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Rats eating chickens food....

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by katkan16, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. katkan16

    katkan16 New Egg

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    Hi all, we are having a rat problem in our hen house. I know all of the traditional ways of getting rid of rats: live traps, glue traps, poison, etc...We have tried live traps and so far no luck. They are so touchy that if the chickens so much as brush them they trip and since we have to put them near the hens food......well you can see the problem. Glue traps are awful as they trap the rat and then they starve to death...ugh. The same issue presents itself with poison. Notwithstanding my personal moral issues with poisoning any animals, the rats live under the coop and it's hot out in Portland right now; I can't have rotting rats underneath my chickens in the middle of summer.
    Does anyone have other suggestions? This seems like it would be a common problem since rats/mice love the free, easy source of good food. Anything is appreciated!
     
  2. kidcody

    kidcody Overrun With Chickens

    Rats are a big problem when chicken food is around, I've had to place the traps up high (so the chickens don't touch) and the rats are so smart they were able to set off the traps and not get caught so I super glued a small stack of corn on the trap and it has worked every time!
     
  3. NC29mom

    NC29mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just FYI...not only will they eat your chicken feed................they will eat your chicks....and chickens. I speak from experience. We had a horrible mouse infestation. Paid to have them eliminated by commerical poisoning. THought we had gotten them all...........but we didn't. I lost several chicks, and still aren't sure if we killed him or not yet. The chickens have been placed in another location. The pest control dude told me mice will have babies ALL YEAR LONG when they have access to a good location with endless food. They were living under our barn and had access to the food. Even when we put the food in plastic containers and picked up all feeders at the end of the day..............they would still manage to find food in the runs where the chickens would spill it out of feeders when eating.

    I hope your situation gets under control. It can be a complete nightmare.
     
  4. vclark321

    vclark321 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live near a couple of sources of water and I have seen rats on the fence in my yard and the dogs had 1 trapped under the doghouse one night. They killed it the next night, then the crows took what was left. My next door neighbor kows he has rats in his woodpile, but his wife won't let him use poison because she is afraid the squirrels will get it. I feed wild birds and chickens and I can't pick up every grain they scatter to the 4 corners. Rats only live about 2 years and will breed very large numbers of litters, which will then do the same and before you know it, rat over population and you and the chickens are outnumbered!

    I have had pet rats and I enjoyed them very much. They are clean and very smart. Wild rats carry disease causing fleas, ticks and bacteria and viruses. They survive on instincts and have no 'rules'. Your food, baby chicks and anything they might go after is fair game. Poison a few now or 100's later. I like the idea of gluing the corn on the trap. If that is easier. Remember, it is you and the chickens against the rats.

    While I agree with you about feelings regarding the infliction of harm on anything, a little perspective is needed. You are not randomly torturing for fun and entertainment. You are not inflicting pain 'just to see' what happens. You are defending your birds from potential danger and controling rat populations before they do significant damage. Good luck.
     
  5. katkan16

    katkan16 New Egg

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    Dec 13, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Hi guys, thanks for your replies! I had never heard that rats could cause your chickens so much harm. When we just had mice they used to sleep with the chickens and it seemed they were all pals. We would go in the coop at night and as soon as we shone a light on the birds the mice would go scampering. The chickens didn't seem to mind them around. I'm still not sure if what we have now are mice or rats but when I put an at-least-mice-sized live trap out the food would disappear but the trap would be tripped, which only a larger animal could accomplish. Also our dogs have killed a few rats in the yard this year. Will they live together under the coop? I thought it would be one or the other.
    Even if I could bring myself to put down poison (which, honestly, is more appealing every day) I'm worried that the rats will just crawl back under the coop and rot there. It's been really hot here and the coop is directly next to our garden and work shed. I'm worried about the smell, how it will effect the chickens, and if it will attract any predators. So far, in the 2 years since we have had the chickens, we have had zero issue with predators and I don't want to start encouraging them. It's not really possible to get under the coop either....
     
  6. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    A dairy I once worked at had a real rat problem. There were rats everywhere. My boss got something called pitch paks (sp). I don't know if they still make them. It was rat bait in these little bags and you threw them around where necessary. The rats were all gone in a very short period of time and never came back. To have any real effect you have to get them ALL. Traps and glue strips simply aren't going to do it. Poison is really your only option. You can throw it under the coop where they are. As for the dead rats smelling up the hen house, nothing lasts forever. Not even the smell.
     
  7. NC29mom

    NC29mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Exactly! We got commercial grade poison (warfarin resistant) from our pest control man. The only thing was the poison has a funny smell...to me anyway. The smell from the dead mice didn't last long, a few days max (maybe that's what the smell was....). We have put more out in hopes of getting our rat. I think it's something you have to do around the year, and all of the time. Just when you think youve gotten them all......................................
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  8. katkan16

    katkan16 New Egg

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    Dec 13, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Do you guys think that predators will not be a problem? We live by several green belts and there are TONS of possums, racoons, weasels, etc. in the area. The guy we bought our chickens from, who lives right down the road, told us that predators are a big problem around here. Because of that we built our coop super predator-proof and have so far had no issues, so I don't want to feel like I'm inviting them in. Do you think that the rank smell could be an issue at all?
     
  9. NC29mom

    NC29mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Nope! Put the poison out & forget about the smell. PROMISE...it won't last as long as you think OR be as bad as you think. To me, the only smell I smelled was a chemical type smell. Just make sure you have the perimeter of your barn boarded up so your chickens don't go under the barn (and get into poison). My fiance threw the poison under the barn AND drilled 3 small holes in the floor in the center & dropped the poison down. We corked the holes in the floor. Then he boarded the barn up all the way around and we packed wet sand to ensure nothing could get through. I think because we did that, the odor wasn't too bad. It's not gonna smell like a dead animal like you would think. And, we probably had 50 mice we killed with the posion. I'm guessing 50 based on all the droppings we would find.

    Don't forget mice & rats carry a lot of dangerous diseases. And, chickens will eat anything. If A mouse happens to bite one of your chickens while they are sleeping, just because the bite doesn't kill them, doesn't mean the chicken won't eventually die from some disease contracted from the bite.

    **Oh.......BTW........I also made sure I swept the barn very good for about a week after we started the poison. I would put more shavings over the area they roost just to ensure none of my chickens had the bright idea of eating the mice droppings. The poison we used was in red blocks (commercial grade). I noticed the droppings turned green right after the poison was placed. Only took about 3-4 days then I started noticing NO MORE DROPPINGS!!!! WOOO HOOO! Unfortunatly, now they are back. So, it's gonna be an ongoing thing I'm guessing. But, we live in the sticks......surrounded by farm land......

    GOOD LUCK!
     
  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I guess I got lucky, but I somehow managed to build a coop/run that is relatively rat proof. And another one for my silkies. The food is always there. A few weeks ago I found rat droppings in the silkie food bowl. I inspected their coop for areas of entry. I found it. No more droppings.

    The coop/runs are so tight that I can see if some rat has gotten by somehow, and put an end to it.
    The other suggestion is to put the food away at night. The more food they find, the more they multiply.
     

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