Rats-need ideas how to store wood less attractively

Al Gerhart

Songster
8 Years
Sep 29, 2011
546
502
221
Oklahoma City
Hi, Al. I have wondered about your sheet metal feeder. Do you fold all the edges that could cut the chickens?
The only edge that isn't seamed (folded) is the front side vertical edges and we de burr them so they are not sharp. Why? Because folding them means the door doesn't close as tightly as it can with a flat edge that has been de burred. I would imagine that a rooster could catch a comb on the edge, anything is possible. We have a saying in Oklahoma, farm animals are never completely safe around moving equipment or Oklahoma state senators.

As I have said earlier, I am being forced into making a batch of feeders here in the U.S. due to the Chinese virus problem. Can't travel to visit or supervise, my overseas shop was closed for months due to the lock down, even the supply chains are still in turmoil over there. I am going to try seaming those two front vertical edges and putting the top front cover on the outside of the feeder. I am also taking the chance to do a redesign to see if I can shrink some of the wasted space in the feeder in an effort to get the shipping box down in size while still holding 26 pounds of feed. Shipping has gotten outrageous, nearly double what it was when I first started selling feeders in 2011.

And I am trying to work in some changes that will allow the basic feeder to be modified with a drop cam latch that totally locks the feeder door, you simply cannot push the door open without destroying the entire feeder. That is gonna be expensive and reserved for those folks with bad squirrel problems. The squirrels can learn to use the treadle if there are enough of them and if they will cooperate but I have an idea that cooperating won't last long if it ever happens. I have the locking system pretty much perfected but the cost of making it needs reduced so I am hoping a redesign will help with that. It won't be an add on feature like the soft close, pretty much a factory job to fit the mechanism and there will be some trade offs like knowing that if the mechanism failed it will fail in the locked position which isn't the best. Gonna be for special situations where there is no option and you won't want to go on vacation and not have someone check on the flock. Might do some wear testing, motorize the door and see how many cycles till the latch cable breaks, then warn people to replace the cable before x number of months or years. If anyone has a game camera on their feeder I would love to know how many times a day the average feeder gets opened and closed.
 

Birdielee

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
730
1,038
143
North Plainfield, NJ USA
@Al Gerhart, I want to stick another idea in your thinktank. A daytime henhouse door that excludes rats, but allows for chicken entry and exit. Maybe only for large, grown fowl. It could be propped open or deactivated when chicks are being raised.
But a bantam option would be awesome, since the treadle feeders don't work so well for them. Then the feed could be safely offered indoors. If it were designed based on weight, i suppose you'd have the same problem as with the treadle feeder, but maybe not. I'm sure you've thought about many possibilities relating to hens and their weights and ways to open doors. Great that you're working on a redesign.
I did see a post from someone where a roo cut his comb and injured his pride. Think that was one of your feeders, but I'm not sure. I didn't quite understand if it got cut on the bottom of the door, or what.

Glad you continue to work out the kinks. 👍🏼👍🏼
 
Last edited:

Al Gerhart

Songster
8 Years
Sep 29, 2011
546
502
221
Oklahoma City
Statistically anything can happen and will happen with thousands of these feeders in use. I would love to have heard from this person and had some pictures of the feeder as it was installed. I do know that a lot of people will try to leave the treadle up off the ground and birds will try to wobble around and balance while trying to use the feeder. In that kind of scenario I can see anything happening. But, people don't like reading instructions and worse, they interpret the instructions to fit their idea or how they think the feeder ought to be installed. I have literally seen the feeders hung two feet off the ground on a wall.

Interesting idea on a door like that but attempting to exclude mice or rats is a fool's errand. Rats have to chew constantly or die from their teeth growing into their skulls, they want to chew, then need to chew, if you could make a door to keep them out they would find another way inside.
 

Birdielee

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
730
1,038
143
North Plainfield, NJ USA
. I would love to have heard from this person and had some pictures of the feeder as it was installed
I think it was recent, and you were involved in the thread. I think.
It's the only injury I've heard of. I wondered since if it is possible for the bird to get caught or cut by the door or the bottom horizontal edge of the opening. So hearing that the vertical edges of the opening are the only non seamed edges is good.
 

