Information and unique products for Dogs, Cats, Rabbits and Backyard Chickens

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

15+ Tips to Control Rodents Around Chicken Coops

Rats and Mice carry disease that can sicken chickens, learn about the other risks and how to get rid of rodents around the chicken coop.
A common misconception about chickens is that they attract rodents, but the truth is that rodents are attracted to food and water, not chickens. 
Rodents are a nuisance and a hazard for for backyard chicken-keepers and their flocks for many reasons and controlling them requires a multi-faceted approach.
  • they eat chicken feed
  • they eat eggs and baby chicks (rats)
  • they contaminate feed, water & coops with droppings, urine and hair
  • they are carriers of lice, fleas and mites and other parasites
  • they can transmit an estimated 50 possible diseases, not the least of which is salmonella (fleas carried by rats were responsible for killing an estimated 100,000 people in the Great Plague of London in 1665)
  • they can damage yards by burrowing and coops and wires by chewing
  • they can injure chickens (rats are capable of chewing toes off roosting birds at night)
  • they create stress for chickens, which often results in a drop in egg production
Rats and mice pose health hazards to backyard chickens and cause property damage.
Burrow dug by some type of critter, could have been a rat,
although there was no other evidence to support that theory.
Prevent rodents from accessing feed in the chicken coop with a PVC or treadle feeder.
Eliminate food sources
  • Remove or securely cover feeders at night.
  • Modify feeders to prevent beaking-out of feed. Adding dividers or chicken wire to the base of the feeder can accomplish this objective.
  • Clean up spilled feed. If chickens beak-out food onto the floor from the feeder, clean it up before nightfall when nocturnal marauders are active. Purchase feed pellets instead of crumbles as they are more difficult to beak-out and easier to clean up than crumbles.
  • Never leave eggs in the coop overnight. Eggs left in nest boxes are a dinner invitation to rats.
  • Store feed in a galvanized container with a lid securely in place. Rats can chew through feed bags, plastic bins and wood as easily as a person can open a bag of chips.
  • Store feed away from the coop if possible.
A poultry nipple watering system keeps water free from roden droppings.
Eliminate Easily Accessible Water Sources
Rodents will walk through and drink from traditional waterers, contaminating them with their waste and disease-carrying mouths, feet and fur.  Remove traditional waterers at night or, better yet, switch to poultry nipple waterers and keep the chickens' water supply disease-free. 
Hardware cloth dug into the ground prevents digging predators from gaining access to the coop.
A digging predator much bigger than a rat was deterred by the hardware cloth buried 12" into the ground around the run.
Secure the Coop & Run
  • Install hardware cloth all around the coop and run to prevent access by predators and pests. 
  • Bury hardware cloth 12" into the ground all the way around the coop and run to deter burrowing underneath.
Rodents instinctively recognize the danger associated with the scent of their natural predators.
  • Bobcat urine. Research has proven that rodents instinctively recognize the danger associated with the scent of bobcat urine and and respond to it by avoiding the smell.  Strategic distribution of bobcat urine sends rodents seeking food elsewhere.
  • Clearly, poisons and most traps are far too dangerous to use around chickens, but rodents can be eliminated naturally by employing a good barn cat around the coop and run.
  • An old-fashioned mixture of equal parts cornmeal and plaster of Paris kills rodents without toxic chemicals, but would need to be placed where chickens cannot eat it. Once eaten by rodents, it hardens in their stomachs, killing them. (this seems a rough way to go, I won't be trying this method)
Rodents can be eliminated from the chicken coop and run with a variety of techniques that are safe for use around chickens.
 Original Post:

No comments:

Post a Comment