Rats

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by broostertherooster, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. broostertherooster

    broostertherooster Just Hatched

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    I have recently discovered rats in the hen house, which has me doing research on salmonella. If my chickens are infected with it, are the eggs infected? I have read that it's very rare for a chicken to pass it to the egg, but then I've also read that they can pass it on to their chicks. Do I need to worry about the eggs? I have read a lot of stories where people have rat and mouse problems, but not one story where they had to get rid of the flock. Fortunately, I'm having great success trapping them. I put out several traps and I catch one in each trap every time. Once I am no longer catching them, I'm going to spray out the coop with a bleach solution.
     
  2. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Any egg can have possible eColi or Salmonella. That is why the egg cartons instruct people to thoroughly cook all eggs, and the FDA recommends to not eat any foods with raw eggs (like cookie batter).

    The biggest threat from rats isn't the Salmonella. It is the parasites they bring into the flock like mites. They also can leave various diseases with the poop, so obviously you want to get rid of them and their poop.

    However, they can be a constant pest. I live in an area rift with rats which are a constant battle. I have eaten my eggs for years and sold them and given them to friends, and no one has gotten sick. Obviously that is not a scientific study. Obviously I do my best to keep my coops rodent free.

    Fortunately the egg shell itself has a protective coating that prevents bacterial infection. If it didn't, chick embryos would soon be overtaken long before their hatch on day 21.

    To prevent bacterial overgrowth in eggs, collect eggs frequently, at least twice a day, especially in hot weather, keep your nests full of clean bedding, and place collected eating eggs in a cool place. (Counter top works well if the bloom is left on the egg. Eggs can actually stay fresh at room temperature for almost 7 weeks if the bloom is intact.)

    Glad you are making headway with the rats. They are persistent pests.
    LofMc
     
  3. broostertherooster

    broostertherooster Just Hatched

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    Thank you. So, there is no reason to panic? I just read an article about people getting Salmonella from playing with their chickens, but it never mentioned the eggs. This leads me to believe that it's just a fact of life that chickens carry salmonella, but their eggs are still safe, other than the low percentage that can happen.


     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I had a rat issue this winter in my coop, and lost three nice bantam hens, and many eggs. Rotten little critters! They are now gone, but it wasn't good. Rats are very smart, and generally not very easy to trap. Mary
     
  5. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    You can get salmonella after touching a lot of things including public toilets.

    The habit of hand washing is your first defense.
     
    Wickedchicken6 likes this.
  6. broostertherooster

    broostertherooster Just Hatched

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    The black plastic snap traps are amazing. I put cracked corn in them and for the last few days have been getting a rat every few hours. They are so easy and generally don't require cleaning. Just put them back out. In a matter of 3 days, I got probably 25. I no longer see them, but some are still coming out - another 4 last night. Most of the big ones were caught. Now they seem to be mice. I plan to keep traps set all the time from now on.
     
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have become convinced that rats and mice in the coop is a big deal and for a less obvious reason than many might suspect.
    Game agencies claim that something like 90% plus of what some predators like weasels eat is rats, mice and similar furry rodents. So any large concentration of rats and mice is an attractant for weasels, who arrive for the rodents, but then discover the birds, and being opportunistic killers, easily transition to the birds and kill them too.

    So what attracts the rodents? Most likely it is the feed spilt by the birds. Or easily and freely available to them in the feeders. So trapping them is one way to thin the herd, but another way is to get control of the feed they eat so as to starve them out.

    I have had pretty good luck with a rat proof treadle feeder. My feed consumption may have been cut in half and no more spilt feed on the floor to attract the rodents. In my case, it was mice and since the RP feeder went in they have dispersed and are no longer hanging around the coop. My garden is a different story.
     
    lastco likes this.
  8. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    Which rat proof treadle feeder are you using?

    As one who is tired of feeding rats asks.
    LofMc
     
  9. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have this one:

    http://ratproofchickenfeeder.com/Medium-Ratproof-Chicken-Feeder_p_1.html

    Builder is an occasional poster on BYC, which is where I discovered them.

    Feeder I had before was a Little Giant. I'd say the two are about 90% similar as far as the feeder box is concerned. The Little Giant build quality is better. As such, my first impression of the RP was not too good, and was not encouraged by the birds response to it after I installed it. I was all set to write a negative review on it, but decided I should contact the builder first. Good thing I did. What followed was a series of emails exchanged, which clarified the instructions and after installing in a different manner, the birds all started using it. Feed consumption went way down (they were raking the feed out of the Little Giant........the design encourages it). Removal of the feed, along with cleaning out the old litter and old waste feed buried within it, meant the mice had nothing to live on and subsequently left.

    So while I was not happy with it when I unboxed it, and even less when the birds would not use it, now that I have it installed properly, the birds are using it and rodent problem has dried up, I am very happy with it.

    I would still be willing to do a review on the RP, but the changes in BYC posting methods has me perplexed. My gallery of images is gone. I hope the new process is not to post the same old images time and again. The old gallery method of uploading a photo once and referencing it time and again was brilliant. What I'm seeing so far is not.
     
    Lady of McCamley likes this.
  10. ukrkoz

    ukrkoz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With all due respect to rats life, they attack small birds. We lost 8 quails to them. I have no doubt they will get to baby chicks we have now, if they could, but we close them inside for the night and all my coops are now inaccessible to any rodent. Yet, I am still worried that a hungry rat may attack a chiclet.

    That said - I have a large run and neighbor behind the fence has several acres of wild meadow. We had rats coming in from his property before, he did something, it was OK for some time, now they are back. Barrows are popping in all 3 runs we have.

    I am setting traps for the night but so far, had no luck. Plugged barrows reopen at the morning. I tossed TomCat poison chunks behind the fence, neighbor has no animals, so maybe that will work eventually.

    But, we are generally in farmland, so what do you have a chicken safe method of ridding of rats successfully? As they WILL keep coming, no doubt.
     

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