Rat(?)! Bold Little Rotter! Need ideas for bottom of pen

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Amiga, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    (See update post below)

    No injuries, no trauma at this point.

    Runners moved into back garden and storm shelter / alternate house.

    Changed my day's plans. [​IMG]

    Something had tried digging around the outside of the day pen a couple of nights ago. I lowered the bottom hot wire, and reckoned it was a rodent looking for a winter nesting spot.

    This morning I saw that it had dug under the kiddie pool. [​IMG] Oh, joy. The day pen has 2"x3" coated wire sides and top, with 2' of 1" coated poultry fence along the lower part of the sides. Apparently it climbed up the poultry fence and hopped through the larger gaps.

    I emptied the pool, found only a tunnel underneath.

    Time to add hardware cloth to the sides and top of the day pen.

    But what shall I do to fortify the bottom of the pen? Due to its location, a deep trench around it was not an option. The base is coated chain link fence sandwiched between boards around the perimeter. But rats are small enough to get through that. Design flaw. [​IMG] I was most concerned with larger predators.

    Concrete is not an option. Trenches - not an option. Thinking . . . a wide hardware cloth skirt around the perimeter? How wide? These things, as most probably know, can tunnel quite a distance. What might I place over the chain link fence that would last a while? Coated hardware cloth?

    Off to finish the upgrade to the winter shelter so I can have them in there safely. I'd rather they feel a little stir crazy for a few days than be harmed. And they'll have time out in the back garden, which they love.

    Rats! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  2. featherfinder

    featherfinder Runner Lover

    Glad to hear everyone is ok!

    I would go with the hardware cloth. Here they make some that is about 3ft high. I burried about a ft of that in the ground and then 2ft stuck up along my fence. I have not had any issues with predators here.
  3. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2009
    Goshen, OH
    Hardware cloth all along the bottom inside, and pea gravel on top? Easy cleaning and no tunnels.
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I think I will line the bottom with coated hardware cloth ($$$$$ sigh). Since I want this pen for ducks for the long haul, I think it will be worth it to avoid heartbreak.

    I don't have problems with odor - I have the material in the pen pretty well balanced, so it composts with a nice earthy smell. The swim pan area has pea gravel. I reckon I'll rake off the compost layer down to the chain link, attach the hw cloth to the edges, and cover it back with the compost material.

    This is a project I had not planned for this fall. Oh, well.

    Thanks for your replies and encouragement!
  5. featherfinder

    featherfinder Runner Lover

    I wish i could remember the thread but there was someone on BYC that used something else to line th bottom of their pen and it was alot easier on their budget. I wish i could remember the thread or what they used....

    This will annoy me till i figure it out lol.
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Quick update - I am not sure if this rodent is in fact a rat (it is definitely not one of those massive Norway rats), or a large mouse. Both deceased specimens (one drowned, one cat-killed) were wet, so pics won't help at this point.

    I priced out hardware cloth for the 16'x10'x3.5' day pen . [​IMG]

    ..bought some bubble gum and traps. The traps did not work, but I gave up after day three. They tripped one and chewed on it, avoided the others. All the bubble gum has been taken. (note - they seem to prefer Hubba Bubba over Juicy Fruit chewing gum)

    They're only coming out at night, and I've been able to discourage them from digging in the pen. But a few days ago they were digging around the outside of Little Fort Knox, a pointless exercise. That structure is snug.

    I continue to keep spilled food to a minimum in the pen area, but some seems unavoidable. This is going to take a while and I think the best I can hope for is management, not eradication.

    Now that I've seen the (small) size of this thing, I am not nearly as alarmed.
  7. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Try peanut butter in the traps
  8. evansacres

    evansacres Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 29, 2011
    Quote:Is it possible that it is just a mole and/or a vole. I don't think either of these guys are dangerous to the ducks, just annoying. They burrow and make tunnels everywhere. They aren't very big either (bigger then a mouse though)... I had a mole around the ducks water the other day and I just knocked him out and tossed him. [​IMG] The cats won't eat them because they have a foul taste (I've heard they are poisonous but I think that's just an old wives tale). I would want to identify your "critter" before going to any great expense making changes.
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Thanks for the idea! [​IMG]

    I used Once Again peanut butter. Maybe they prefer Jif? Maybe I gave up too soon on the traps.
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Oct 3, 2009
    Mountains of Western N.C.
    Quote:I found a dead mole in the duck/chicken lot this morning. Someone had killed it but it had not been eat on, they do tunnel I have picked up pieces of wood and uncovered their tunnels.

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