Rats

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by bluesilkies4ever, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. bluesilkies4ever

    bluesilkies4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2009
    Victor, NY
    someone told me that when you have chickens, you have rats. is this true? if so, how can i get rid of them?
     
  2. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    I have had chickens for two years and no rats.
     
  3. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    It's pretty close to the truth. Rats are almost everywhere (urban or rural). But, they are opportunistic. Meaning, where there's a source of food/water/shelter they will move in close and reproduce right there. Eventually, there will be enough rats to notice them. That doesn't mean you would "suddenly" have rats. It means they have reproduced to numbers high enough that you see them (or see their evidence).

    Removing food/water/shelter or making it hard for them to get at it (and killing them or destroying their nests at the same time) and their numbers will decrease around your place. Most of the remaining will probably move to the closest place nearby where there is easier access.
     
  4. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    It all depends on how you construct your coop and run, whether you have them already, and how you do your feed and storage.

    Do not build the coop too low to the ground as that is the first place that appeals to a rat, mouse, ferret, skunk, mink, weasel, or snake. Make it tall enough for see-through visibility and no junk or anything for nest material underneath. You can close off access to it with hardware cloth mesh to keep pests and chickens out. Coop should be constructed so as to be able to be closed up tight except for ventilation which should be up high and permanent and on more than one wall. Likewise the run should be so constructed as to discourage or prevent tunneling and climbing. I would recommend 2x4 welded wire 6 ft tall, set in cement, like I did. Then go over that with hardware cloth mesh from ground to ht of 3 ft. Alternative is to run the welded wire out a foot or so, like a skirt all around, and bury it to stop tunneling. Electrify the run and gate with a fence charger. Keep food in hard bins and put away. Feed only inside the coop to keep food out of site of squirrels, starlings, crows, ravens, and all 4 footed critters too.

    That will do it. And that way, no other preds can enter to slaughter your flock either.[​IMG]
     
  5. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    Quote:100% agree with this. We have the feeder inside the henhouse and, so far, even when our chickens are free-ranging and the run door is open, no wild critters come inside. And we have a lot of wild birds and squirrels. I think it's what gsim said.... they can't see the food, 'cuz, once in the run, they'd have to go through the pop door and into the henhouse to find it. However, someone I know has the same setup as ours, but they have an infestation of rats and I think it's because of a couple things: 1) their henhouse is up on concrete piers, but it's only about 5" from the ground, providing a dark hidden shelter for rats, and 2) they sometimes "forget" to shut their run door at night which leaves the chickens vulnerable to predators of course, but also, it has provided rats with a chance to help themselves to the feeder all night long. Of course, knowing about the feed has made the rats hungry to get inside during the day, too.

    Our henhouse has a plywood floor and is up on 12" concrete piers, the walls are plywood and 1/2" hardware cloth. The run attaches to the henhouse and is covered entirely in 1/2" hardware cloth (including hardware cloth stapled to the bottom of the run which is buried down about 10" in the earth). I've tried to make sure no holes are more than 1/2" in size. We keep their feed inside or in our garage in aluminum garbage cans. Although, I'm not kidding myself that we don't have rats. I'm sure we do. We just try, as much as we can, to make it as uninviting as possible for them to set up their burrows and raise new generations of rats. When the chickens eat a treat of sunflower seeds or some such thing in the run, I'm sure they scratch and kick some of it, through the hardware cloth, outside where rats can get to it. And I've heard that rats will eat chicken droppings; so, when my chickens free-range... there you go. [​IMG] Anyway, just try to learn all you can about rats' habits and know what their burrows and what their droppings look like. Then do everything you can to prevent them from finding an invitation in your place. That's all you can do.
     
  6. Ibicella

    Ibicella Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 13, 2009
    Everett, WA
    Rats are everywhere regardless. If you have good upkeep, you're not likely to have a problem with rats. Prevention is THE best way manage rats.

    * Raised coops with wooden floors, at least a foot or so off the ground. If your chickens can fit under it, so much the better! Chickens are only too happy to chase after a rat or a mouse for a tasty meal.

    * Keep all brush and trees trimmed back. Rats will avoid running out in the open if they do not have to.

    * Do not allow trees to overhang buildings. Rats actually spend a lot of time in trees, are quite arboreal, and often use trees and bushes to climb into buildings.

    * Keep all feed swept up and kept in airtight containers (metal trash cans are good for this). Put the cans on stands or racks to keep anything from burrowing beneath them.

    * Keep your property clear of wood piles, trash piles, rock piles, old cars/equipment, and clutter.

    * Store supplies or materials off the floor as much as possible. Elevate lumber and firewood at least 18 inches and store it away from your house and barn.

    * Inspect your coop and home regularly for rat entry points. Rats can squeeze through openings only 1/2" across and can easily chew that open within only a few moments. Keep all holes blocked and fixed as soon as you find them. Don't forget hard-to-access areas and areas that tend to be neglected or that you don't go near often. Check corners of doors and buildings, vents, pipe/wall entries, exhausts, roof tiles, and gaps between walls and framing.

    * Keep your buildings in good repair. Rats are able to smell "weak" spots in rotting wood and metal and they will exploit that. They are able to chew through lead pipes, but will generally not bother with spots that are going to be more trouble than they are worth. Solid building is way more trouble than it's worth.

    * If you have a barn, consider adopting a couple of barn cats deemed unsuitable for homes.

    * If you find evidence of rats, clean the area with good soap or spray cleaner and water. It's a good idea especially to do this to your metal feed cans now and again. Rats are pretty much blind, they rely on urine markings to give them directions for themselves and their colony. Erase those, and you will disorient the rats at least for a couple of days.


    Summary: Keep clean, no piles, no hiding places, no holes, no food = no rats.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  7. chickeypeep101

    chickeypeep101 the Awesome Pullet

    Jul 23, 2009
    On a horse!
    I have never noticed rats. The worst we have ever gotten was a fat dead mouse and nothing after that.
     
  8. chicachic

    chicachic Out Of The Brooder

    [​IMG]
    Rats are a good subject...I was wondering if anyone else had any. I used to have rat holes under my coop and it creeped me out. I lined the outside bottom of the coop and ten inches up the back and sides with hardware clothe, stored the food in metal trashcans at night and raked all the debris away from the housing and fencing. I have not seen any signs of rats since. My neighbor and I each have a dog that patrols the area now so I'm sure that helps!!
     

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