Rat attack

TeePants

Songster
10 Years
Aug 11, 2011
370
310
231
Well, lost our first quail to a rat. I foolishly wasn’t taking their food out at night, and it figured out how to get in the smaller cage that the “rejected” hen lived in. I suspect it had been eating her food for a while actually as there’s no way in retrospect she could have been eating so much on her own.

It tunneled under the main coop but didn’t get in, so we packed the other quail up in their temp cage and brought them inside, then dragged the coop (it’s an a-frame lined with 1/2in hardware cloth) out into the yard so we could flip it and check for damage. So far so good, it didn’t try to chew anything. We reinforced the wire on the bottom before putting it back.

I’m going to start removing the food at night from now on and trying to make sure there aren’t any missed eggs (we keep ours on the ground on about 4-6in of wood shavings so sometimes they get sneaky and lay them deep) but is there anything else I can do? Was also planning on giving the pen a once over to make sure they’re not chewing the wood more frequently. Should I reinforce the frame in some way to keep them from chewing through it, maybe wrap the frame in HWC?

We live in a major metro area in a townhouse with houses close by and a ton of neighborhood cats. I’ve been jumping out of my skin every time I hear our male crow after dark, and have run out there with my phone flashlight to make sure everything is ok, but I haven’t seen any sign of it since. We found the dead hen Sunday, and I do remember the roo fussing a bit that night.
 

CovidtimeQuail

Highly quailified
Premium Feather Member
Nov 28, 2020
745
1,611
231
Honolulu, HI
I've been setting snap traps in areas that other animals can't get to, behind and under things. I live next to a farm so I'll always have some wayward rodents looking for a quick snack.

I see a rat on the motion cam about every other day and usually it's snapped dead within a few more days.

As far as checking for coop access points, be sure to also check the door opening space.
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
Premium Feather Member
May 15, 2019
9,562
61,768
1,096
Sonoma County, CA
The rats have been awful this year. I feed my birds in the morning now, and make sure to collect eggs in the evenings. My compost even has rat sized tunnels in it.

I've been using snap traps, but after I caught the first three, the rest have been avoiding them. I need to get some peanut butter to bait them with.
 

FloorCandy

Crowing
Apr 15, 2020
3,631
7,396
441
Well, lost our first quail to a rat. I foolishly wasn’t taking their food out at night, and it figured out how to get in the smaller cage that the “rejected” hen lived in. I suspect it had been eating her food for a while actually as there’s no way in retrospect she could have been eating so much on her own.

It tunneled under the main coop but didn’t get in, so we packed the other quail up in their temp cage and brought them inside, then dragged the coop (it’s an a-frame lined with 1/2in hardware cloth) out into the yard so we could flip it and check for damage. So far so good, it didn’t try to chew anything. We reinforced the wire on the bottom before putting it back.

I’m going to start removing the food at night from now on and trying to make sure there aren’t any missed eggs (we keep ours on the ground on about 4-6in of wood shavings so sometimes they get sneaky and lay them deep) but is there anything else I can do? Was also planning on giving the pen a once over to make sure they’re not chewing the wood more frequently. Should I reinforce the frame in some way to keep them from chewing through it, maybe wrap the frame in HWC?

We live in a major metro area in a townhouse with houses close by and a ton of neighborhood cats. I’ve been jumping out of my skin every time I hear our male crow after dark, and have run out there with my phone flashlight to make sure everything is ok, but I haven’t seen any sign of it since. We found the dead hen Sunday, and I do remember the roo fussing a bit that night.
I had rats kill all but 3 hens a couple months ago. We had “100 year floods” and it drove predators into my yard, as most of my town was under water. I ran hardware cloth under the pens and I just put patio blocks on the HWC in the inside corners to keep them in place, then covered everything in bedding. I tightened up the doors, put back the cinderblock skirt, and they’ve been ok since. I didn’t fix one of the pens, but I’m considering adopting a feral barn cat, and instead of locking it in a dog crate, I might lock it in the empty pen during its acclimation period where you lock it in to make sure it knows where home, food, and water is. That way a cat would be living in the middle of the birds, and would hopefully deter the rats, and would hopefully be milling around that general area. I haven’t caught any rats in my traps, but my dogs were running around with a dead rat the other day, acting like they had a stick, when they started getting feisty, I went to take the stick and saw what they had. I almost barfed. It was long dead and hard as a rock.
 

