Getting rid of rats in a hen house with natural methods

Last updated on October 25th, 2023 at 11:15 am

You love your chickens and you want to protect them. From predators, with a good fence, from diseases, by regularly cleaning your henhouse, but also from rats, which can transmit microbes but also devour eggs and attack chicks. Fortunately, there are effective ways to prevent them. So how to get rid of rats in a henhouse? We make the point!

Getting rid of rats in a hen house using natural methods is essential to protect your chickens and maintain a healthy environment.

Here are some natural approaches to help eliminate rats from your hen house:

  1. Proper Sanitation:
    • Maintain a clean and tidy hen house. Regularly remove spilled feed, water, and chicken droppings, as these can attract rats.
  2. Secure Feed Storage:
    • Store chicken feed in metal containers with tight-fitting lids. Rats can chew through plastic and wood, so metal containers are a more secure option.
  3. Limit Food Access:
    • Only feed your chickens what they can consume in one sitting, and remove any excess food. Rats are drawn to abundant food sources.
  4. Elevate Feeders and Waterers:
    • Raise feeders and waterers off the ground to make it more difficult for rats to access them.
  5. Regularly Inspect for Holes and Entry Points:
    • Seal any holes, cracks, or gaps in the hen house that rats could use as entry points. Use materials like hardware cloth or steel mesh to block openings.
  6. Natural Predators:
    • Consider introducing natural predators like barn owls or cats to help control the rat population. Owls, in particular, are excellent hunters of rodents.
  7. Traps:
    • Use humane live traps or snap traps designed for rats. Bait them with peanut butter or a mixture of peanut butter and birdseed. Release live-trapped rats far from your property.
  8. Peppermint Oil:
    • Rats dislike the scent of peppermint oil. Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them in areas where rats frequent.
  9. Lavender and Mint Plants:
    • Plant lavender and mint around the hen house. The strong scents can deter rats.
  10. Sound and Light:
    • Install motion-activated lights or ultrasonic devices in the hen house to make it less appealing to rats. Some devices emit high-pitched sounds that rodents find uncomfortable.
  11. Natural Predator Urine:
    • Consider using the urine of natural predators like foxes or snakes to create a “predator presence” around the hen house. You can purchase these products online or from specialty stores.
  12. Remove Shelter and Nesting Materials:
    • Remove any clutter or materials in the hen house that rats could use for nesting or shelter.
  13. Regular Monitoring:
    • Continuously monitor your hen house for signs of rat activity and adjust your strategies as needed.
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Getting rid of rats in a hen house with natural methods

It’s important to be patient and persistent when using natural methods to eliminate rats from your hen house. Rats are adaptable creatures, so it may take time to completely control the population. By combining these natural approaches, you can create an inhospitable environment for rats while ensuring the safety and health of your chickens.

Forget immediately the poison, which could also kill your chickens. If you can find poison in grain form in the shops, it is not recommended to hide it in your henhouse. It could end up in your hens’ stomachs. This would be fatal for them. It is therefore advisable to use other means to fight rats, mice or field mice.

Getting rid of rats in a hen house with natural methods

The diving board method is very effective to trap pests that could attack your hens’ eggs and proliferate in your henhouse. It is a 100% natural method, clever and non-lethal for rats. To do this, get a large, deep bucket and a board. Arrange the board so that the rodents can climb to the edge of the bucket. Next, drill two holes in a row on each side of the bucket at the top and slide a metal or wooden rod through them. On this rod, balance a small board with a few seeds.

Baited by the food, the rat will then use the ramp to reach the top of the bucket. It will then step onto the board balanced on the metal rod and fall to the bottom of the bucket when the board tips over. All you have to do then is take the rodent far away from your home to continue living its life. Another easy way to get rid of rats in a chicken coop is to keep it clean.

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A clean chicken coop will keep intruders at bay. If the floor of the henhouse is littered with grain, for example, this will undoubtedly attract rodents. If a rat or a mouse is going to infiltrate your henhouse, it will be to find food…

Finally, there is also the solution, still in the ethical and non-lethal means department, to equip yourself with rat traps.

These traps attract the animals and lock them up without killing them. You can then quietly move the rat. Be careful though, because specialists recommend moving it more than 5 km away from the henhouse, if you don’t want the rat to find its way back.

There are many ways to get rid of rats in a henhouse: traps such as mouse swatters, electric traps, ultrasound machines (whose effectiveness on rodents is widely disputed) and the more “peaceful” solutions that we have highlighted here. And of course, one should not neglect the cat either! Well trained, a cat can be very effective in protecting your hen house without attacking the chickens!


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts. Jones James
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