Al Gerhart

Songster
Sep 29, 2011
641
559
231
Oklahoma City
I think they are an off shoot of Grandpa's Feeder from Australia. I see the same problem. Hen flicking feed out of the trough.

I had the cardboard idea as soon as they are empty I will work on that idea, Can't believe we agree on something. LOL

I hate plastic the water in them gets algae. I don't want to put ACV in every time. Or should I?
Yeah, the trough is too shallow, no front lip or just not enough height between the feed and the feed lip that ought to be extending out 90 degrees to prevent raking. Have you tried laying some chicken wire on top the feed and making the chickens peck for their feed?

Water, one thing that metal water cans do is put off a bit of oxides or sulfates that can help with some forms of algae. I wonder if you could lay some bare copper wire in the water trough or just a coil of it in the water jug? A chicken coop has some interesting chemistry going on with all the ammonia in the air and ground, plain old copper wire might decompose a bit, usually a copper oxide but I can see with any ammonia present you might get some copper sulfate which is an excellent algaecide. It isn't very bio available though so your birds would be fine.
 

dazza1965

Songster
Dec 29, 2013
67
15
101
I got a rat issue too. Was interested in your comments about ex-lax and potato flakes.
Willing to try it. But has it got rid of the rats? Either by death or they go else where?
I live semi rural area. I think they come into my garden into my duck run steal the food and store it under my decking. Not seen any nests. I also recommend dont have artificial grass. They burrow under it. Iv tried poison and traps.
Last winter and spring they were there and now back again. No issues in the summer. Hibernation time for them I guess.
Reluctant to use poison as it's a slow death for them and a risk a duck might eat a bit. Front garden I get plenty of cats but they dont go into back garden for feast on rats 🤣
 

WindingRoad

Songster
Nov 21, 2018
1,369
2,481
243
Maine
I got a rat issue too. Was interested in your comments about ex-lax and potato flakes.
Willing to try it. But has it got rid of the rats? Either by death or they go else where?
I live semi rural area. I think they come into my garden into my duck run steal the food and store it under my decking. Not seen any nests. I also recommend dont have artificial grass. They burrow under it. Iv tried poison and traps.
Last winter and spring they were there and now back again. No issues in the summer. Hibernation time for them I guess.
Reluctant to use poison as it's a slow death for them and a risk a duck might eat a bit. Front garden I get plenty of cats but they dont go into back garden for feast on rats 🤣
First off rats don't hibernate. The ex-lax they ate for a couple of days and then stopped eating. I know I must have at least 10-20 rats. They are living under my coop. It is off the ground with 2 pavers at corners and middle section of the 4 walls. 8x12. So a pretty big coop. IF we ever get another stimulus check I'm gonna move the coop onto a 4 inch deep concrete pad. The biggest problem with rats is that they DIG. I have so many large rocks in my run.

I haven't found a poison yet that will work. My neighbor had skunks in one of his sheds leading to the barn. I don't mind skunks. They didn't bother my chickens and they are supposed to eat rats. Yeah right. But I haven't smelled them this year so I think he either dispatched them or they got caught in a neighbors garage.

My chickens are chickens. They watch the rats run through the run and do nothing. If the rats happen to get into the coop they run out of the coop enmass squaking and flapping their wings. They are afraid of them. So much for chickens being predators.

I have found 2 dead rats in my endeavor to eradicate them.
Gonna try D-con next. I'm also gonna try the PVC piping method of feeding. I have 13 birds and will make the double opening ones. google is your friend.

I might make a bucket trap but they'll figure it out quickly.

I have a friend who has a backhoe. Gonna get him to dig a trench and put down hard wire cloth all around run and coop. The only problem with that is in the spring my birds love to eat the grass on the other side of the fence. Just put their heads through and munch.

Yeah cats aren't helpful for rats. They like something they can overpower such as mice. I don't have them.

Good luck with finding something that works. Share your findings with us. Thanks and good luck.
 

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,821
3,776
286
Missouri
Couple observations......forget the backhoe and burying wire. Studies have shown rats can and will dig down as far as 8 feet or more to go under a vertical wall.....so will just tunnel under.

There are about 6 to 8 different commercial rat bait formulas....sold under various brand names......and under the right conditions, they all work. The right conditions are present when they have limited to no access to alternative feeds and are forced to consume the baits. What happens after that is a hotly debated topic, generally revolving around the risk of secondary poisoning....i.e, pet, raptor, etc. eats dead rat and poison kills them. If you believe that to be true, you won't use it and will be highly critical of anybody who does. If you don't believe that to be true, you do use it, rats tend to disappear and life goes on....but again, this requires limited access to whatever it is they are eating now, or else why switch from a familiar food to a poison bait block? Tests have shown that female rats will actually test a new food on their babies before they will eat it.

