Ways to get rid of rats?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by SniperGoose, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. SniperGoose

    SniperGoose Songster

    242
    924
    207
    Apr 15, 2018
    Central Pennsylvania
    Recently we've been having a rat problem in our chicken coop. I'd say it started maybe 1-2 months ago? We've been trying to deal with them, and have killed a few here and there, but they just won't take the hint. Just the other week we patched up all the new rat holes they chewed in the coop, and got rid of a few rats too. They had made a nest up in the roof. The coop used to be a large rabbit cage, that only was covered halfway by a roof (so the rabbit had an area to bask in the sun). So after the rabbit passed away, some years later we decided to convert this big rabbit coop into a chicken coop, we put a large roof over the original roof. This left a little bit of room in between the 2 roofs, and the rats apparently found that and made a happy little home in there. We took the roof off and got rid of the nest along with a few rats, and patched up all the holes that we could see.

    After doing that, there was no noticeable rat activity for a while. So I was thinking 'great, maybe they're gone now'. But no, sadly today when I opened up the coop to let the girls out, there were a bunch of wood pieces on the floor. I looked up, and sure enough a rat had tried chewing a new hole on the inside of the cage...meaning they somehow got back in again. We had patched the holes with sheet metal, so they didn't get back in through those. Probably made a new hole someplace. I'll have to patch those up again I suppose. This coop is also about 3 feet off the ground too, if that matters.

    But anyways, what are some good ways to get rid of/deter rats that will not harm my chickens??
     
    Callender Girl likes this.
  2. Naser

    Naser Songster

    449
    274
    161
    Oct 29, 2014
    Ireland
    Get a rodent proof feeder.
     
    Coop de Grass and Callender Girl like this.
  3. Callender Girl

    Callender Girl Songster

    304
    1,675
    226
    Sep 18, 2018
    North Central Iowa
    Rats are both smart and extremely wary of changes in their environment. I tried to Hav-A-Hart trap the one that was living in a hollow tree next to one of my coops. No deal.

    If you can put a regular rat kill trap -- looks like a giant mouse trap -- somewhere the birds won't access it, I found that hot gluing dry dog food onto the trigger worked fine. It keeps the rat in place long enough for the trap to kill it instead of raiding and running. Of course, I've only killed one at a time. If you have an infestation, this is probably not your easiest option. Good luck!
     
  4. AshleySGM

    AshleySGM Songster

    204
    478
    136
    Jun 26, 2018
    Easley, SC
    They come in for food. Since the weather has turned colder and winter is upon us, they are desperate for food. Take up all feeders and try to reduce any waste that winds up on the floor. If you can, set traps. I know in a coop senario that's not possible. If you can bait the traps and put them in a non-bird area then that should be good. We're battling rats too. We had a rat problem years ago in the goat barn and never got the under control. Then we sold out and last year built a new barn too and have them now in both barns. We have traps in both and do occasionally kill some but it's an ongoing problem. I've sat with a bb-gun and shot them killing them. I've stabbed them with pitchforks, I've trapped them with an assortment of snap traps. We don't poison though because we have too many other animals who could get it and it's not worth risking their lives. Not to mention rats are too smart to fall for anything too long. Make sure to keep things up off the floor if you can or they'll nest right in your barn or coop and I've had to drown litters before as well. Sucks but there's no 100% way to get rid of them.
     
    Anvaha and Callender Girl like this.
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

    2,273
    2,205
    256
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    Ashley has it right about rats seeking out food and shelter, and our chicken houses, barns, etc are prime real estate for them to move into. Our buildings have it all.

    Where I will dissent is how to go about getting rid of them. There is a way.....a multi-step process where the food and shelter have to be restricted.......and in the end will almost always involve the use of poison bait blocks to get things under control. Almost always.

    To give you some idea of what you are up against......

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/rats-when-the-army-went-to-war-on-them.1216226/

    I linked to the whole thread, but if you in a hurry, good stuff starts on page 2 of the thread.

