Rats under coop & run

CMcGrath71

Chirping
Apr 26, 2020
29
45
54
Hi There,

I have a coop and run that are built on top of a 6 inch foundation of gravel, surrounded by a thick lumber frame. I have hardware cloth around the coop, between the coop and the ground and covering any holes/gaps. The run has 1/2 hardware cloth walls and a floor that is wood chips on top of the 6 inches of gravel below.

I recently had put a few bales of hay in the coop for the chickens to hop around on. But I noticed one of the strings holding the bale together had been chewed. When I moved the hay bales, I was horrified to see that there were tunnels through the gravel underneath them. I removed all the hay bales and sealed up the tunnels, but I am pretty positive that one or more rats are now living under the coop (the tunnels led back to under the coop)--my dog is sniffing like crazy around the edges.

I have grandpa's feeder, (which I think I need to do a better job of cleaning up around when I put the chickens up at night (they spill some around the edges), but I put all other food/scraps away in a metal bin. For the last week, I've had up a motion-sensor camera and a trap with peanut butter. I've not caught or seen anything. I thought I was doing all the right things. Apparently not.

Any suggestions? I think the rats are burrowing under the coop and run, but but don't know how to get them out. (The coop is not moveable). Also--who would think rats would tunnel through 6 inches of gravel???
IMG_8517.jpeg
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Sep 29, 2014
8,085
24,219
951
New Zealand
They are horridly tenacious little creatures. They can also carry red mites so you definitely don't want them hanging around.

I would put out bait stations as that is the fastest way to kill them. You can get boxes to put the bait in so that only the rats can access the poison. Just inspect the coop each morning just in case one has decided to die in your run. If you remove the water at night then the rats will go somewhere else to die as the poison makes them thirsty. It may take a few days for the rats to start eating the poison and you might have to try a few different brands before you find one they go crazy over, but it's worth it to get rid of the problem, especially if they have a nest of young ones under your coop.

Another thing you could do would be to block up all the holes (as there must be one outside your coop somewhere), stick the hose down one entrance and turn it on.

Hopefully someone else has some ideas about how to stop them accessing your coop and run. You may need to put a hardware cloth skirt around your coop and run to stop them being able to dig underneath.
 

Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
847
743
251
Oklahoma City
The grandpa feeder isn't rat proof at all. They had to make the lid light weight to make it safer for chickens and there is no spring loading on the lid so a rat can just push the lid up to eat. And it has that nice wide step to stand on while eating. And yeah, the sides are not enclosed so the birds rake out feed. Sad that you did the right thing and bought what was marketed as a rat proof feeder. This is why I tell people to do their homework and check around for honest reviews online.

If they have the affiliate sales warning or direct links back to Amazon the review isn't trustworthy. If they compare many different types of feeders instead of comparing treadle feeders to treadle feeders do not trust the review. Kind of like comparing axes to chainsaws, you know which one is faster at cutting down a tree. They are steering you to the product that they get paid to advertise. Even with no affiliate links most websites know where the traffic comes from and if they have an affiliate program you have a moral hazard to lie about a review.

You will find reviews out there. One site called chicken feeder reviews seems legit. I have seen quite a few personal blogs doing reviews on feeders and not trying to make a buck shilling affiliate sales. The Amazon reviews are usually good IF you pay attention to the negative reviews that will actually tell you if the feeder is rat proof or water proof. The positive reviews are so easy to fake. If you are an internet business you get plenty of spam emails offering reviews on Amazon, Ebay, or Facebook. You agree to refund their purchase price including shipping after they purchase and they post the review as a verified purchase customer. Then they sell the item in the unopened box.

I get probably one email a month from some small site telling me how wonderful my feeders are and wanting to "review" my feeder. I'm like "sure, go ahead." Then they ask for a free feeder and the affiliate link. Nope, not happening. Then "do you drop ship?" Nope, not happening. That is the last you hear from them.

Tunneling through gravel, well they can tunnel through concrete. Rats have to chew to keep their teeth worn down as they grown continuously. Only steel will stop them from chewing through a barrier. They need a hole the size of a quarter to get in, might check that lovely cupola on the roof to see if there are any gaps that large.

Fixes are limited as you have mostly done the right thing . I would return the Grandpa feeder if possible and buy one with a spring loaded door and an inward swinging door so that it is truly rat proof. Or put it up for sale on Ebay or I think they have a for sale formum on BYC. Traps work once or twice till the rats wise up. As you have found fencing them out is pretty hard to do. You have the area around the coop spotless, no where to hide, but if they are under the gravel and the coop they do not need to travel.
 

