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Rats

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by oldcityhenhouse, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. oldcityhenhouse

    oldcityhenhouse New Egg

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    I have found rats around my hens, probably eating the food AND have not had eggs in three days. Are the rats capable of stealing the 3 eggs a day or are the hens upset.
    I have cats and want to bait the rats and not hurt my cats what is the best way to rid them
     
  2. cnicho05

    cnicho05 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,

    It's quite possible your hens have had their eggs stolen. Rat's can be a common problem depending on your location and the setup of your coop/run. Due to a number of variables rats can be attracted to chicken food, eggs, water or a combination of the three.

    To resolve the problem I would suggest the following steps...

    1.) Using a leaf blower try to blow away all the feed which drops onto the ground before the start of each evening. Evenings and nights are the most common times when rats become a problem.

    2.) Remove the feeders during the night to keep rats out of that location...as they can transmit illness to your chickens if they are not completely clean. Just don't forget to add the feeders back each morning...

    3.) Invest in a pellet gun to get rid of the rats you already have. Most often rats won't leave a location which has food, water and shelter...and since poison is out of the question you will want to get rid of the rats in a safe and sure method. If you don't like the idea of using a pellet gun you can always purchase alternative traps however these can be questionable when dealing with the elements (outside).
     
  3. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't use any poison bate, since chickens and cats will eat eat carcasses. Just use conventional rat traps.

    Your hens may be molting, or laying less eggs because the days are shorter, like mine.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
  4. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    The key to suppressing rat populations is good house/barn keeping. Do not stack objects against walls. Don't feed chickens on ground but rather in trough feeders. Pick up feeders every night. If you are seeing lots of leftover feed in troughs, or on the ground, you are feeding too much. Water receptacles should also be removed at night so rats do not have a water source. Feed should be stored in steel cans in a cool, dry place. Poison bait chunks placed on rods within lockable box traps cannot be removed, and rats have to enter boxes to feed:
    http://www.motomco.com/poultry.html

    It is good to scout the area every so often for dead rats when using bait chunks to prevent flies and curious animals. These are bait boxes I use:
    http://www.tomcat.com/smg/goprod/to...g-resistant-refillable-station)/prod11150046/

    It is a good idea to change bait every 6 months or so to keep rats interested in feeding. So long as no other source of food is available to them, they will feed upon the bait and lactating females will kill the young in the nests.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Get new cats...cats that will kill rats??

    Seriously, why aren't the cats keeping the rats in check?

    Maybe stop feeding the cats...so they will eat the rats?
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2014
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Most cats won't tackle an adult rat, but may take on babies. The barn cat's job is to manage mice! When I had an obvious rat problem, my birds and other critters went into lockdown, and I set out bait (third generation warfarin type) for about a week. When the bait stations stayed full, they were removed. Three days later my birds, cats, etc, were out again. No more rats, and I actually never saw a body. I had tries traps with no luck. Rats are really smart! Mary
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    What does 3rd generation mean?

    I always worried about the wrong animal finding a poisoned rodent carcass and eating it and being sickened or dying from it.
     
  8. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    Metal phosphide rat baits, such as zinc phosphide, are considered single dose effective that became alternatives to the anti-coagulant baits like warfarin. Death of the animal occurs within 1-2 days. The reaction of the phosphide to the acid in the stomach of the rat releases the highly toxic phosphide gas. Zinc phosphide based bait exudes an unpleasant odor similar to garlic which is attractive to the rats, but which tends to repel other mammals, making it safer for pets and non-target wildlife. Phosphides are not known to accumulate in the tissues of the dead rats, so the incidence of secondary poisoning is diminished.

    I think open containers, bait pellets which can be spread from place to place, are what often poisons the family dog or children. Cats tend to be uninterested in a dead animal since they prefer to play with living things. Many things happen due to irresponsibility, and I've never had problems using bait chunks and stations. I don't leave doors unlocked or bait stations in areas where other animals have access to them. There is an allen screw which prevents bait boxes from being opened without a wrench. Since rats tend to come in the barn during the colder season, all they have access to is the bait station for feeding. When they die, that is where I will find one, and they are removed as soon as they are found.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I believe any poison bate stations you buy these days will be third gen. Of course, the reason is that it's supposed to be safer than the likes of strychnine. However, after my favorite hen died suddenly (one day after finding a dead mouse in the driveway), I did a lot of online research into secondary poisonings in birds, and what I found wasn't that reassuring. It is less lethal, but I think not enough testing has been done. While it may only take a small amount of poison to kill a mouse--less than would be lethal to a chicken--who's to say the mouse didn't gorge itself full of it, and leave undigested amounts in its stomach? And rats are a lot bigger...

    So I'm sticking with old school mouse traps and multi-catch stations. I put poison bate inside the multi-catch stations so that the mice don't starve to death in there, but no poisoned mice should be roaming outside to die this way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    That's why I had all my critters locked down when I used the bait, so none of them would get to a poisoned rodent. Warfarin type baits are actually less of a risk for death for dogs because there is a treatment that works pretty well, and time to administer the antidote often. Other baits are much more likely to cause death in pets because they do kill faster, and the phosphide will also poison people trying to save the pet. I much prefer live traps, myself, but have never caught a rat that way. Mary
     

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