RATS RATS EVERYWHERE!

equivix

In the Brooder
Jun 10, 2020
14
13
23
North East
Hi there,


I have an suburban coop with 4 hens. I've had them for about 6 weeks now and it's been great, EXCEPT FOR THE RATS!
I've caught sight of one or two over the last couple of weeks in the yard, and had no luck with snap traps, glue traps, zapper traps. Can't use poison here due to all the kids and pets around. Tonight I went out to close the hens in a little later than usual (past dark) and walked in on a rat fiesta! It was awful, saw at least 8 in the coop! NIGHTMARE. I am now thoroughly investigating the entire coop and blocking off any possible entry points with steel wool and/or hardware cloth tomorrow. I'm also going to go out and buy rat-proof feeders like in the photos attached I found in a local farm supply store - can't find any treadle feeders for less than $300 around here. Any other tips or advice to get rid of them!? URGH, I'm am SO creeped out!! Going to do a deep clean of everything when I solve the food source issue. What a mess!

To add, can hens carry disease from rats and transfer to their eggs?! Now I'm paranoid!
 

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Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,990
37,604
1,096
southern Michigan
Welcome!
Wild rats definitely need to be gone! They do eat eggs, can kill especially young or bantam chickens, and carry nasty diseases. And they are very smart, so generally only poison will get them all.
Your coop needs to have no openings anywhere larger than 1/2" diameter, and your run should be as good if at all possible. Excluding them, especially at night, is essential!
Pictures of your coop and run will be helpful, maybe we can see areas that you don't notice as problems. The rodents will also tunnel into the coop and run, and chew through wood to get inside.
All feed must be in metal containers, and you might want to put the feeders into metal containers overnight, at least for now.
Most rodents will return to their tunnels and die there if poisoned, and carefully placed bait stations may be your only option.
Stop feeding the wild birds, and no other food outside.
Mary
 

HippieAtHeart

Peace, Love & Chickens ✌️
Mar 22, 2020
441
540
181
Southeastern Pennsylvania
Sorry you’re having ho deal with this...rats are so creepy. My mom just had rats with their chickens and they made their way towards her house :thMy moms boyfriend was not playing around and went to poison because he tried everything else. He had poison traps though that were like squares...I’ll have to find what he used. Anyways I had come across a thread a while ago about using a tube with the poison baited in the middle so kids and pets can’t get toit and yet the rats love to tunnel through to it. You can try looking something Like that up. Here is one thread link https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rats-as-predators.500539/post-6367580 .
As far as the feeder goes I’m not sure, my mom just ended up putting it up higher so the chickens jump up to their food now which seems to work. Hopefully someone else can give good suggestions as well that help!
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,990
37,604
1,096
southern Michigan
A few years ago we had rats in the coop, who ate eggs and killed three nice bantam pullets overnight. They were living in the wall insulation that seemed like such a good idea. We ripped it all out and set bait stations in a closed off section of the coop, and outside it, and no more rats. We found two dead mice, and never saw any other rodents around.
You can trap mice, but rats are another story entirely.
Mary
 

equivix

In the Brooder
Jun 10, 2020
14
13
23
North East
Thanks everyone!
Unfortunately I really don't want to use poison, too high a risk of one of my dogs finding a dead poisoned rat and poisoning themselves by eating it!

I'll do my best to rat proof the coop, no chance of that with the run - it's too large to wrap the whole thing in 1/4" hardware cloth! I'll take food away at night and lock it up. And I'll hang those rat proof feeders. Baring that, the chickens will have to go.. I see no other options, I don't want to bring a rat problem to the house or to my neighbours!!!
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,990
37,604
1,096
southern Michigan
The rats are already there, just not noticed.
When we've used the bait stations, we confine out pets and supervise them so they can't get any possible rodents out there. Maybe two weeks or so, until the bait isn't disappearing any more.
Mary
 

equivix

In the Brooder
Jun 10, 2020
14
13
23
North East
The rats are already there, just not noticed.
When we've used the bait stations, we confine out pets and supervise them so they can't get any possible rodents out there. Maybe two weeks or so, until the bait isn't disappearing any more.
Mary

Sure, but if I can resolve it, then great, if not then I can't bring a sustained problem to their doorsteps. My neighbours also have pets, it's just not worth the risk.
 

equivix

In the Brooder
Jun 10, 2020
14
13
23
North East

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