Getting back to limiting access to feed......if you are able to successfully pull that off, rats will be forced to leave.....or starve. I can recall a few stories from last summer where major rat migrations were being reported in major cities amid covid mandated restaurant shut downs. Rat colonies that had been living off restaurant food waste in dumpsters were starving and on the move.

True rat proofing of a large structure like a chicken house built of wood scraps is hard to do. If they can't find an opening, they will make one. Cement floors work....and metal works.....they can't chew through metal. So to limit access to feed requires metal storage containers, metal feeders. That is where the rat proof feeder comes into play. There is no waste or spilt feed, plus chickens have access to feed on demand, rats never......and can't chew their way in. either.

In summary, dealing with rats revolves around 3 basic concepts. Sanitation.....limiting access to feed and water........Exclusion........rat proofing and elimination of their housing options......and if those two fail, Elimination. Where most folks fail is to start with Elimination, which is a recipe for failure, as Elimination is almost impossible without the first two being in place.
 

WindingRoad

Songster
Nov 21, 2018
1,369
2,481
243
Maine
Couple observations......forget the backhoe and burying wire. Studies have shown rats can and will dig down as far as 8 feet or more to go under a vertical wall.....so will just tunnel under.

There are about 6 to 8 different commercial rat bait formulas....sold under various brand names......and under the right conditions, they all work. The right conditions are present when they have limited to no access to alternative feeds and are forced to consume the baits. What happens after that is a hotly debated topic, generally revolving around the risk of secondary poisoning....i.e, pet, raptor, etc. eats dead rat and poison kills them. If you believe that to be true, you won't use it and will be highly critical of anybody who does. If you don't believe that to be true, you do use it, rats tend to disappear and life goes on....but again, this requires limited access to whatever it is they are eating now, or else why switch from a familiar food to a poison bait block? Tests have shown that female rats will actually test a new food on their babies before they will eat it.

Getting back to limiting access to feed......if you are able to successfully pull that off, rats will be forced to leave.....or starve. I can recall a few stories from last summer where major rat migrations were being reported in major cities amid covid mandated restaurant shut downs. Rat colonies that had been living off restaurant food waste in dumpsters were starving and on the move.

True rat proofing of a large structure like a chicken house built of wood scraps is hard to do. If they can't find an opening, they will make one. Cement floors work....and metal works.....they can't chew through metal. So to limit access to feed requires metal storage containers, metal feeders. That is where the rat proof feeder comes into play. There is no waste or spilt feed, plus chickens have access to feed on demand, rats never......and can't chew their way in. either.

In summary, dealing with rats revolves around 3 basic concepts. Sanitation.....limiting access to feed and water........Exclusion........rat proofing and elimination of their housing options......and if those two fail, Elimination. Where most folks fail is to start with Elimination, which is a recipe for failure, as Elimination is almost impossible without the first two being in place.
Please read my posts before touting metal containers for feed. I have 6 of them and I put my shavings in some and also my nest box straw. I empty all waterers at night. The rats are coming out during the day time and eating chicken feed that has been flicked out of feeders. And drinking water. They will eat the cat food and I'm about to ask my doc to write me a prescription for Warfarin. They are living under my off the ground coop and scurry under at the first sight of me. They are getting feed in the coop also. Seems to me there must be some smart person who could build a flick proof feeder.
Limiting feed is not the answer. They don't eat much. You can't have one pellet on the ground because they will find it. They don't hibernate so winter is not going to get rid of them. I have had chickens for 3 summers and this is the first time I've had rats. My neighbors lost their chickens and I believe this is where I got rats from. Besides I live lest that 200 feet from a major River. Ever here of river rats.
 

WindingRoad

Songster
Nov 21, 2018
1,369
2,481
243
Maine
Yeah, the trough is too shallow, no front lip or just not enough height between the feed and the feed lip that ought to be extending out 90 degrees to prevent raking. Have you tried laying some chicken wire on top the feed and making the chickens peck for their feed?

Water, one thing that metal water cans do is put off a bit of oxides or sulfates that can help with some forms of algae. I wonder if you could lay some bare copper wire in the water trough or just a coil of it in the water jug? A chicken coop has some interesting chemistry going on with all the ammonia in the air and ground, plain old copper wire might decompose a bit, usually a copper oxide but I can see with any ammonia present you might get some copper sulfate which is an excellent algaecide. It isn't very bio available though so your birds would be fine.
The trough is not too shallow. A full size rat can sleep in there. It's like 7-8 inches deep. If you would read what I've written you would see how they flick it out. Again, for the cheap seats, the birds eat in a corner and flick the food away as they do that it piles up and over flows the trough. Pretty easy concept if chickens have figured it out.

ETA: deep litter and PDZ work wonders and I won't have anyone breaking into my coop to steel copper wire. They do it all the time on new construction homes and locked up like Fort Knox.
 

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