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Rat stealing food

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by boggerman, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. boggerman

    boggerman Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2012
    Ireland
    We live in the countryside and so some natural pests such as mice and rats are to be expected. What I don't like is the fact that the rat (or rats) is stealing our chicken pellets. We let our chickens out in the morning to roam around as they please. We leave the door open so they can come back in our of the rain/cold or to get some pellets or water. Lately, every time I look out, there's a rat helping himself to the pellets. I already poisoned one that had made a home and stash of pellets in my car engine.
    Should we close the door of the coop to keep the rodents out? Would the chickens be ok not to have access during the day?
    Or should I take away the pellets during the day (the chickens seem to find enough food around the yard/fields)?

    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. Brandi Leigh

    Brandi Leigh Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am suprised that your chickens don't kill and eat the mice and rats. I don't see any harm in taking away the pellets during the day if they have ample area to forage. Perhaps you could try some sort of hanging feeder that is out of the reach of the rats but that the chickens could still reach. Although, I don't know how big rats grow where you live.
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    If you have one or 2 rats and they know there is a reliable food source you will have an infestation on your hands in no time. So getting rid of them a.s.a.p. would be your best bet. Poisoning it is risky though as chickens do sometimes catch and eat mice and rats (Mine does!). I'd suggest you get a trap and set it somewhere where the chickens won't have access to it and wan't get caught and injured. Maybe set it at night when the chickens are cooped up?
     
  4. boggerman

    boggerman Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2012
    Ireland
    Thanks for the advice.
    In reply to Brandi, these rats are pretty big, and I doubt our chicks would be able to eat them! Will try moving the pellets.
    In reply to sumi, I don't think poison or traps are viable options. We are surrounded by fields and woods, and so I think more will come to replace any that we kill (I've taken out a couple with poison, but am always worried about the chickens getting to it.)
    Thanks for the advice
     
  5. SallyinIndiana

    SallyinIndiana Overrun With Chickens

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    Bargersville, Indiana
    I'm new to the chickens, but will the chickens really kill mice? I just noticed some mouse remains. I was trying to think of a way to get rid of the mouse or mice. But if the chickens will kill it, then maybe I don't have anything to worry about.
     
  6. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    If the mice come in after dark the chickens are pretty dormant and probably won't do anything about the mice - but in the daylight they will go after them.
     
  7. boggerman

    boggerman Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2012
    Ireland
    I think I've come up with a solution. When I leave the chickens out in the morning, I give them a small pile of pellets, which they devour instantly (they seem to prefer picking them from the ground rather than from a plastic feeder). They then go off and forage for most of the day. Whenever I meet them outside I give them a handful of pellets. This way, I've taken away the supply of food for the rats, discouraging them from coming to the coop.
    Seems to be working at the moment - haven't seen one for a couple of days
     
  8. SallyinIndiana

    SallyinIndiana Overrun With Chickens

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    Bargersville, Indiana
    thank you
     

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