The Rats Are Back

Mother of Chooks

Chirping
Aug 14, 2017
15
52
75
Queensland
Welp, with the beginning of spring the rats are trying to move back into my chicken coop once again as they do every year. Normally in the past, we've had to resort to your traditional rat-traps to get rid of the adults and then catching the baby ones and disposing of them ourselves. We plan on completely sealing off the sides of the coop, but unfortunately, we don't have the time to do it at the moment so I'm looking for any other suggestions for keeping them away?

Currently, they're not permanent 'residents' just yet, so I'd really appreciate any ideas or experience people may have when it comes to deterring them. We're removing the feed every night so they don't have any food and I've been chasing them off when I go out to lock the chickens away, but because they're able to hide down the side of the run my dog can't catch them because she's far too large to fit in there.

Thank you all in advance <3
 

DiYMama540

Crossing the Road
Jun 25, 2019
3,942
22,804
822
SW VA
My Coop
Terrier breeds of dogs are excellent small animal hunters! You could add one to your family! :) Also cats do a great job at dispatching anything smaller than them.

I have both at my house, (terrier and cat), and rats, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, etc. have never been a problem.

Shelters are usually loaded with cats, and you may even get lucky enough to find a terrier in need of a forever home!
 

Al Gerhart

Songster
Sep 29, 2011
626
543
231
Oklahoma City
Welp, with the beginning of spring the rats are trying to move back into my chicken coop once again as they do every year. Normally in the past, we've had to resort to your traditional rat-traps to get rid of the adults and then catching the baby ones and disposing of them ourselves. We plan on completely sealing off the sides of the coop, but unfortunately, we don't have the time to do it at the moment so I'm looking for any other suggestions for keeping them away?

Currently, they're not permanent 'residents' just yet, so I'd really appreciate any ideas or experience people may have when it comes to deterring them. We're removing the feed every night so they don't have any food and I've been chasing them off when I go out to lock the chickens away, but because they're able to hide down the side of the run my dog can't catch them because she's far too large to fit in there.

Thank you all in advance <3
Love this post as it reminds all of us what Howard E. has tried to pound into our brains. There are three steps to control rats, sanitation, exclusion, extermination. Do the first and you rarely have to resort to the other two.

Trapping goes on each year. If the bulk feed is in metal bins and you had bought a treadle feeder last year the rats wouldn't be back this year. At the most you might have had to buy a replacement spring or a wire link. No rats, no problems, no need to worry.

Removing the feed at night just means the rats will eat their fill during the day and they will carry some back to their dens. Out in the open ground they would worry about predators like hawks, not so in your coop, they are safe.

Buy a treadle feeder with a spring loaded door so the rats don't just push the door open. Make sure it has a heavy counterweight. Make sure the treadle is narrow and distant so they cannot overwhelm it with numbers. Secure it to the wall, make sure the treadle can bottom out on something so it doesn't wobble when a chicken stands on it, and forget about the rats because they will leave in a few days.

Problem solved now, not coming back up next year or the year after. If you keep the feeder up out of the muck and poo it is going to last for many years, if not you will be patching the bottom in a few years.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
24,326
15,554
751
Florida
My Coop
One of my coops was so overrun I resorted to poison. I tried the water bucket, traps, but there were just too many. When I started to renovate the coop dozens came out of all sizes. Way too many to trap. I had see a couple in our barn which is behind the coops. I resorted to poison. I also bought a couple of rat bait boxes so nothing but the rats and mice could get to the bait and there is a little window above the bait so I could check it daily. Surprisingly for the number of rats that came out I only found a couple of dead rats that I disposed of. I had noticed some tunnels around the infested coop and figured they were made by the rats. I think that most of the rats went down into their tunnels and died. It worked. As time went on the baits were touched less and less. I'm sure a rat may try to move in but the bait boxes are always loaded. That was just my choice of how to get rid of them. Good luck...
 

ducks4you

Songster
11 Years
Jan 20, 2009
1,572
74
236
East Central Illinois
I just lost my whole flock to a weasel--recent post on this forum--BUT, I survived rats living under and digging tunnels under and around my coop.
A few years ago we had neighbors who, unbeknownst to me NEVER had a garbage service!! They put all of their trash in their garage!! They lost the property and were evicted and now a new owner has been fixing up the place.
1) Is there a neighbor who is piling up trash?
This could be the reason for the rats
2) Do you or your neighbors own cats?
My rat problem was solved by my own cats. One was a feral who ended up popping out 4 litters until a coyote got her last year. I found several beheaded rat carcasses near where she was brooding her kittens. I had 5 cats at the time and 4 were female. They NEVER went inside the run, BUT, one day, no more rats.
You could attract neighbor's cats with catnip, especially when you can grow it in the spring.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, whatEVER you do, do NOT use Warfarin!!!
These rats NEVER attacked my chickens. They were just a nuisance. If you use Warfarin, a cat or dog might eat the sickened rat and die by bleeding out.
I even bought rat traps--they look like giant mouse traps--and you could bait those to catch them.
You could also buy some 1/4 inch thick rubber livestock mats, pour gravel or sand down their burrows, then cover with the mats, WHILE you bait the traps.
Or, cover the holes with cement pavers. There is ALWAYS a use later on for those pavers, so it isn't a $loss.
Also, chickens are notorious for throwing their feed around, and the rats are looking for easy pickins.
Good luck with your problem. :hugs
 

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