Rats in the Hen House!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by pommom, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. pommom

    pommom New Egg

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    My friends and I share six chickens. They live at my friends house as they have the coop on their property. The other day, my friend found a large rat in the coop and they've noticed some droppings. The chickens have moved outside and haven't touched their food. They've been eating the goat food. So today, they are going to close up the hen house door so only a rat can get through, and put some snap traps in the coop to catch the rats. Is there anything we can do to keep the rats out? The coop is kept clean, the food is in a hanging feeder (though it's low enough for a rat to get into so we we'll have to raise it). The property boarders a swampy area and I know they live out there because I've seen their tunnels.

    This happened last year with my friends' last flock. The chickens moved out and got so stressed, they started eating their eggs and then my friends had to cull the whole flock. Very sad. I don't want that to happen to my girls. They're only 22 weeks and just started laying a week or so ago.

    Any suggestions? Thanks!!
     
  2. Rats pee everywhere they go. I believe they are incontinent and thus leave a bad smell everywhere they travel. Thus your chickens want no part of their nastiness. If they get near your feed it will cause problems.

    Traps, Pellet guns, Barn Cats can all help you out.

    Wish ya the best.
     
  3. animals1981

    animals1981 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    also hens and roosters should attack them during the day at least, well some do
     
  4. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to deal with tiny mice, lots of them. The mice chew up plastic cups at night in the cages I have set up. If I had rats, I would definitely put a couple of barn cats out there, not just one. You have the right idea with traps & closing the barn up but more will come. You need a more permanent solution and that is why I suggest the barn cats. Some dogs are natural ratters too. I had a Miniature Pinscher that would catch and kill rats and mice. It seemed to be a natural instinct with him. He died at 16.5 years of age in 2007. There are other breeds that were bred for this purpose.

    I don't believe you can hang your feeders high enough that a rat cannot get up in there. I found this true with even mice. I bring in all my feeders at night (and now the plastic cups) & put out each morning in an effort not to feed the mice, which is very labor intensive.

    Rats are in a league of their own. Chickens catch and eat mice but large rats are too big & too smart to be caught, killed and eaten by a chicken.
     

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