    The thread includes 3 historic videos on rat proofing, rat behavior and rat control. Old videos, but the concepts remain as valid today as back when they were produced. Do note the fact that it is almost impossible to eliminate rats by shooting, trapping, etc. They are too smart for that, and too productive. They can reproduce faster than you can eliminate them one at a time. The only thing that ultimately works is rat baits served up from secure bait stations. Most concerns about secondary poisoning is real, but turns out largely unfounded.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Acre4Me and JaeG like this.
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    18,667
    5,212
    511
    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    This is what I use. I had a coop that was infested. I renovated it and put this in it prior to the work I did on it. No more rats but I do keep the baits out. You can use other baits. The Tomcat bait that came with the bait box didn't work to well but the Just One Bite bait worked very well.
    RatBait.jpg RatBaitStation.jpg
     
    Cindy in PA, JaeG and silly4buttons like this.
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    18,667
    5,212
    511
    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    True.
     
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    18,667
    5,212
    511
    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    This was the rat infested coop before and after. We put an inner wall in the coop around the bottom part. The rats got into space between the inner and outer walls and built nests. There was a stud that had been gnawed through. I was able to move the birds that were in that coop to another coop then closed up the coop and put rat baits in it. I started seeing dead rats. We have a barn behind the coops. I also put the rat bait boxes with baits in the barn. I figured if they had gotten into the coop they were probably in the barn too. I keep the bait boxes loaded. A possum did destroy a couple of the bait boxes in the barn and ate the bait. I have it on a game camera. After doing some research I discovered possums have an immunity to rat bait so it doesn't affect them.
    IMG_20180214_123653.jpg IMG_20180220_165446.jpg DSCF00051012 02.jpg
     
  9. AshleySGM

    AshleySGM Songster

    204
    478
    136
    Jun 26, 2018
    Easley, SC
    You can control rat populations but you won't ever kill them all or fully eradicate them from your place. I won't use poison, it's just too horrible a death for animals you don't intend to kill. Here I can set my traps in stalls so no good animals are ever in harms way. We've caught 6-7 rats so far. We just got back into chickens this year and as a result started seeing rats. So when I saw one during the day and then consequently found a nest in the barn, it was time to take the bull by the horns and set traps. We set some and then forgot about them (mostly because we thought they were still set but they had actually been tripped) and that caused the rats to get very comfortable with the traps. I just started baiting them and boom started catching them. The thing with rats is that they are smart. If you want to catch rats, you have to be patient. Put out traps but don't set them. Bait them like you would if you were going to set them. Sprinkle food bits around the traps. Rats are naturally leary of new things so they won't just readily fall for traps or if they do, it's just the one and the others learn from that one and avoid it. I've watched them on our infrared cameras and seen it in action. The way to catch them is to build confidence and let them get too comfortable with the traps, then set them and you will catch rats. That's how we've caught ours. I don't trip traps that they eat the bait off, I just sprinkle layer feed on the set trap and leave it. Eventually the rat will get a little too careless and snap. That happened last night. A large rat had been getting free food from the trap, I sprinkled a few pieces again and boom, dead rat. I want to try a 'Walk the Plank' style trap next, I just don't want to dedicate that much space to one trap. However I probably will at some point. I tend to be forgetful when it comes to traps so it's not a daily thing for us to set them or for us to bait them so that seems to have worked to our advantage. I do take up feeders every evening before dusk (rats are most active from right about dusk to dawn, the rats you see in the day time are the young ones or low on the pecking order and they are hungry). If you see them during the day that means your colony is getting too big and you need to catch them. I would advise leaving traps out all the time just don't set them, when you see a need to catch them, start baiting them but still don't set them. Then one night set them all. Keep them spaced out from one another and put them along walls or near holes. I've had rats run right out of a hole and into a trap and that trap wasn't even baited. I've actually caught several with no bait just by placing the traps in good spots. We had some chicks in one of the stalls and they made a mess of food as chicks do. That's where I've got the most rats. I just set traps out in the stall and the rats come to them. Good luck. Rats are a challenge.
     
  10. Michael Propst

    Michael Propst Songster

    201
    269
    137
    Sep 12, 2017
    De Soto, KS 66018
    I would caution against any rat poisons and stick with either snap traps outside your coop or look for live traps. Remember chickens are omnivores and if a rat happens to die from poison inside the coop and your chickens eat at it you could end up with a dead flock. I have a friend that raises chickens as well and has struggled with rats for a year, because of his dogs and cats he cannot use snap traps either he went with live traps and although maybe not the most humane but effective he drops them in a old stock tank when the are sprung. You can find many options on Amazon. He said on some occasions he will have up to 6 rats in a single trap. Good luck.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: