Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rachp05, May 31, 2012.

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  1. rachp05

    rachp05 Hatching

    Mar 1, 2012
    Hello all! Ready for all the advice you can share! Thanks in advance! I have 6 fourteen week old hens that have more than happy in a coop we spent a great deal of effort working on, I did all my research, dug several inches down and placed sheet metal down around my coop to keep predators out. I guess we did not do enough, I have two larges holes daily in my coop that rats, possibly other rodents have dug under the sheet metal and eating my girls food! I have tried traps, and had no luck, I am hesitant to try poison because I have a lab that enjoys roaming the yard & although is pretty smart & I wouldn't think would mess with it, I am too afraid to take the risk. Recently, I have thought about evacuating the chickens for a week or so & bombing the food pail with poison & taking their source of feed away? My only concern is would it be safe to then move the girls back into the coop if this worked? The hens are getting close to laying age & would really like to fix this issue so I don't lose eggs or have to fear rats in the nest boxes when checking them. I have also read just tonight about putting peppermint oil around, is this safe for chickens??? Someone else also mentioned steel wool & I had no luck! HELLLLLLPPPPP! Please share any ideas to try, I am willing!
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  2. chickenfu

    chickenfu Chirping

    May 31, 2012
    SF Bay Area
    Rats are suspicious of anything new in their environment, and they also tend to travel the same ways every time. Observe to see where their trails are (look for the poop) and place snap traps there (unarmed and baited) for a week or so. Then you go to arming the traps once they are used to taking bait from them. Use something tasty and smelly like peanut butter and keep dogs and chickens away from areas where traps are deployed of course. It took a few weeks, but this is how I got rid of roof rats in my attic. I think you are right to be hesitant about using poison when you have any other animals around...and the rats might die somewhere inconvenient if you poison them. With the snap traps you can dispose.

    You could also try putting feed inside coop only (assuming they are locked up there at night) then stuffing all crevices with steel wool or copper mesh.
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  3. cary 1973

    cary 1973 Songster

    I have pet rats so I can tell u they are smart and probe solvers they know where food is so they will stop at nothing to get to it I would suggest take it away at night but what worries me is they are also meat eaters I'm affared they well go after your chicks. They will notbchew through steel whoop I'm going to suggest somthingbi never though I would I hatebthem and find it very cruel but in your situation needed Glue trapped are best and if a chick or dog gets it stuck to them mineroil will release it. But please if you catch rat don't let it suffer drowned it or release it in the woods don't let it die a slow death
  4. rachp05

    rachp05 Hatching

    Mar 1, 2012
    Thanks guys! Going to try the steel wool tomorrow night! I have been afraid to take the food away, because I don't want them after my chickens, it honestly doesn't bother me that bad, I'll buy them an extra **** bag of food if they would stay out of my coop! I just want my eggs safe when it comes time, I've worked too hard for them to take them from me!
  5. aggiemae

    aggiemae Songster

    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    I agree that fast kill traps are the safest and really most humane solution.

    If possible keep the food out of the coop so future rats won't have any reason to get in. It's best to deal with this now because, while rats can't smell eggs, getting rid of them will be harder if they happen to find eggs while they are stealing feed.

    Keep stored food in a sealed five gallon bucket and consider taking the feeder out of the run when the chickens are inside anyway.
  6. AlyK

    AlyK Hatching

    Jun 5, 2012
    Please, do not use glue traps! Mice and rats die slowly and painfully on these! They struggle, often resulting in the trap pulling their hair out or even breaking their bones while trying to escape. Quick kill snap traps are the easiest, more humane way. But, the "no-kill, humane" traps are also safe for around your other animals. They're more expensive ($15-30) but are reusable and nice to have on hand. You can set these up without the any danger of harming your other animals. If you do not wish to release the animal you can always opt to drown it within the trap in a bucket after it has been caught. However, I suggest releasing more than a mile away so it doesn't return.

    Good Luck!
  7. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Have you ever had rats? Release the suckers 1 mile away???? If you want to do poison, get a covered box to put it in. I have one that locks & only the rats crawl inside. Just one bite inside of it & rats go pretty quick.
  8. gabrielle1976

    gabrielle1976 Crowing

    Feb 21, 2009
    Columbia river gorge
    Makeing shure they cant get at the food and dont have lots of fun hideing and nesting places is the best way to control rats. Poison and other deadly things have just as much chance at hurting things that arnt rats as the rats themselves , the smart ones never eat the poison or stand on the traps to get whacked ect. Good luck with your problem .
  9. chestypuller

    chestypuller Chirping

    Mar 18, 2012
    kill the rat, dont release it to become some one elses problem. a pellet gun to the head does the trick easily or hammer to the head.
  10. coren66

    coren66 Hatching

    Jul 8, 2012
    Ugh...I am having the same problem and my husband is fearing that the rats will eventually make their way into our house and/or garage.

    I keep our chicken feed in tightly closed containers (cat liter containers) outside the coupe. The last few mornings I have opened the coop to find 3-6 small rats running around. They don't seem to be bothering my two hens, I think they have just found a place to rest. I do keep the hens feed container and their water in the coop. I have considered taking it out during the evening hours when I lock up the chickens but while reading this thread I saw that someone noted that rats may start attacking my hens if the food is gone.

    My coop is on the ground. We put chicken wire on the bottom and I put a tarp down on the floor to make it easier to clean. No surprise when the rats started chewing through the tarp to get back in. I would like to put poison in the hole that is outside the coop. It is behind the coop and my two dogs couldn't get back there. My fear is that if any of the rats die in the coop, will the chickens peck at the dead rat(s) or possibly eat them? I also fear that the rat(s) might die under the coop where I would have to move the coop which is close to impossible. (don't even want to think about the smell).

    I have to act fast, I don't want these guys multiplying anymore on my watch and my husband is threatening to get rid of the chickens because he feels they are the reason the rats are in our yard (not the creek or all the fruit trees in the neighborhood and our yard). Sure wish there was a quick fix to this.
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