Us vs. The Rats

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jesss, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. jesss

    jesss Chirping

    Jun 6, 2011
    Olympia, WA
    My Coop
    over the summer/fall, it became apparent there were rats stealing our chicken feed. We have had chickens for seven years and never had a problem with rats. We built a garden coop from plans we bought online, and covered the entire coop with hardware cloth, which we also buried 12" underground with river rocks. But the rats have dug an extensive network of deep tunnels more than a foot underground to get into our coop and eat the chicken feed. I tried trapping them, and while I was pretty successful, only the live traps worked. it is such a slow way to eliminate a population, and we all got tired of killing the rats we trapped. We don't want to use poison because of a fear that the chickens could somehow get the poison, or that a poisoned rat could stagger into their reach and they could eat the rat. (Chickens are crazy AF). We have been bringing ning in the food every night and putting it out in the AM but it's quite a lot of work and doesn't really work with our schedules.

    At the feed store recently, someone told me to buy bulk corn gluten and mix it into small balls with peanut butter and drop them into the rats holes. I have searched BYC and the bowels of google and can't find other people who are using this method, but I will say that it seems easy, cheap, safe to have around chickens... but is it effective? Has anyone else heard of this? Do you have any other advice or tips for things I could try? Thank you!
  2. Welshies

    Welshies Crowing

    May 8, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    Use hanging feeders and waterers. If a rat can get in so can a weasel... and weasels can decimate a flock within minutes... unseen, unheard.
    twisted-acres-farm likes this.
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

    Feb 18, 2016
    I think the mix you may be looking for is peanut butter and plaster paris. Theory is they eat it, can't digest it or pass it and it kills them via intestinal blockage. Some say it works, others say it doesn't.

    In the annals of most of the rat wars, about all that seems to reliably work is rat poison. Chunks and place it in bait stations well away from the birds. Normally, rats eat it, then crawl off to their tunnels to die.

    Trapping may get a few. Dogs and cats may get more than a few, but not all of them. Remarkably, nature's best rodent killers are weasels. They can go into the tunnels and kill just about everything in sight.........but won't hesitate to do the same to your birds. In fact, a lot of weasel issues seem to crop up due to heavy infestations of rats and mice, which draw in these nasty predators.

    So long term, best solution is a rat proof feeder to cut off their food supply, in conjunction with poison bait chunks protected in bait stations.
  4. Morrigan

    Morrigan Free Ranging

    Apr 9, 2014
    N. California
    It really hard dealing with rodents. We had a huge explosion of gophers, mice and some rats this last year. I don't think there is a good solution. We found snap-traps, baited with fermented chicken feed, was the most effective killer (placed outside the chicken yard of course). It was amazing at the difference the bait made. We had been using peanut butter and cheese and caught nothing. The minute we switched to FF, which was what they had been enjoying in the chicken yard, we caught dozens and dozens. I'm also zealous about storing food in tight containers and trying to minimize left-over feed in the yard.

    I refuse to use poison. The risk of a poisoned rodent crawling into my chicken yard, or somewhere one of my dogs can get it is just too high. I wish I knew of a better solution. I would love to hear what others do.
    Hamiam likes this.
  5. Star and eclipsa

    Star and eclipsa Songster

    Nov 3, 2017
    Clermont, Florida
    If I had a rat problem, I personally would not kill them. I would trap them and release them somewhere away from most houses, at least five miles away from my house. I don't like the idea of killing animals just because they want something to eat.
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    No pied piper or trapper will get rid of a rat problem. The old adage of if you see a rat in daytime you have hundreds is true. They breed constantly. A poor system of maintenance may keep rat population in check if used from the beginning of keeping poultry. If your inundated then there is no other means of ridding them than poison.

    I've been there and done that. It's horrible to be inundated with rodents. They ended up moving into the house. I wish more people and chicken 101 type hype books spoke about rodent control. It's something everyone will experience if they don't have any sort of control in place from day one. It took chunx bait in bait boxes to cure my problem. Since then I don't build a run and coop without adding a bait box with chunx bait. Keep it right in the run and have never had a rodent problem or accidental animal poisoning since. It's the best maintenance plan and only plan if already invaded.
  7. BYC910

    BYC910 Crossing the Road

    I have told this story before I hate rats and will kill them anyway I can . We lived in the city for a couple of years when my family first moved to Tennessee . In a rental house close to a Purina feed mill . Rats were awful one crawled in my little brother bed and bit him on the ear while he was sleeping . I have no problem killing rats and mice . My favorite way is shooting them with my 22 pistols loaded with bird shot . Also use a 410 shotgun .That's for the ones that get high in the trees . Good hunting head light I go out around 10 to midnight and have killed hundreds that way .The trick is not to turn on the light until I get close to the chicken coop. I have all but eradicated the rat problem here . They have caused me many problems from chewed wires to chewed water lines . Kill tem all any way you can . I also use revenge smoke bombs . If they don't kill them they run them out of the holes so I can shoot them .The smoke bombs will help you find all the tunnel entrances . But don't breath the smoke or let chickens or pets breath it .Once found block them off and flood the holes with water .Also you can use quickcrete mixed really wet and flood fill the holes . It needs to be wet enough to run down the tunnel. I also use snap traps with the bait well I like those better peanut butter and scratch feed. Now one other way is to attach a hose pipe to the tail pipe of you car lawn mower or whatever and stick it in the hole and gas them that way . You see I'm pretty serious about killing rats:rant
  8. Table4Six

    Table4Six Crossing the Road

    May 22, 2012
    I completely agree with @BYC910. I will kill rats and mice any way possible. I once had a rat problem and I set out blocks of poison. That eventually killed them off, but if you do use poison be sure it is out of pecking reach of your chickens. If they ate it, it would kill them. Don't underestimate rats either. They won't just steal your feed. I have neighbors who also have chickens and they went out to get their chickens up and found their two favorite polishes ripped up by rats. They also poisoned the rats. Good luck!
    twisted-acres-farm likes this.
  9. Freisian

    Freisian Songster

    Jul 15, 2017
    East Sussex , England, UK
    I had one that then had six babies that I thought were fun watching them climbing and swimming in the fishpond for the fish food, then realised that I had a major problem As found two huge rat borrow mounds in different parts of the garden and they came in under the house, so bait it was in dog/ pet proof containers and plastic drainpipes. Never saw a dead one above ground but sorted the problem, including the ones in the house wall and attic. Didn’t like doing it but once in the house I had to do something. I also put bait wax balls into the burrows
  10. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    I heard that baking soda and sugar will explode their guts and kill them. I heard the same about extra-dry soda (pop).

    Personally, I prefer a good dog. He grabs, he shakes--and the rat is dead. Quick, clean, and simple. But it only works if you have a major infestation or some very stupid rats.

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