Small Burrowing Animal getting into coop

4H Amy

In the Brooder
8 Years
Feb 8, 2011
34
3
22
I have a coop that sits on the ground but has fencing attached to the bottom as flooring. I then put a 2" layer of pine shavings on top of the fencing, and that is where I keep my 4 turkeys. One of the hens just started laying eggs about 3 weeks ago.

Shortly after I noticed holes around the outside of the coop. This morning when I opened the door there was a tunnel that was dug under the door and the opening was inside of the coop with lots of fresh dirt spread out everywhere inside, like it was digging back out of the coop.

The hole is a little larger than a one dollar coin. I thought maybe a snake at first but now that I saw all of the dirt sprayed everywhere inside I know it has to be a furry little critter.

Anyone have any idea of what this may be?
 

gg706

Songster
8 Years
Jul 5, 2011
1,309
82
158
mouse? I didn't think that they could dig that far...But if food is scarce they may try. Now that something has gotten in , and probably gotten food what are you going to do to stop it?
 

Frosty

Crowing
13 Years
Mar 30, 2008
2,926
145
321
ND
Mice do dig, and so do moles, voles, etc... So do rats. But rat holes that I have seen are about 2 1/2". My mother went around the outside of her house and buried 1/4" mesh to keep mice out of her house. Now and then one manages to get in and she goes around outside to find the hole they dug and fill it in. She lives in an old farm house (late 1800's we think) and gets one or two mice a year.
 

4H Amy

In the Brooder
8 Years
Feb 8, 2011
34
3
22
I was just reading another thread on BYC and it was all about the various predators in our coops. Anyway, it sounds like it may be a rat. Apparently, they dig in and take the eggs, whole, and roll them out.

My turkeys aren't even supposed to be around right now, they did not make weight before Thanksgiving when I processed the other 3. I have just put off processing these last 4 until now because it has been too cold. So I don't want to do anything that will cost too much.

We just finished reflooring our kitchen and there are a few sheets of laun outside that are going to the dump. I think I am going to slide a few of them under the coop and then attach them so that there is a barrier.

I am up for better ideas if anyone has one.
 

Frosty

Crowing
13 Years
Mar 30, 2008
2,926
145
321
ND
Rats can chew through linoleum, and would love it if you put a floor down. Then they will proceed to dig tunnels everywhere under there and you will know it because you'll feel the floor give when you walk on it. I had a digger in my turkey house a few years ago and suspected rats but didn't see them when the holes were showing up. It was the only building that my cats couldn't get into, and had rubber strips about 6" wide and 3/4" thick covering the floor (I think it was conveyor belts). The strips were butted up against each other, the gaps were 1/2" or less. I was seeing piles of dirt thrown on top of the mats and holes by the wall. The floor started feeling 'spongy' when I walked on it. I would go out at night, but never saw anything. Then one day I found a half eaten rat in the barn, apparently the cats got one and took it in there. Not long after I walked in after dark to take care of the turkeys as usual, flashlight in hand, and there were at least a dozen rats in there and they just stopped and stared at me. I spent quite a few nights out there, flashlight in one hand and a pellet gun in the other. I had about 15 confirmed kills (ones that I had the body there) and several unconfirmed (they were in the hole bleeding and another rat filled in the hole by throwing dirt from under ground). Then we started getting a lot of rain and the floor turned to mud to I moved the turkeys out and with the mud and lack of food, the rats disappeared.

Good luck, they can be a pain to get rid of!
 

4H Amy

In the Brooder
8 Years
Feb 8, 2011
34
3
22
Oh Wow! Frosty! Now you have literally scared the bejeebers out of me. I am not a fan of any rodent, rats are the worst of the bunch. Can't imagine them staring at me in the dark. It is too cold here in Maryland to sit out there with a gun although I have thought about setting some traps outside of the building after I lock the birds up at night.

SimplyLogan, I have the coop sitting on the bare ground. The only material between my turkeys and the dirt is some fencing that I attached to the bottom of the coop with pine shavings thrown on top to keep them warm and so they don't trip on the fencing. I don't have any wood out there yet, I am thinking about it though. I want to do something today, I don't want anymore rats in there, they carry too many diseases and turkeys are disease magnets from what I am told.

I would keep the turkeys in my other coops with my chickens but the turkeys don't behave themselves.
 

fishman65

Songster
10 Years
Apr 18, 2009
479
6
131
flat rock
sounds like moles...they dig underground and leave a little mountain trail....they leave a little hole when they come up for air...as far as i know they are harmless to the birds but they can erode your ground very quick...they sell mole traps on ebay and at tsc...
 

TheSpiceGirls

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 6, 2010
2,566
332
271
Bay Area, CA
Don't wait till you have a problem to deal w/ rodents. Because they WILL come. There's just no way to keep all the feed at bay.

I've had good success with an electric rat zapper. Only drawback, is that it has to be kept dry. But it's pretty easy to hide under a pot or other place to keep the hens away from it.

Sticky traps work really well too. Especially, if you know right where you are getting rodent traffic. You can just lay them out or put a few seeds in the middle of it to attract them. Again, you'll want to put them away from your hens so they don't get stuck.

And I've also put out peanut butter/plaster of paris balls. Those are easy to toss into ivy, juniper and other shrubs where they like to hike.

I just leave a mix of these out all the time and nab something about once a month. If I stop, then I start to notice activity again.
 

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