rats in my chicken coop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kerrie1, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. kerrie1

    kerrie1 Hatching

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    Hi
    I wonder if anyone can tell me how to stop rats operating the treadle feeder I have for my chickens. It is supposed to be rodent proof and so I was sure that all would be fine. It is mettle and the chicken has to step on the foot plate to open the feeder to eat, it then closes again when they step off. A week ago however I saw that rats are standing on the foot plate to make it go down while the others eat the food! I am freaking out. I have put down traps and poison (not where the chickens can get to it of course) but nothing seems to be working. I have moved all food supplies in side the house so there is nothing for them to eat outside.
    I have since been feeding my chickens twice a day from a bowl. I wait until they have eaten and look uninterested then take it away. Now I'm worried they are hungry? can anyone help with both these issues please......

    thank you so much for your time.
     

  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Crowing

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    I had a lot of mice tunneling under ground in my 67 chicken pens eating the spilled food and raiding the hanging feeders---now that I have added some barn yard cats---and some more have been born and raised--about 12/15 now(had to find homes for some)----I never see a mice, nor a squirrel and no tunneling. Cats Can Not Help if they Can not get to them so Closing the coop at first dark(my feeders are Not in the coops---hanging/setting out side the coop)----opening the chicken yard---throwing a few pieces of cat food in the chicken yard to draw them to the area of the mice---speeds things up a lot.
     
  3. kerrie1

    kerrie1 Hatching

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    thank you for your reply but I only have 3 chickens and I dont really want a cat.
    Thank you for the suggestion though
     
  4. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Crowing

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    If you got rats standing on your feeder---enough to open it so others can eat------I am being Honest here----you need something----I would build a trap atleast that has a one way door----"IN only" with the feeder in it at night and catch some of these bad boys.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  5. kerrie1

    kerrie1 Hatching

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    Thanks
    I think I'm going to have to do something more than what I'm doing now. Trust me to get the smart buggers[​IMG]
     

  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

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    Whoa! You have a major rat infestation if you are seeing them doing this!

    Removing their access to the feeder will make them desperate, so you should manage to catch a few with the conventional sprung traps. I bait mine with peanut butter and pieces of carrot and find that very effective initially but they get wise to the traps once you catch a few. Obviously you need to put the traps where the chickens and other animals/birds cannot access them. Placing a heavy cardboard or plastic box/tote over them with one end chocked up enough for a rat to run underneath and something heavy on top to stop it being knocked/blown off is a simple method or leaning a piece of plywood against a wall to create a tunnel and putting the trap in there.
    Then I revert to wax poison blocks which I nail to laths of wood and place in pieces of old 3inch diameter pipe and put them up against the side of buildings....rats like to follow the line of a building when they are scuttling about at night, so these are the places to place traps and poison. I also have rat bait stations which will take either wax blocks or poisoned grain. I have yet to try a third option which is to make plaster of Paris/peanut butter balls. The idea is that you make a kind of pastry with peanut butter and flour, make little balls with it, poke a hole in them and pour a little plaster powder inside and then seal it up with peanut butter. The rats eat it and the moisture in their stomach starts the plaster working and then it sets inside them blocking their system. Again they need to be somewhere that other creatures cannot access them. Obviously the sprung trap is the most humane means of killing them but once they get wise, you have to use other options in rotation. There is another method with a bucket of soaking grain where the rats are lured up a ramp to the lip of the bucket, see/smell the grain and jump in only to drown. I've caught a couple of mice like that but no rats so far.
    If you have chickens, you will have a rat problem sooner or later. As a responsible chicken owner, it's important to tackle that for the sake of your chickens, your neighbours and yourselves. It is a recurring problem, so don't expect to ever fully sort it, just aim to control it and be vigilant once you have it under control.

    Good luck

    Barbara

    Barbara
     
  7. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Crowing

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    Do you have "rats" or Mice? Must be big rats for them to stand on the feeder leaver and open it.
     
  8. Al Gerhart

    Al Gerhart Chirping

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    A very late reply but just in case it is one of my feeders, is the spring on the door still there? Once or twice we have heard of rats mobbing our feeders but it has always been in an extreme situation where there were dozens or hundreds of rats but even then the feeder killed the rats by the dozen as they got trapped behind the door. Usually the rats will refuse to use the feeder once it has killed a bunch of rats even if the feeder was washed out with cholorox. With a spring in place rats aren't likely to push the door open but you said they were sitting on the foot plate and allowing the other rats to eat.

    If it is one of my feeders and the spring is still in place put a kink in the spring to shorten the spring to make it harder to open. If the spring is long gone order a replacement spring so that it will take four or five big rats to depress the treadle. $6.00 for three including $3.62 for the cost of mailing.

    If it isn't one of my feeders and is the wide treadle type, well that is why we learned quickly in our testing phase to keep the treadle narrow and distant. See if you can trim the existing treadle plate down, trim off the closest 6" so the bird has to reach forward to eat. Be sure that the treadle bottoms out on something so the bird isn't wobbling around trying to balance on a narrow treadle though.
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    Rats will also kill small chickens, and eat lots of eggs.
    You can set some traps, but only poison will kill them all. set up the bait stations so only rodents can get into them, and plan to use a different bait after a week or three.
    Then do your best to rat proof your coop!
    Put dead rats and mice in the trash, don't throw them outside for other critters to be poisoned.
    Good luck!
    Mary
     
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  10. melandstacy29

    melandstacy29 In the Brooder

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