Rats and cats in the duck barn!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Duckstruck, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. Duckstruck

    Duckstruck Chirping

    Mar 12, 2016
    East Tennessee
    Rats... need I say more, RATS!

    Ever since my ducks were little, mice and rats have been present. Of course, they haven't physically harmed the ducks, but have been lingering around, stealing food and digging holes everywhere!
    It was first brought to my attention when I noticed holes being dug underneath the concrete flooring of my duck coop. I swear, it's been there for possibly more than a year now and has annoyed me for just as long! This was then followed up with scattered holes on the sides of the run.

    Then, I began seeing them! On more than two accounts I've seen them scurrying back into their holes at my presence.
    My last sighting of one was inside the duck coop eating their eggs! It raced out when I turned on the light, and that was it! I thought my ducks ate their own eggs, but in the end, it could've just been the rats eating them before I could get to them!
    Rat poison doesn't work, we can't smoke the holes, since they lead into the animal pen and who knows where, so we're running out of ideas! But then, finally, I heard about how great barn cats are!
    My grandparents have two who enjoy people, yet will hunt as true barn cats! They hunt all sorts of vermin and they seem happy!

    I'm now thinking about getting barn cats, but there are a few questions to pose: What cat breed works best? Would older feral cats have better instincts than a kitten I raise myself? Would the cat pose as easy prey to hawks and coyotes? Would it want to live inside our house? How could we protect it from predators? How many cats should I get? Would the cats kill the local wild ducks? Would the cat be afraid of me?

    The cat's territory:
    Our property (aside from my residence) is 22 acres and persists of mostly fields, a large pond, and small strips of woods with the regular woodland predators and an occasional black lab that strays onto our land. This being said, our farm animals (rabbits and ducks) have never been attacked by them. Would barn cats thrive in this environment?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    A lot of people keep them but I'm so against barn cats or any domestic house cat to be allowed outdoors.
    You may end up with a good mouser or you may not. It is up to the individual cat.
    What you will get is a predator that will take a lot of beneficial native wildlife.

    A stairway to heaven rat trap works great and will take more rats than a cat can.
    You can google it because there are many versions but here's one.

    Snakes are also better at eliminating rats than cats because they can get down into the holes where the cat can't.
  3. lgyure85

    lgyure85 Chirping

    May 7, 2013
    Chattanooga, TN
    I do wildlife rehabilitation, and I can't even tell you how many owl pellets we have disected with cat bones. Hawks, owls, and coyotes will happily take a cat. I recommend encouraging the owls to come to your property, since your birds are in at night. Put up screech owl boxes, don't kill snakes, eliminate entrances, and store food more securely. Domestic cats are responsible for the extinction of over 25 species of bird, worldwide, and only need to nick the skin of their prey for infection to set in and kill it later.

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