Rats! Rats! Rats!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by BinaryChicken, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. BinaryChicken

    BinaryChicken Songster


    So I have a rat problem.
    Last year during the winter we had a rat problem too, about 40 or 50 of them, they were all living inside my aviary. We trapped many, and managed to poison others, but in the end had to resort to transferring all the birds to another aviary to remove all feed from the aviary where the rats were and be able to poison them effectively without harming any birds.
    This year a few rats have come again, and we want to stop them now before the breed, so as to avoid last years situation.
    We have tried trapping (in closed boxes and out in the open), minor poisoning( we could only do so much with the birds around) and other forms of poisoning such as yams.
    I have read that chickens are supposed to be fairly good predators when it comes to small rodents, but mine just ignore the rats.
    We were also considering the idea of a cat, has anyone had a cat in with chickens in an enclose coop?
    Any other ideas would be appreciated!

  2. HenriettaBB

    HenriettaBB In the Brooder

    Sep 14, 2014
    A cat sounds like a good idea! My dads getting one to keep the stupid chipmunks under control.:)
  3. BinaryChicken

    BinaryChicken Songster

    But it would need to be within the aviary with the birds, what I'm worried abut is that it would harm the birds whether or not it exterminated the rats.
  4. Tamara119

    Tamara119 Songster

    Jul 14, 2012
    Bariloche, Patagonia
    I'm glad you had the space to move your birds last year. Although chickens will catch and eat mice, the rats are too big for them. A cat won't be a problem for adult chickens, but both it and the rats are a problem for chicks (if you raise chicks). I have only ever had one rat, and I let it stay because it was actually kinda cute (nice and healthy from all the perfectly balanced feed it was getting)! However, last spring I lost a chick to a predator, and I blamed it on the small hawks around. Then I lost another. Then one day I was in the coop and heard a chick screaming, and I turned around in time to see the rat with the chick in its mouth, running into its burrow. The hen ran over, but it was too late. There were no feathers, no evidence of the crime. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't have known. Anyhow, from that day on it was war on the rat, and he was too smart for poison and traps (he had collected the poison cubes and put them in a corner of his burrow system safely out of reach). Once we pulled up the plywood floor and the rat raced out, my husband and I chased it around until we finally caught it. So, I wish you luck, and if you get rats too smart for poison or traps I hope you can find a good hunting cat. Failing that, your previous solution may be the best.
  5. BinaryChicken

    BinaryChicken Songster

    I haven't had any problems with chicks, as I raise mine in the summer and by now they are all large, and in the summer the rat population seems to move elsewhere.
    My flock is mostly bantams though, including 2 Seramas, would they be in danger from a cat?
  6. Tamara119

    Tamara119 Songster

    Jul 14, 2012
    Bariloche, Patagonia
    I love my cat dearly, but I wouldn't trust her around my 2 1/2 month old chicks; I'm always there to watch her. I don't care if she, or the neighbour's cat go into the coop when there are only adults though (standard breeds). Personally, I would't trust a cat around bantams, especially Seramas. It might depend on the cat though, but if you want a cat brave enough to hunt full-sized rats, Seramas would likely be fair game as well.
  7. BinaryChicken

    BinaryChicken Songster

    We don't actually own a cat, but we have many stray ones in the neighbourhood that we could probably get into the aviary, but if you wouldn't trust your cat around bantams, I definitely wouldn't trust a stray one.

    Any other ideas for dealing with the rats?
  8. gawildlife

    gawildlife Chirping

    Nov 3, 2014
    Hampton, GA
    Terrible idea. Feral and barn cats kill millions of native songbirds every year plus preying on mammals other than harmful rodents. In my world there is no reason for a free ranging cat.
  9. Naser

    Naser Songster

    Oct 29, 2014
    Other things I can think of are:
    Youtube: rodent bucket trap
    Jack russell dogs
    Rat proof feeders: Wright feeder, treadle feeder or Grandpa's feeder
    If you see a burrow, find the other exits in the area and put birds net on them, then put water hose in one of them, the rats will come out running, will got caught in the net, kill them with something before they manage to free themselves of the net.
  10. Tamara119

    Tamara119 Songster

    Jul 14, 2012
    Bariloche, Patagonia
    Oh! Jack Russell Terriers are a great idea!
    1 person likes this.

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