Tiny rat living along side chickens in the coop

Bryce Thomas

Songster
Mar 21, 2021
619
520
181
Gilbert, AZ
So I heard a rat scurrying along in the chicken coop last night, and I shined my flashlight and this tiny brown rat ran off and It never eats any eggs, never attacks any chickens but I just dont want it to spread any disease. Im thinking about placing a funnel shaped rat trap in the coop, one of those bottles where you cut the lid then invert it then place some pest food inside of it. Will that catch the rat?
 

Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
874
786
251
Oklahoma City
So I heard a rat scurrying along in the chicken coop last night, and I shined my flashlight and this tiny brown rat ran off and It never eats any eggs, never attacks any chickens but I just dont want it to spread any disease. Im thinking about placing a funnel shaped rat trap in the coop, one of those bottles where you cut the lid then invert it then place some pest food inside of it. Will that catch the rat?

Most likely to be a mouse, not a rat, although it might be a juvenile rat that has moved in. Rodents don't travel till they are forced to by predators or too many rodents for the local food source. They are prey animals themselves and moving around in the open is quite dangerous for them. Trapping is difficult, might catch one before the others and there will be others, learns to associate the trap with danger.

Do a forum search for Howard E., who in my opinion, is the best rodent expert on the forum. I copied and pasted one of his replies from several years back that has the meat of the solution for you. People tend to run one of two ways, willing to invest in an expensive feeder or willing to fight a battle with rodents and find another way. Only you can say which you have more of; time or money.

Here is Howard E.'s past post:

"To the OP (and others like them), if you will spend the time, everything you need to know about rats and how to get ride of them will be found in the links below......

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rat-control-the-video-series.1337456/

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rat-control-101.1283827/

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rat-proof-feeder-review.1180514/#post-18610285
This last one is a review of a rat proof chicken feeder built and sold by a BYC member, who is a staunch advocate for the plan of getting rid of rats by starving them out. Remove all sources of feed and they will be forced to move on or starve to death. If you are firmly against the use of poison bait blocks......for whatever reason.......then this is one of the best actions you can take. Bulk food in metal trash cans.....chicken feed in metal rat proof feeders. Can't get to the feed and birds do not spill and waste feed that the rats can survive on."

And the short version of Howard's post? Sanitation, exclusion, elimination.

Sanitation, bulk feed in metal cans or barrels with tight fitting lids, a treadle feeder, clean up the avenues of movement so the rodents have no cover to protect them from their natural predators. In my opinion and experience this is the quickest, surest, and cheapest way to solve a rodent problem.

Exclusion, plugging the holes and building a Fort Knox chicken coop and not leaving an opening for free range. Tough to do and expensive but it could work for rats.

Elimination, poison and traps. Problem is that rats are smart and will quickly learn to avoid both traps and poison bait. Were you to clean them out, the lack of sanitation would mean a new population of rodents would move right in. And there is risk and no end to the process, keeping fresh bait out. However, if you have done your sanitation using poison becomes effective as the rats are starving and will likely try the poison bait. Not needed though, they will leave in a few days as long as you are not feeding the rodents with a compost pile or other animal feed. Not all will leave, your area will have a natural carrying capacity for rodents, natural feed, but that natural ability to sustain rodents is quite small and the natural predators keep them in check and under cover as the rodents hustle to find this natural food.

Do a forum search on "rats chickens" and you will find most of the old wives tales exposed and read of long epic battles against the rodents. Sanitation, exclusion, or elimination all have associated costs but you are already paying for the feed and will recover the initial costs quickly with the first method.

Good luck and remember, it isn't just the stolen feed, disease and predators come with rodents.
 

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