There was a rat in the run.... (I need answers asap as my chickens are waiting)

cluckmecoop7

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Jan 4, 2019
6,326
26,498
797
Maine
My Coop
So last night there was a large brown rat in my chicken's run. He was scurrying along the fence and under the raised coop while I was trying to corner him. I'm almost positive he was eating food before I saw him...so my question is this: Is it safe to let my chickens out like regular? Or is there something special I need to do because of the rat. My chickens are waiting to be let out and they get very impatient so I need answers asap!

- Clucky
 

drmolarmagic

Songster
Aug 8, 2019
109
228
116
Brooklyn, NY
Hi,
I have same deal but Mice not Rats,
When I read your post I couldn't help think of Templeton the Rat from Charlottes Web, any way please remember when you set your Rat traps either use a live trap or if your using a snap trap to kill them, make sure your chickens can't get anywhere near them, under the run with some peanut butter in them is good, keeps birds safe and will eventually get the Rat.
Also you should use a double attack plan, put out some Rat poison as they will eat it and bring it back and die there.
This has worked with my aviary and the mice. Got the advice here on BYC
Be Well
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
24,367
15,624
751
Florida
My Coop
Don't use poison. When the rat dies, it won't just drop dead. It will get some distance and more than likely will be eaten by something else, which will be killed by the poison too. I've found a stomp or a shovel work very well
Not necessarily true. I had a rat infestation in one of my coops. When I started renovating it, dozens of rats of all sizes came pouring out, too many to trap. I bought some rat bait stations and some poison rat bait and put the bait stations in our barn which is behind the coops. The bait stations have a little window above the bait so I can check it daily. Eventually the baits weren't being eaten on. I had noticed some tunnels around the coops that I suspected were made by the rats. Since I didn't find any dead rats laying around I assumed they went into their tunnels and died. I didn't find any dead critters laying around either from eating a dead rat nor heard from any neighbors about finding any dead critters on their properties. There is a slight chance of a predator eating a dead rat, but it takes a tiny amount to kill a rat and it is unlikely a coyote or fox would die from eating a dead rat. I don't put the bait stations where anything can get to them except the rats. If you see one rat there are probably plenty more around.
 

Al Gerhart

Songster
Sep 29, 2011
640
552
231
Oklahoma City
If it is only one rat you might catch it in a trap but usually you see one you have a dozen. They wise up quickly to both traps and poison and the effectiveness falls off quickly. And yes, the rats natural predators might well eat a poisoned rat or several and you kill off the natural predators and make the entire eco system out of balance.

First thing to fix is what is drawing the rodents to your coop, you are feeding them along with the chickens. Get a good treadle feeder, get your bulk feed in metal barrels or metal trash cans with lids, and clean up an debris that give the rodents cover to and from the coop so the natural predators have a shot at catching them.

If you do this you will rarely have to resort to poison or traps however the traps become a lot more effective once the rats are starving.

Treadle feeders come in all sizes and price ranges. The best have inward swinging doors, spring loaded doors, narrow and distant treadles instead of a wide step, and pay close attention to the number of negative reviews. Those are the folks that actually had a rat problem, the others just wanted a chicken feeder.
 

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