Rat in my coop!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chickenchicky11, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. chickenchicky11

    chickenchicky11 Out Of The Brooder

    May 12, 2015
    Newton, NH
    I think I have a rat picking feathers off my ladies at night while they are roosting.

    I haven't been locking the coop at night and just shutting the run door. Apparently, that wasn't very smart.

    Last night I went out to shut the run and fill the feeder and what I think was a rat came running out of the coop. They have been missing bum feathers for awhile now. I just thought they were doing it to each other.

    Do rats feather pick? I am going to start closing the coop!!!!
  2. BackyardFlock17

    BackyardFlock17 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 7, 2016
    I'm not sure if rats pick feathers, but it is possible. Defiently start locking the door.
  3. mustang56

    mustang56 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 4, 2012
    find out how they are getting in and fix it.....
    wire mesh on flooring, under pen area is very helpful, and almost full proof to keep out unwanted...

    rats carry so many diseases... =(
  4. lehouseofdog

    lehouseofdog Just Hatched

    Jun 4, 2016
    richmond va
    I have a rat and wondering how easy it is to scare away. I've gotten lazy in this 90 degree heat and have been shutting the run door but leaving the girls out so they can roost in the run, not locked up in the coop - it's just so HOT! Last week, I noticed that one of my Zucchni had been eaten half of and I noticed that leaves kept filling the hole between the cinder blocks the dog house is braced on. Then I noticed that the girls seemed to be eating more and I had to fill their feeder in the coop more often. Those combined caused me to take a closer look at the dog house and there was a hole behind it. Then I lifted it and saw the tail end of a rat slink down another hole. I think it's been here a week or so based on the development of the nest and holes (looked like it was going to set up for a family)

    So, I locked their girls up that night in the coop, then spend all of yesterday recovering their screen door with hardware cloth over the 2*4" wire that is there. I put hardware cloth in their eves. And started making sure the coop is closed and latched by 8pm. This coming weekend, I'm going to recover the entire run with the hardware cloth so that the girls can roost in the run safely if it's too hot in the coop.

    I got rid of the dog house and filled in some of the holes, I put rat bait down two of the holes I left open. I only used half of a package because I was worried about the dogs/chickens getting some of it if the rat dragged it out from under the shed. What's the liklihood of that? i've also encouraged the dogs to sniff around the shed and scratch at the drainage pipes and dig a bit searching for the rats.

    Is all this enough to scare off the rat or do I need to put several bags of posion bait out under the shed?
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  5. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd say that you've taken some very reasonable precautions, and now you just need to be vigilant. Watch to see if there are fresh openings and fresh activity in the areas where you've identified sign of the rats.

    If any more holes open up, then here's what I'd do...go to the grocery store, and ask them for a block of dry ice. It should be in the shipments on the days when they receive their dairy products. The block should be about 5lbs or so. Break it up and put it down that hole and then cover the hole.

    Dry Ice is solid carbon dioxide. When a 5 lb block sublimes, it will fill a volume of about 40 cubic feet with carbon dioxide. That will flush out that burrow, and anything in that burrow will most likely settle in for a perma-nap. The rats really won't even notice, they'll just seem tired and sleepy and then gone. It's very humane, very quiet...no harmful side effects, unless you are able to fit down a rat hole.

    Because carbon dioxide has a density greater than air, it will not dissipate very well over time, so that hole is going to be filled with CO2 for a long time to come...

    Always stay vigilant...
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
  6. lehouseofdog

    lehouseofdog Just Hatched

    Jun 4, 2016
    richmond va
    Thank you. I did end up putting the second half of the bag of poison down last night. I put it through a knothole in the ramp on my shed. It's in the middle of the ramp so the dogs could not get it. I did that because I noticed the other poison was gone (what I could see). And this morning when I went out, the second baiting was gone. So tonight I'm going to put a tin under the shed as far as I can reach and see if they eat more. I also ordered a locking rat bait station from Amazon.

    The girls were skittish about going in the coop last night but they stayed on their roost all night (I checked on them a few times until about midnight and then again at 5 am. When I put the hardware cloth up in the eves, I cut it so it would be spiky at the top and would catch hair and scratch the rat's belly if it tried to push through. There was no hair so I think it's secure. I took their food out and swept the area where they spill it to discourage it from investigating.

    I did find another hole when one of my dogs pulled up the drainage pipe from the downspout. There was a hole right to the side of where it lay so it was pretty well hidden. I can get dry ice at our local Kroger, they keep it in a cooler up front (always there by the regular ice chest if anyone didn't know that). I'll do that too this weekend in case it was already having babies in the holes.

    rats just freak me out.
  7. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    You have been busy...congratulations. I hope that your efforts put an end to the....invasion..

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