Weeg

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Jul 1, 2020
8,213
16,812
806
Small town in Western Washington
My Coop
My Coop
The grandpa feeder isn't rat proof at all. They had to make the lid light weight to make it safer for chickens and there is no spring loading on the lid so a rat can just push the lid up to eat. And it has that nice wide step to stand on while eating. And yeah, the sides are not enclosed so the birds rake out feed. Sad that you did the right thing and bought what was marketed as a rat proof feeder. This is why I tell people to do their homework and check around for honest reviews online.
Plenty of members on this thread say it has solved there rat problem, the grandpas feeder, here is a thread, look on page 12, 11, 9, and a few other posts on there too suggest a Grandpas feeder. Here is the best article ever to get rid of them, it has everything you need to know. I also HIGHLY suggest not using poison! The article has everything you need to know about the terrible affects of poison! https://backyardchickenproject.com/how-to-get-rid-of-rats-in-the-chicken-coop-the-definitive-guide/
 

Weeg

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Jul 1, 2020
8,213
16,812
806
Small town in Western Washington
My Coop
My Coop
They had to make the lid light weight to make it safer for chickens and there is no spring loading on the lid so a rat can just push the lid up to eat. And it has that nice wide step to stand on while eating. And yeah, the sides are not enclosed so the birds rake out feed. Sad that you did the right thing and bought what was marketed as a rat proof feeder.
Maybe the design was improved, but there is a screw, that latches into place to keep the lid closed. There is no way that is can be open, without using the rick that comes with the manual. The step is also not activated by rats, because only chickens are heavy enough. Most rocks I put on the pedal weren't have enough to prop it open. I thought my chickens to use it by propping the pedal open, and showing them how to eat. I had to use 4 racks before it would stay open, it takes a good amount of weight to open. The sides are enclosed, I can give you a picture of mine, and all it features to show you. I am assuming the version you are talking about is maybe a dud, or it has been upgraded since then. Mine works like a charm and everything is there as advertised. Hope this helps! Sorry your feeder didn't work for you @Al Gerhart
 

Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
847
743
251
Oklahoma City
Plenty of members on this thread say it has solved there rat problem, the grandpas feeder, here is a thread, look on page 12, 11, 9, and a few other posts on there too suggest a Grandpas feeder. Here is the best article ever to get rid of them, it has everything you need to know. I also HIGHLY suggest not using poison! The article has everything you need to know about the terrible affects of poison! https://backyardchickenproject.com/how-to-get-rid-of-rats-in-the-chicken-coop-the-definitive-guide/


I always say that if you have no rat problem the grandpa feeder will do fine. If you do have rats, not all the time. Because it is a very poor design that has not changed in ten years. Here are a bunch of people that agree with that statement, some of which would say I was being generous.

https://www.amazon.com/product-revi...e=all_reviews&pageNumber=1#reviews-filter-bar
 

Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
847
743
251
Oklahoma City
Maybe the design was improved, but there is a screw, that latches into place to keep the lid closed. There is no way that is can be open, without using the rick that comes with the manual. The step is also not activated by rats, because only chickens are heavy enough. Most rocks I put on the pedal weren't have enough to prop it open. I thought my chickens to use it by propping the pedal open, and showing them how to eat. I had to use 4 racks before it would stay open, it takes a good amount of weight to open. The sides are enclosed, I can give you a picture of mine, and all it features to show you. I am assuming the version you are talking about is maybe a dud, or it has been upgraded since then. Mine works like a charm and everything is there as advertised. Hope this helps! Sorry your feeder didn't work for you @Al Gerhart
It isn't the feed lid where you pour the feed in, it is the feed hopper the chickens eat out of. Rats can just push it open, even small chipmunks. Go through those negative reviews. As for the sides, my post was in reply to a person who stated that her grandpa had feed raked out of it all the time. Kind of hard to argue with that. ;) And no, there have been very little upgrades to the grandpa since I first saw one in 2010. However they have had to drop their price to about half what it once was due to the competition. They survive only because people know no better.
 

Weeg

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Jul 1, 2020
8,213
16,812
806
Small town in Western Washington
My Coop
My Coop
No comment. I suggest a rat proof treble feeder which is made of steel. You can buy which ever one you want, but, Grandpas feeder is what I suggest! I want to help the OP rather then decided which feeder is best. Read the article I suggested, it worked like a charm on my rat infestation! Hope it helps!
 

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