Rats-But where are they coming from?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by meadrian, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. meadrian

    meadrian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My husband and I have covered every inch of our WIR, sealed up even the tiniest cracks and still I find rat dropping in the morning. (I do take the food in at night, but there's always a pellet or two on the ground. I have no idea where they're coming from. Can the possibly fit through the 1/4 inch hardware cloth? That's the only thing we can thing of. Any ideas?
     
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mice can fit through 1/4 inch openings, I've read. Is it possible that your culprit is hiding somewhere in or under your coop, too? You may need to set a chicken safe mouse trap.
     
  3. meadrian

    meadrian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    By the size of the droppings (1/4 - 1/2 inch) they should be rats. We thought maybe mice, too, but the droppings seem too big. We have small rats. They're about 5-6 inches long.

    The base of the run has hardware cloth first, then concrete blocks on top of that. (Thinking of this very thing when we built it.)
     
  4. meadrian

    meadrian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you suggest some chicken safe traps?
     
  5. Doormantnt

    Doormantnt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had, actually am having the same issue.

    I have a wired, roofed, sealed with buried 12" deep hardware cloth and have seen and caught rats within it at night.

    I have a sand base of about 8 inches, and they are tunneling under it. and building dens within the run it self, under the waterer, under the roosting logs, under anything, actually under the timbers the run is built off of.

    My solution is to set rat traps....looks like your normal mouse trap but all grown up. When the ladies get locked up at night in the coop (which has not been invaded to my knowledge) I set out 6-8 traps in my run that is bout 20 x 10.

    The only thing is when I let the girls out in the morning, I have to trip, and pick up all the traps, and set them back out the next night.

    Check for soft spots in your run, may be tunnels, and they might not be coming in, they may already be home.

    Good luck

    TNT
     
  6. classless chickens

    classless chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agree ^ check for tunnels [​IMG]
     
  7. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm always amazed at how clever mice/rats can be. They seem to be able to chew holes and squeeze through anything.

    Here's an idea you might try for a poison-free, no-snap trap for them. Set it outside the coop where your chickens can't get into it...the rats will come out for it. Get a 5 gal. bucket, fill it halfway with water, dump in enough BOSS to cover the surface of the water thoroughly so that it looks like the bucket is full of seed, the BOSS will float. Put a board or some other ramp up against the bucket so they can come on up. They'll jump in thinking they're about to feast, but instead they'll drown.

    Of course, be careful if you have young children running around. Maybe only set it up at night in that case.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  8. meadrian

    meadrian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the suggestions! I'll look for tunnels, but I'm pretty sure they can't get thru via the base of the run. I have 1/4 inch hardware cloth down first, cement blocks on top of that. The hardware cloth comes about 1 foot past the base and I have bricks all the way around as well. But I"ll look for tunnels. If I find one that'll give me more information.[​IMG] I just hope I find it soon. I'm actually going out side at night with a flashlight, covering the light and sneaking up to the run to see if I can see anything. So far they're not out there when I am.
     
  9. meadrian

    meadrian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dormantnt - How are the rats getting through the hardware cloth on the bottom of the run? Do they actually get through it and then nest inside?
     
  10. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

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    A rat can chew through hardware cloth fairly easily. I had one chew through a homemade live trap that the sides were made of hardware cloth.

    I haven't seen a sign of a rat or mouse here since last Spring. Barbara, our outside cat, is a hunting machine.

    Matt
     

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