What's under my coop?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Maqui, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. Maqui

    Maqui Just Hatched

    15
    2
    17
    Oct 20, 2016
    I have a hoop coop with the ground as the floor. While there's wire underneath, it's big enough for a small predator to dig under and go in. Something dug about a 2" channel into the coop within the last couple of weeks. We had snow but I've seen no tracks. Today I discovered the critter has probably not been out on the snow - but living underneath the coop. There's concrete blocks around the part of my coop where it has been digging and I never noticed a thing so it got through an opening of about 1" or less before digging out it's little nest.

    Today I moved the concrete blocks and wow, big hole underneath!

    So it could be a rat but more likely a mink? Any ideas what else it could be? It hasn't gone after my 2 hens and I have had no eggs in weeks and it hasn't gone after the hens.

    I would love to get rid of it, maybe a live trap?

    By the way, I'm new to chickens. My neighbors gave me the coop and a couple of hens last summer. Nothing like learn as you go. I already lost one hen and gained another.


    MAQ
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  2. GoldenFlight

    GoldenFlight Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    922
    128
    131
    Sep 25, 2015
    Minnesota
    Welcome to BYC!

    I would set a live trap at it's exit hole and put either meat or feed in the trap. About a month ago we killed a skunk under our coop and it sure smelled for awhile! [​IMG]
     
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,487
    1,010
    311
    Dec 25, 2012
    Sounds like a rat. More likely a small colony of rats.
     
  4. Maqui

    Maqui Just Hatched

    15
    2
    17
    Oct 20, 2016
    Yikes, I hate the thought of a rat! I've never seen rats where I live, in the middle of the woods, but I'm sure they are around. Wondering if it could possibly be a mink.

    Whatever it is, it fit between about an inch space between the rocks around the base of my coup.

    Thanks for the replies! I will get myself a trap. It doesn't seem interested in the hens thankfully, but I now know it created a cozy spot under them.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,290
    3,595
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    A 1” hole is not a mink. 1” sounds a lot more like mice than a rat but I’ haven’t measured the hole. Maybe it is big enough for a rat. Moles and voles can also create tunnels and dig but with that chamber you found, I’d guess mice. Was the chamber lined with feathers, fur, or other items? Mice like to make a nest in there.

    Rats and mice live in the woods and open fields. They are attracted to your coop because of chicken feed. You can try locking the feed up at night in rodent proof storage, I use a metal garbage can, but the chickens probably spill enough feed to still attract them. Rats and mice are a lot more active at night but they will be about during the day too.

    I keep traps set for mice and often rats. When I get them I toss dead mice into the run, the chickens love to play keep-away with them and will eventually eat them. I cut the rats open so the chickens can get to the insides, it’s good protein for them.

    Some people talk about chickens being effective mice predators. That’s not my experience. Occasionally they may catch and eat a mouse on their own, but most mouse activity is at night when the chickens are on the roost and can’t see. The mice can feed with impunity. Most of the time during the day they don’t even bother going after one when they see one. The mice are under cover so quickly it’s rare for them to catch one. So I keep traps set.
     
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,586
    547
    179
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts
    You probably have rats or mice. I don't know where you are, but mink in North America are somewhere around 20" long and usually have extensive burrows around creeks or other water.
     
  7. GoldenFlight

    GoldenFlight Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    922
    128
    131
    Sep 25, 2015
    Minnesota
    Keep us updated! [​IMG]
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    34,577
    7,781
    596
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Or chipmunk or ground squirrel.....probably not a carnivore or you'd have lost birds already.......after your feed but won't hurt birds.
    Time to think about a 1/2" hardware cloth anti-dig apron.
     
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,487
    1,010
    311
    Dec 25, 2012
    There is no such animal as a rat. However there is a whole family of animals who are members of the rodent family and which we all call rats.
     
  10. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,586
    547
    179
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts

    Actually, "rodent" (Rodentia) is the order, the family name is Muridae, and the genus is Rattus (rat). There are 64 species in the genus, one of which is the widespread Black Rat, or Rattus rattus, whose name literally translates from Latin to "rat rat".

    These 64 species are true (taxonomical) rats. There are some rodents that are not taxonomically classified as Rattus (some not even Muridae) but include "rat" in their common name though.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
    4 people like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by