Preventing Rats

SweetCountryGirl

Chirping
Mar 19, 2018
18
24
74
Santa Cruz
I haven't had chickens in a while but am moving to a place where I can! Yay!
My question is how do I prevent rats?
The lady who previously lived where I am movingly to said the place next door attracts a lot of rats and to be wary of that.
I personally have never had any run in with rats so I am at a loss.
Any suggestions welcome.
Thanks!
 

sylviethecochin

Free Ranging
Jun 14, 2017
5,499
11,305
701
Central PA
Poison.
Traps. (they avoid the spring ones, but they're not so wise to the half-empty feed bins with the board against them. Rats get in but they can't get out)
Small dogs (terriers).
Big, tough old cats.
Metal feed bins and hardware cloth.
Do not put any feed near the wall, and use a good lid if you're not using it as a trap.
Put hardware cloth in your ventilation. It'll allow air flow, not rat flow.
If you find holes, use carbon monoxide. Better if you can find the other end of the hole and have something waiting.
Don't leave feed out overnight, don't use crumbles, and some people like to use hanging feeders.
Do not allow eggs to sit overnight. Better yet, do, and inject the eggs with antifreeze. Obviously, mark the eggs (skull stickers are great) and make sure that your chickens aren't egg eaters first.

I lost a little bantam hen this winter to a hungry rat. I Am Upset.
 

Birdinhand

Crowing
May 23, 2016
1,113
1,764
277
Pacific Northwest
use hardware cloth on your coop. frame it, then attache the cloth, then roof/side etc. either go all the way under or go 2 ft down all the way around. leave no more than a half inch gap around the door or anywhere else. if you do it right, you will have no need for traps and poison and all the hassle.
 

sylviethecochin

Free Ranging
Jun 14, 2017
5,499
11,305
701
Central PA
use hardware cloth on your coop. frame it, then attache the cloth, then roof/side etc. either go all the way under or go 2 ft down all the way around. leave no more than a half inch gap around the door or anywhere else. if you do it right, you will have no need for traps and poison and all the hassle.
Should still remove feed at night, though. No reason to try attracting them--if they're determined, they can chew through a 5-gallon bucket or a piece of half-inch plywood.
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 29, 2014
7,973
23,582
941
New Zealand
And they will dig to get in too so unless your run will have a solid bottom you'll need a buried hardware cloth skirt or some kind of barrier to stop them digging in. I've had quail pulled through half inch hardware cloth that was under my run. :hitThey even tried to chew through the hardware cloth on the side. Horrid creatures!
 

Howard E

Crowing
5 Years
Feb 18, 2016
2,881
3,940
296
Missouri
To OP SCG......what is the place next door? And how bad of a problem do you think it might be?

And what type........big brown/norway rats or the smaller black/roof rats?

To give you an idea of what you could be up against.........good stuff starts on page 2 of this thread. Do watch the videos on rat proofing, etc.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rats-when-the-army-went-to-war-on-them.1216226/

BTW, easier to deal with rats if you anticipate a problem and build accordingly. Do that and you may eliminate 99% of your future rat problem before it ever starts.
 

Al Gerhart

Songster
9 Years
Sep 29, 2011
790
679
241
Oklahoma City
Just Google ratproof chicken feeder and read the reviews on the medium feeder, around 145 so far, the vast majority are five star reviews and nearly all report that it solved their rat problem in a few days. Or search on this form using the same terms and you will find Howard's excellent review, warts and all, probably the best review I have ever seen on my product.

Once you control the feed you can control the rats. No need to spend money, time, and effort trying to fence them out, starve them out and they will leave in a few days. Being a good neighbor would also mean setting out poison in covered bait stations that same day as the starving rats will eat bait that they would normally shy away from. I am no fan of poison as it can also kill the natural predators that are keeping the rat population down but driving away the rats does mean they go next door.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,550
21,009
867
Western Ohio
I haven't had chickens in a while but am moving to a place where I can! Yay!
My question is how do I prevent rats?
The lady who previously lived where I am movingly to said the place next door attracts a lot of rats and to be wary of that.
I personally have never had any run in with rats so I am at a loss.
Any suggestions welcome.
Thanks!


Good Luck! Good advice above from previous posters. We just moved into a home with a barn building. There was definitely a mouse problem, although we think they actually got rid of the mice, however, there are farm fields in front of and behind us, so mice are just here. We were cleaning out the barn (it has a solid concrete floor), and found some activity due to some insulation that was removed from the wall in a shop portion of the barn. Since we don't have any animals out there right now, and are not sure if it is rat or mouse activity (but assume mouse), we have put out poison bait and bait stations. Some of the bait is now gone - hopefully mice now dead. We will build a coop and plan to use hardware cloth in its construction. My spouse has discovered that the insulation in the walls of the barn (a small section used as a shop) had become a mouse haven over the 25 years that the insulation has been in the walls. All previous owners had dogs in a run behind the barn, with food stored in the barn, therefore a great place for a smart mouse to find lodging! He will re-insulate and re-wall this shop area, and is planning for a maintenance approach to managing the background mouse population which will include poison and restricting access to food. Hopefully we are successful.

If the neighbors yard attracts rats, then you will have an ongoing issue with rats. How close or far away is this neighbors property? How large is your property (or at least the area where you will be keeping chickens/ other animals)? Will you have dogs or cats? your strategy may need to take into account a constant supply of rats from the neighbors property if it is somewhat close. Its also great that the previous owner warned you of this problem, that way you can go in prepared rather than wildly surprised by a rat population explosion. Good Luck!
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,550
21,009
867
Western Ohio
Poison.
Traps. (they avoid the spring ones, but they're not so wise to the half-empty feed bins with the board against them. Rats get in but they can't get out)
Small dogs (terriers).
Big, tough old cats.
Metal feed bins and hardware cloth.
Do not put any feed near the wall, and use a good lid if you're not using it as a trap.
Put hardware cloth in your ventilation. It'll allow air flow, not rat flow.
If you find holes, use carbon monoxide. Better if you can find the other end of the hole and have something waiting.
Don't leave feed out overnight, don't use crumbles, and some people like to use hanging feeders.
Do not allow eggs to sit overnight. Better yet, do, and inject the eggs with antifreeze. Obviously, mark the eggs (skull stickers are great) and make sure that your chickens aren't egg eaters first.

I lost a little bantam hen this winter to a hungry rat. I Am Upset.

Some good suggestions I had never seen before: feed bin trap and antifreeze egg.
 

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