogs who tore all kinds of things up, LOTS of places for rats to live.) Replace old coop with new (mainly because the old one is basically falling apart and the foundation underneath is in terrible shape; new coop ordered and on the way in a couple of weeks.) Invest in a treadle feeder and keep chicken food in metal garbage cans with tight-fitting lids (already using those.) Make sure there is water for the girls, but not easily available for rats. No more deep-litter (after watching my parents use it two years, I'm not a fan at all...seems like its just a perfect home for rodents. I know a lot of people love it but it's not the right fit for us.) We've also been putting chunk poison in a bait station (and I'm pretty sure my brother threw some chunks into tunnels under the coop.)

    Any other recommendations or things we could change? I'm really trying to make this right.
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Keep the chunx in the bait station. That way your targeting rodents and not whatever else gets to the bait as it's tossed willy nilly. The bait station is your best defense and once it does the job of eliminating yoru current problem will then keep the new commers from establishing a colony again.
  3. Miss Sunshine

    Miss Sunshine In the Brooder

    Feb 13, 2017
    Thanks for the advice!

    Another related question: my brother is convinced that when we get everything cleaned up and the chicken feed and water not accessible to them, the rats will start going after the chickens...these are full grown hens, do we really need to worry about that? Surely a few weeks from now we'll still have a few stragglers left that haven't been poisoned.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  4. Zoomie

    Zoomie Songster

    Dec 6, 2015
    Mora, NM USA
    That is not completely unheard of... but not the norm. Like most animals they want life on Easy Street and if there is no spilled food, no water, no place to live, they will move on to somewhere else that is friendlier.

    Killing chickens is not going to meet all their needs for food, water and housing. Again, it's not unheard of... but it's not real likely in my opinion. In my experience, once you remove all those lovely hiding places, the water and the free food they get disgusted and go elsewhere.
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    Baby chicks........maybe yes. Those may come up missing, or are found pulled down into the rat tunnels. Rats were a big reason why in times past they liked cement floors in permanent houses. Second choice was an elevated board floor. They might live under it, but would not chew through it to get inside. Last on the list was dirt. But that was before deep litter came along. But even with deep litter, if a place was infested with rats, an cement floor elevated above the adjacent soil to facilitate drainage is still a good option for a permanent house.

    Adult hens........not so much danger from rats. They probably would eat feathers, which are high in protein and thus nitrogen. Some use feathers as a source of N (nitrogen) in their compost piles.

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