Rats and Mice

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Bluerosesd, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. Bluerosesd

    Bluerosesd Chirping

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    A friend of ours that has chickens told us to watch for rats and mice. He said that chickens draw them like a kid to a candy store. Is this true? I have cats here and one is a predator and will bring in the occasional rabbit, squirrel, ground squirrel, or bird. Will he keep the mice down or is this something I will need to keep watch for? He is a Main Coon cat and weighs about 18 pounds last I weighed him. He is HUGE so if it were rats I am sure he could handle them. We are going to use the heavy duty wire for our coop and run to keep him and deter raccoons and opossums. putting our feed in metal trash cans with the lid tied down because we had an opossum get in our dog food once lol
     
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  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

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    Poultry feed is base on grain and grain as an attractant to rodents. Preventing spillage of your feed and making the feed inaccessible to the rodents both in how you store it and the feeders that you use will drastically reduce the attraction factor. Depending on the structure of your co-op and run you can also addressed the issue of access. This is important to consider because if a rat can access your co-op and run so can other predators who could do potential harm to your flock
     
  3. Bluerosesd

    Bluerosesd Chirping

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    Feb 20, 2018
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    Was going to do something like this so I assuming it would attract them. I may have to scratch this idea and only put feed out when feeding
     

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  4. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

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    Hopefully your cat can handle it. Last summer I was new to chickens. The prairie dogs and voles thrived. They were everywhere. I'm not sure if my chickens attracted more than usual or I just was more vigilant and annoyed that I seemed to be feeding the neighborhood rodents and going through way more chicken food than I should and watching my vegetable garden be eaten by rodents before I could harvest it for myself. It was so much so that I brought home an outdoor cat to take care of the problem. In peak time he caught something almost every time I sent him out. We'll see how this next summer goes.
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    Your cat should be a big help, but many cats won't tackle adult rats. Your plan sounds good so far. I have feed available in my coop all the time, but never feed outside, and lock things up every night.
    Chickens attract predators of every sort!!!
    Mary
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    I would not leave feed out over night. I use fermented feed. That is one of the greatest deterrents to rodent issues. If the birds have not eaten it all by the end of the day, I bring it in, or shut it up in their broody section of the coop. Yes, you have to be on the alert for rodent issues. And I find this to be true whether you have poultry or not. Last summer, I had my first dealings with rats (excluding an issue about 35 years ago). Horse farms about 1/4 mile away. Gardening can also be an attractant.
     
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  7. X_and_Z

    X_and_Z Chirping

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    It has been so for me*. I use 1/2" 16 gauge wire to protect my girls/their food - anything with larger holes will allow rats/adult mice in. Baby mice can squeeze through the 1/2" though - 1/4" is more reliable for mice but it is not enough to deter raccoons. If I had larger predators I would have a double layer of heavy duty livestock fencing + the 1/2".

    My feed is stored in metal trash cans with locking lids. My girls feeders are either in their enclosed, predator proof, run or in a rodent proof treadle feeder.

    My chickens are good mousers, but are only active during the day. I also have traps and am doing serious consideration in regards to poison (risks to pets and my own chickens that will eat the poisoned rodents is something I am concerned about). There are multiple local cats, possums and skunks** - they don't seem to be able to keep up.

    *There are other factors at work as well. We had flooding in a nearby creek last year and that seems to have chased the wildlife from the riparian corridor into the surrounding neighborhoods.

    **Both possums and skunks eat mice and rats...and chickens
     
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  8. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    A must in my opinion is using hardware cloth to build an "apron" around everything (coop and run) to prevent rats from even trying to dig in.
     
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  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Rats also eat mice.
     
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  10. imnukensc

    imnukensc Crowing

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    I leave feed out 24/7 in a feeder very similar to what you posted in #3 and have no problems with rats and mice. I have a cat that is an absolute murderess except for the chickens. They've already let her know who is boss.
     
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