Chicken keeping can be difficult and stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. If you prepare well, you wouldn’t have to worry about any scurrying rats in your coop luring bigger predators to your precious flock.
You and your girls will all sleep a little better if you know that you’ve done all you could to protect them, so what exactly can you do to prevent rats and why are they such a danger? Let’s look into rats as predators and how to prevent them.
Drat, There are Rats In The Chicken Coop!
Poorly designed coops and feeders can be magnets for rodents such as rats. Rats are attracted by your chickens’ spilled feed, eggs and their drinking water. Rats may also sometimes attack your baby chickens!
These sneaky pests prefer to attack at night when your hens are happily roosting. Rats will usually leave quite a mess behind which will come as a very unwelcome surprise in the morning. Your first line of defence against these pesky critters should be a well-designed chicken coop and feeder. Well-designed feeders and coops will help to keep rats out and prevent access to feed.
Rats, even though considered to be small rodents, can grow to be around 25 centimetres long and weigh up to a kilogram. Their size makes them much more of a threat than mice. Rats often live in close proximity to humans and have adapted to all conditions. This makes them a threat to chicken keepers all over the world.
Problems Caused By Rats
Rats can be quite a big problem and hard to eradicate. Some of the problems they cause are:
- Eating your chicken’s feed and water
- Eating your chicken’s eggs
- Lowering egg production due to the stress they cause for your flock.
- Praying on chicks in unsecured coops
- Contaminate coops, feeders and waterers with their droppings and urine
- Infest your coop with lice, fleas, mites and other parasites
- Can transmit horrible diseases to your flock and yourself
Likely, there are a number of preventative measures you can take to keep your feathered friends safe from dreadful rodents.
Preventing Rats In The Chicken Coop
Knowing what attracts rats is the first step to either preventing or eradicating them. Chicken feeders and waterers will of course be your first suspects. It is important to make a conscious effort to reduce food waste and attempt to place food sources out of reach of rodents. Here are some solutions to this problem:
- Store extra feed in closed containers away from the coop
- Remove or cover feeders and waterers at night
- Make sure to collect any eggs before nightfall
- Secure your coop with wire mesh flooring
- Invest in a rodent-proof feeder like the treadle feeder
- Clean up any spilled feed before nightfall
Secure The Coops
Securing the coop is perhaps the most important measure you can take to help keep your feathered friends safe. Your chicken coop should have the following features to help keep those pesky rats at bay:
- High-quality locks, sliding bolts and padlocks
- 10x10mm galvanised wire mesh on all entry points, including ventilation points
- High-quality weather-resistant timber – rats won’t be able to gnaw through it.
- Elevated nesting boxes
- Plant rodent-repelling plants around the coop
- Place rodent traps around the coop
- Install electric fencing around the coup
Predators are a concern for many chicken keepers, but preparing properly to keep them at bay can save you lots of heartbreak and money in the future!