Al Gerhart

Songster
8 Years
Sep 29, 2011
546
502
221
Oklahoma City
I don't think that that person ever replied as to whose feeder it was. The door is safe, on either side the feeder returns back to stiffen the door and even those edges are seamed, so is the bottom seam and the lip. A bird would have to slip and fall to get caught which is why we tell people to bottom out that treadle. It he was reaching in from the side and not using the treadle he would just get pushed out of the way. I always tell people that are worried about that to get the soft close so the bird has a few seconds to get out of the way.
 

colette04

In the Brooder
Jul 25, 2020
23
25
26
Southern New Jersey
Oh the rats will quickly adapt and eat during daylight hours. Hens might kill a mouse, not a rat, most cats won't take on a full grown rat. The story that I told about the basket ball size hole full of rats, that happened right in the middle of the day. Now you probably won't catch rats going out into open territory during the day unless they are starving and have no choice but with some cover nearby, they will happily eat your feed whenever it is available.

How long till they move on? How big is your garden?:(

That is the thing I learned about selling these feeders. People wait till they are overrun before realizing that they cannot trap or poison their way out of a rat problem. I have heard stories of building foundations settling due to the tunneling, cars being damaged, house wires chewed, and of course exhausting all other methods before solving their problems by buying a good feeder. By the time they resort to a rat proof feeder they are at wits end. This year though there have been a ton of new flock owners buying feeders when they buy their chicks, figuring there will be a run on feeders like there was on chicks and even feed.
what exactly is a rat proof feeder? I used to feed our chickens on a small tray twice a day, then I purchased this new one that you can fill up and has small egg sized holes all the way around for the chix to eat. Im guessing the rat i saw tonight in the run is fond of the food they find. I still have no idea how the rat got in the run, its sealed with chicken wire all the way around and the floor and roof.
 

Al Gerhart

Songster
8 Years
Sep 29, 2011
546
502
221
Oklahoma City
what exactly is a rat proof feeder? I used to feed our chickens on a small tray twice a day, then I purchased this new one that you can fill up and has small egg sized holes all the way around for the chix to eat. Im guessing the rat i saw tonight in the run is fond of the food they find. I still have no idea how the rat got in the run, its sealed with chicken wire all the way around and the floor and roof.
Look to the left please. :)

It is nearly impossible to fence out rats and mice. And the saying is if you see one you have a hundred, rats are usually very good at staying out of sight and staying alive. So feeders like that are cheap to purchase but the hidden cost is that they allow the feed to be stolen and past the cost of the feed the rodents or wild birds are bringing in lice, mites, and plenty of disease organisms. Plus the rodents bring the natural predators that eat rodents and chickens and eggs. If you are feeding chicks, no real way to protect the food. Hand feed what they will clean up in five minutes and feed often. That sucks, usually people start out with chickens and do not have a problem for awhile. Eventually, you are gonna deal with rodents. Secure the feed in a proper feeder, try to build Ft. Knox ala chicken coop, or spend money from now on on poison and traps. But yeah, if you have chicks or bantams with no larger birds, a bit tougher stopping rats.
 

Birdielee

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
730
1,038
143
North Plainfield, NJ USA
Rat traffic in my hen house. You can even see tail trails, gentle s's.
I started combing the floor out crosshatched to see how much traffic and where they go. Now I don't leave food in there during the day, and i even shut the pop door some days.
There have been days where there was no rat traffic. With door open and no food. I'm trying to teach the rats that there's nothing to find in the henhouse.

My hen was starving, so I'm feeding the rats a little more.
Treadle feeder still in my future.
 

Attachments

Birdielee

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
730
1,038
143
North Plainfield, NJ USA
Before anyone jumps on me, I'm feeding the hen. Just elsewhere. I was feeding her just 2 or 3 times a day, but she wasn't getting enough to eat. Now I'm leaving feed out for her most of the day, but far from the henhouse.
 

Birdielee

Songster
Apr 8, 2020
730
1,038
143
North Plainfield, NJ USA
Question: do raccoons, skunks, opossums, etc eat chicken feed?
If so, where people put the treadle feeder if they use an outdoor one? Or is there a lock point so it can be set to not open at night?

@Al Gerhart where do i find your feeder again? Does it have a brand name?
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom