Rats In Chicken Coop? 6 Ways To Banish Rodents From Your Chicken Coop For Good
People might look at you like you’re crazy, but you know the truth: raising your own chickens at home is an excellent endeavor with plenty of advantages.
Backyard chickens can save you money, provide you with healthy eggs from a known source, and even serve as pets or companions!
When your chickens can give you so many great benefits, of course you want to take care of them properly and give them a safe and clean place to live.
That’s where chicken coops come in! Coops are an absolute necessity for backyard chickens.
Unfortunately, sometimes they may become infested with rodents. If this happens, there are a few things you can do to keep your chickens safe.
Why Are Rodents A Problem?
When it is cold outside, rodents get desperate for a warm place to live and a steady supply of food—which in turn makes you desperate for a way to get rid of them!
Rodents may cause several problems if they get into a chicken coop. Where there are rodents, they are usually engaging in three main activities: eating, leaving behind waste, and producing offspring.
Of course, if they are eating the feed you have provided for your chickens, the chickens are potentially not getting enough to eat, and you are definitely wasting money by feeding rodents.
When the same rodents urinate or defecate, they are likely contaminating the feed and bedding, which could lead to illness in your chickens and hinder egg production as well. And, of course, if the rodents are producing offspring, the cycle is only going to continue.
Note: If your rodent problem starts to create a cleanliness problem, this may attract flies – which can further lead to health issues for your chickens. Read this article here to find out how to safeguard your chicken coop against flies!
It is clear that mice and rats are a major issue for backyard chicken keepers, but there are six simple steps you can follow to get rid of the trouble for good.
1. Warning: Never Use Poisons
You might first want to reach for a rodent poison from the hardware store, or try making one yourself. Either way, this is a mistake; poisons can seriously endanger your chickens.
- Remember that chickens have voracious appetites, and will eat almost anything, including poisons.
- Keep in mind that chickens will also potentially play with a dead rodent that may have been poisoned, thus spreading the poison to other chickens.
- Don’t forget that even if a chicken shows no signs of damage from poison, its eggs may carry some contamination.
2. Install Secure Feeders
The more secure a feeder is, the better off you’ll be.
Ideally, you would want to install a feeder that is only accessible to your chickens and not to anything else.
The most common way to achieve this is to have PVC vertical feeders such as the one pictured here; Chickens can access it, however rodents can not!
Note: younger chicks may not be able to reach it, keep this in mind.
- The best option for secure chicken feeding is to use a weighted feeder.
- Weighted feeders may be purchased, or you can build your own if you prefer a DIY project.
- Chickens may take a little while to learn how the new feeder works, but they will grasp it quickly enough.
3. Make Use of Secure Feed Storage
Like the secure feeder, you will also need to use a secure feed storage system. If rodents can’t get into the chicken feed, there will be very little reason for them to be interested in the coop at all.
- Stay away from plastic! Even plastic bins that seal tightly are no match for the teeth of a rodent.
- Try using a metal trash can with a tight-fitting or locking lid.
- Get creative with what you have to spare around the house. Even a spare locking metal filing cabinet could store feed on a budget!
4. Rodent-Proof All Bedding
Keep your chickens’ bedding stored safely to prevent infestation. You definitely don’t want to encounter any rodents when it comes time to lay fresh bedding for your birds!
- Like feed storage, bedding can easily be kept in a metal container such as a trash can with a tight fitting lid.
- Try to store the bedding on top of something with sheer sides that cannot be climbed. A shelf will not work for this.
- Never leave chicken bedding just lying on the ground in its original bag!
5. Utilize Traps
Traps are not the best option for getting rid of rodents in your chicken coop, but there are ways to use them effectively.
- Always pick humane traps! Never place lethal mouse traps in your coop. Aside from any ethical or moral complications regarding the killing of rodents, your chickens could very easily step on or peck these traps and harm themselves.
- When using a humane trap, be sure to take rodents far from your property and release them into a wild space (such as a forest).
- Choose humane traps that are smaller than your chickens so that you don’t run the risk of catching one of your birds.
6. Keep Your Coop Repaired
Last but definitely not least, keep your coop in good repair, and you will stop the problem of rodent infestation before it even starts.
- First, check your coop thoroughly. Be sure to pay attention both outside and inside the coop, and keep an eye out for any holes or uneven construction.
- Look for damage to chicken wire, and remember that even a small tear could be an invitation to rodents.
- Patch up any holes and make any other needed repairs as soon as you locate a problem area.
- Make a weekly coop check a priority!
Just by reading through this article, you’re already well on your way to safer, happier chickens with no rats and mice to bother them!
Remember to follow these simple guidelines, and your coop will be rodent-free in no time. For more information on other types of pests that can invade your coop, check our great article right here!