Rat problem

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by 11ChickenGirl11, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. 11ChickenGirl11

    11ChickenGirl11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2015
    Northeast USA
    So since about the middle of December we had a rat problem. There are 5 MILLION HOLES IN THE GROUND near and under the coop door and inside the chickens' run. I have seen a rat or two in the run at night and none of the hens have been hurt, so far... But it is also very annoying to trip over a hole that a pesky rodent made in the ground (I almost dropped a pound of scraps for the chickens on the grass). They chewed through concrete and I am afraid a bigger, more dangerous critter will go through it and cause some real damage. In December, I saw that the rats even madea PATH from the coop to the veggie garden to the woods. We have tried nearly everything from poison pellets in the woods to covering up the holes and placing wire mesh but it isn't working! [​IMG]
    Does anyone have a foolproof solution for rats under the coop?

  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Do you mean 'hardware cloth'? That kind of wire will keep out rodents. Consider putting rat bait down in the holes, cover them with hardware cloth, and bricks or concrete, and watch for new places. It is true that a weasel could fit in those openings, so the situation has to be fixed. It's hard to actually have feed gone every night, but limiting what's available will help. Some cats will take on rats, others won't, but a really good ratter would be great. Small terriers are good to, as long as they can't get your chickens! Mary
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’ve killed seven rats since the middle of January, most in the garden area but some next to the compost pile and one where I keep the empty feed bags. Once they are established they are really hard to eradicate, I still see some running around. I’ve used poison, a live trap, and one of those electric traps that electrocutes them. I got one rat in that but mostly mice. My goal is not to eradicate them but to get the numbers under control.

    You mentioned both coop and run. It’s really hard to fence them out, they can get through some really small openings. And they tunnel, sometimes from a long way away. You might be able to protect your coop but any decent sized run will be next to impossible. I can’t argue with anything that Mary said though.

    What is attracting them to your coop is the chicken feed. You probably have a lot of mice too for the same reason. Store your chicken feed in rodent proof containers. I use a metal garbage can with a lid. You can try to lock their feed up at night since they don’t eat at night, but they probably spill enough that there will be enough to attract them. Still, it doesn’t hurt.

    Try to remove anything that creates a hiding place. That includes getting rid of the empty feed bags. But this means not only piles of stuff but areas where weeds and grass have grown up. I fail hugely at this.

    I do not condone spreading poison in the woods. That puts too many other animals at risk. Place it in a way that other animals, such as dogs, can’t get to it. I use poison but I’m very careful how I use it. Something else about poison. One bite will not kill them. They need to eat enough over time for the cumulative effect to kill them. Don’t use a small amount and keep it supplied. I’m talking weeks, not a few days.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by