Rats

CountryHeart06

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 24, 2014
66
4
51
Chesapeake, VA
Is there an effective way to deal with rats? My husband told me we had a couple. Well last night I went out to place some fertilized eggs under my broody and there were more than a couple! I've had some mysterious chicken deaths as well and I'm wondering if the rats weren't a factor!
 

Birdinhand

Crowing
May 23, 2016
1,113
1,764
277
Pacific Northwest
rats, IMHO, are the common denominator by which every aspect of my coop is built. keep out the rats and you keep our all else. the main solution is using hardware cloth, which really should be called the true chicken wire. the entire coop is enveloped in it, two feet down into the ground. there is not a hole anywhere that an adult rat can get it's head through. you will always have a few rats lingering around, that's no biggy, it's when the females get unfettered access to food that you can have a rat explosion which can really go badly for a variety of reasons. if you don't want to go the hardware cloth route or can't right away, then make sure that the chicken food is not accessible at night, metal cans for storage and perhaps only feed what the chickens can eat each day. out in nature the population is kept in check by predators and a limited food supply whereas in the coop, there are no predators and an unlimited supply of food. two rats can become a thousand rats in just six months and they inevitably try and find a way in your house. it happened to a friend, an exterminator pulled out over 100 rats from their basement walls... it was a disaster.

poison doesn't work all that well and often takes unintended victims. snap traps work well, the black plastic kind are easiest to set and less intimidating all the way around. I'd start with 10, bait with peanut butter mixed with chicken food and put them all over the place at night, closing the hens in their inner coop till you can remove them in the morning or place them outside where you know they get in to the coop. hit them hard and consistently to get the population down before they start multiplying like rabbits and once you have them under control, go all out a couple of times a year with traps to try and keep them at bay. if you get to the point where the rats know what the traps look like and won't take the bate, then I'd recommend taking a different approach where you stop using bait and instead use the traps as snares, placing them in spots where they run between hiding places. it takes a little study of their nature but it works, if placed properly, the rats will run across the traps and get caught. I don't mean to sound so intense about it, but I do recommend taking them seriously, and if you design well for them, you will virtually eliminate the chance of coons and other predators as well.
 

aldarita

Songster
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Aug 2, 2012
659
228
221
Brenham TX
Birdinhands has very good points. You need to resolve your rat problem before those eggs you put under the broody hatch otherwise you won't have any chick left
 

Hybridchucks

Queen Of The Coop
5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
4,342
16,062
842
Burdsville
My Coop
My Coop
My mum thought there was a LARGE pile of poop in the coop, while she was "mucking out"... but she screamed when she found out that it was a rat without a head! Mine girls had pecked its head OFF!! GROSS!!!!! I do not like rats, neither do my chooks!
 

cacknballs

Songster
Apr 4, 2017
197
164
111
Republic of Tejas
My Coop
My Coop
Is there an effective way to deal with rats? My husband told me we had a couple. Well last night I went out to place some fertilized eggs under my broody and there were more than a couple! I've had some mysterious chicken deaths as well and I'm wondering if the rats weren't a factor!



lead poisoning works best. i've found this to be very effective:

https://www.pjsarmory.com/product-p/ccishotshell22lr.htm

whatever you do, don't put warfarin out.
 

Cindy in PA

Crowing
13 Years
Jul 8, 2008
2,768
1,149
421
Fleetwood, PA
The only luck I have ever had is with Tomcat bait stations & I keep one in the run against the coop all the time. I use the Just One Bite new stuff. I hate it, but I have never had a problem with dead rats laying around. They can't get in the coop, but have been under over the years. Good luck.
 

cacknballs

Songster
Apr 4, 2017
197
164
111
Republic of Tejas
My Coop
My Coop
The only luck I have ever had is with Tomcat bait stations & I keep one in the run against the coop all the time. I use the Just One Bite new stuff. I hate it, but I have never had a problem with dead rats laying around. They can't get in the coop, but have been under over the years. Good luck.
you don't find the rats because the warfarin causes them to hemorarrhage internally. as they leak blood they become dehydrated and thirsty, and they leave to seek out water.

the only problem with warfarin is that when other animals find the rats and eat them or the body decomposes, the chemical makes it's way into the wild environment and can take a toll on other animals.

i'd offer a different solution...used a live animal trap to catch the vermin, then simply submerge the whole trap in a pond, pool, garbage can, pail, etc full of water for 3-5 minutes, then just dump the carcass in the trash or set it out where the buzzards will find it.
 

Mr Stitch

In the Brooder
Sep 3, 2015
18
4
44
Oakland, CA
Our neighborhood has a huge rat problem, especially since someone has spent the last few years shooting all the cats (so mine now live in the house full time). We are using a combination of snap traps and Rat-X, plus two of our dogs do their best to chase them off. Rats are the worst pest I've ever encountered. At night we turn over the chickens food and water so the rats have nothing to snack on. We close the hens up at night but their yard is accessible. We also have to be careful with our rabbits. The rats terrorize them and eat the babies. We now have an indoor rabbit nursery because of them. I've been stepping up my game on this over the last week and am hoping to get them under control here soon.
 

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