Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:52 pm
Rats have a dubious reputation. They are considered carriers of some diseases and were feared especially in the Middle Ages. They are responsible for outbreaks of plague with millions of deaths.
If you breed chickens and have a small coop in the garden, this will hardly remain hidden to other animals. Martens and foxes are considered dangerous because they tear the chickens and noticeably reduce the population.
But how dangerous is the rat in the chicken coop and how can you counteract an infestation? Use the following methods to protect the coop and drive away the pests.
- 1 What damage do rats do in the chicken coop?
- 2 Disease vector
- 3 Dangerous for young chicks and eggs
- 4 Can the rat kill chickens?
- 5 Prevent the rats in the chicken house
- 6 Check accesses
- 7 No open food
- 8 Fighting the rats in the chicken house
- 9 Rat poison
- 10 Live trap
- 11 trigger traps
- 12 Cats
- 13 Effectively control rats in the chicken coop
- 14 Author
What damage do rats do in the chicken coop?
Compared to other wild animals, the rat may seem inconspicuous. It is much smaller and in direct comparison to the chicken, the rat seems to be weaker.
The rat is not attracted by chickens directly. They are not worthwhile prey and not the main target of the rat. The rat is more interested in the food. Chicken feed is also attractive to the rat and much easier to obtain than natural food sources. Once inside the chicken house, the rat steals the feed and feeds on it.
This may sound harmless at first, and the feed is easily replenished. However, the danger that rodents pose should not be underestimated.
This is because the rats are considered carriers of some diseases that are also dangerous for the hens. The mice and rats first get hold of the feed. From there, the germs and pathogens spread. The hens ingest the feed and are at risk of disease.
Dangerous for young chicks and eggs
Also not to be underestimated is the risk of mice and rats feasting on the eggs. The Norway rat in particular is known to eat eggs and attack young chicks. With their sharp teeth they are able to kill and eat the weak chicks. Thus, the flock is reduced and the chickens are no longer safe in the coop.
Can the rat kill chickens?
Mice and rats are a danger to young chicks. The chicks are hardly able to defend themselves and in an unobserved moment rats are able to attack and kill the young.
In comparison, adult hens are much more robust. Rats will not attempt to mess with these animals. Therefore, chickens are not considered possible prey for rats.
Indirectly, it is still possible for rats to kill chickens. This happens because of the introduced pathogens, which pose a risk. Thus, while it is possible for the rats to kill the chickens, it does not happen via a direct attack and the birds are not considered prey for the rats.
Prevent the rats in the chicken house
Mice and rats are rightly considered pests. Whether in the garden, the house or chicken coop, rodents cause a lot of damage and multiply rapidly. Therefore, it is advisable to prevent an infestation rather than to fight the rodents later with a greater effort.
Rats are very skillful climbers and agile. They can get through even the tiniest crevices and enter the chicken coop in this way.
You will probably close the chicken flap in the evening hours to make it more difficult for martens and other predators to gain access. There will probably still be plenty of opportunities for rats to enter the chicken coop.
This can be done, for example, through a tilted or inadequately protected window. Rats in the chicken house may also have found their way in through ventilation openings.
It is important that the roof is tight to the wall and that there are no loopholes. Protect windows and ventilation openings with a fine protective grille. In this way, you at least make it more difficult for them to get in.
No open food
Rats are attracted by the smell of food. This is considered the main reason why rats stay in the chicken house. If the rodents get to the feed easily, they will be happy to stay and nest there.
As a preventive measure, do not use open feeders or dispensers. Use an automatic feeder, which the chickens are too self-sufficient to use, so that only a small amount of the feed is left open. Odor will decrease and the labor required to feed the chickens will be reduced.
Keep the chicken feed in a safe place, which is inaccessible to the rat. Then the rat will not be attracted by the smell and will look for another place to get food.
Fighting the rats in the chicken house
If there are rats in the chicken coop, it is difficult to get rid of them. In the coop they feel safe and are well taken care of. They multiply quickly and the damage they cause increases. How can you effectively fight the rats in the chicken coop?
Probably one of the most effective methods of driving away the rats in the chicken coop, is the rat poison. You place the remedy in the places where you suspect the rats and wait for the rodents to ingest it. The effect starts within a few days, so you can effectively control the rat infestation.
However, some caution should be taken when handling rat poison. Chickens and chicks should not come into contact with the poison. Children or pets should also not ingest it.
After successful application, you must thoroughly dispose of the poison bait so that no other animals are exposed to danger.
If there are only a few rats to identify in the chicken coop, you can also try live traps. These are much more animal-friendly, but more difficult to handle.
Set the live trap in the chicken coop and equip it with bait. Rats are attracted to nut nougat cream or peanut butter, for example. With a little patience, the animal will go into the trap. After that, set it far away, where no more damage will be done.
If a large number of rats are staying in the chicken coop, percussion traps are an effective alternative. These trigger as soon as mice and rats approach it. With one well-aimed blow, the rat is dead on the spot, avoiding additional suffering. Then remove the carcass and set the trap again. With little effort, even a larger infestation can be kept in check.
The natural enemy of rats are considered to be cats. Just the smell of a cat can make the pests flee. If it is possible for you, then acquiring a cat is considered the most effective method of driving away the rats in the chicken coop. Even if the cat does not have a hunting instinct, the rodents will be deterred and take flight.
If you do not want to keep a pet yourself, you can also use cat urine or the cat litter of a neighboring cat. Spread these means in the chicken coop, so that mice and rats will take a great distance from it.
Effectively control rats in the chicken coop
Rats are considered serious pests for the chicken coop. They transmit diseases, eat small eggs and can attack chicks. Therefore, early control or even better, prevention is advised to keep chickens safe in the coop.
Don’t leave feed out in the open and secure all access points. Then you will put the rats to flight and the chickens can lay their eggs again in peace.