TeePants

Songster
10 Years
Aug 11, 2011
370
310
231
Thankfully the door has no gap- it’s swollen from the rain and I have to kick it shut actually, and I’ve got two locks on it, top and bottom. The bottom is lined in HWC that’s screwed onto the wood frame with washers. Same for the sides. Worried about using traps because there’s a neighbor with about 6 free roaming cats and a couple of them frequent our yard.

I have heard our boy crow a few times today and I see the dirt by the coop is all turned over again, but I don’t see a full tunnel or enough discarded dirt to indicate one.

Pardon the rain fly and the spare bricks, moved them so I could make sure there wasn’t any chew marks on the frame.
 

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TeePants

Songster
10 Years
Aug 11, 2011
370
310
231
Well, the rat is definitely still hanging around; I put bricks back around the edges but obviously he can get under them. If I dig up the bedding (it’s about 4-6in deep) I can see his tunnels under there :barnie I’m assuming the little guy can’t chew through the hardware cloth? Still a bit nerve wracking to know he’s hanging out under there.

I’m hoping he doesn’t decide to chew through the 2x4s while I wait for the traps to show up. The trap guides say to bait them and leave them locked open for a couple days to get them comfortable before arming them, so I’ll try it that way first.
 

007Sean

Face it, Embrace it, Ace it, Replace it
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Oct 25, 2015
34,298
208,212
1,652
South Central Texas
The rats have been awful this year. I feed my birds in the morning now, and make sure to collect eggs in the evenings. My compost even has rat sized tunnels in it.

I've been using snap traps, but after I caught the first three, the rest have been avoiding them. I need to get some peanut butter to bait them with.
Try Tootsie rolls...seriously, heat them up enough to make them maliable or you can chew them a bit to soften. Put it on the trigger and set the spring. Guarantee you'll catch them...they can't resist Tootsies!
 

FloorCandy

Crowing
Apr 15, 2020
3,631
7,396
441
Try Tootsie rolls...seriously, heat them up enough to make them maliable or you can chew them a bit to soften. Put it on the trigger and set the spring. Guarantee you'll catch them...they can't resist Tootsies!
I may try this. My go to has always been peanut butter and kielbasa, but they aren’t taking it this time, perhaps I need to offer them candy haha.
 

SurferchickinSB

Free Ranging
Feb 23, 2018
2,903
4,562
532
California
The rats have been awful this year. I feed my birds in the morning now, and make sure to collect eggs in the evenings. My compost even has rat sized tunnels in it.

I've been using snap traps, but after I caught the first three, the rest have been avoiding them. I need to get some peanut butter to bait them with.
I agree with you! The rats have been really awful this year and usually I can catch them, not this year! They have gotten wise and they don’t go near the traps. They have gotten wise and they don’t go near the traps.
 

ozzie

Crowing
14 Years
Nov 12, 2007
253
84
281
Australia (New South Wales)
I lost a whole lot to a rat(s). I had a similar set up. With hardwire floors. The rat grabbed the quail legs through the wire and amputated them one night. The blocks/bricks by the edges of the cage set up that I keep adding to block off holes dug didn’t work. I had to cull the lot of them because I found them flapping around in the morning legless. It was not a pleasant job. Now I have a foot wide wire skirt around the edges of my aviary. So far so good.

Your set up seems to have substrate over the hardwire cloth inside so it may not be a problem. I had my cage (it was a tractor set up) straight on the ground (with little substrate on top over it), so if the rat tunneled under, it would have access to the feet of the birds.
 

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