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Saturday, August 2, 2014

5 Ways to Keep Rodents out of your Chicken Coop

5 Ways to Keep Rodents out of your Chicken Coop

By Lisa At Fresh Eggs Daily

As it gets closer to winter, field mice and rats will start looking for a nice, safe, warm place to bed down. What better spot than a cozy corner of your chicken coop?

    Nice clean bedding, safe at night from predators and also a ready food source, especially if you leave feed in the coop.
   Traps and poison can pose a health hazard to your chickens as well as other animals, so instead I recommend these five easy, precautionary measures to keep rodents out of your coop:
1) Block any possible entry points into the coop - Mice and rats (as well as snakes and weasels) can get through a hole as small as one inch. Securely cover all the windows, vents and other openings in your coop with 1/2″ hardware cloth to prevent unauthorized entry.


2) Plant Some Mint - Mint is a natural rodent repellent.  Spearmint, peppermint,  wintergreen, even lemon balm which is also in the mint family, will all help deter mice.  Try planting some mint around the coop and run in the spring.  Sprinkle fresh or dried mint in the coop and nesting boxes year round. (Try my all natural lavender mint spray as a coop refresher and rodent repellent) CAUTION: Mint is very evasive and will spread rapidly if nor contained.  The use of several pots around the fence line or raised beds is recomended.
3) Get a Cat or Dog - Our cat and dog both do a great job of keeping our barn and chicken yard free of rodents.  Although neither has access to the run itself, their scent and presence in the barn and coop area make mice think twice about taking up residence in the area.

4) Don’t Leave Feed in the Coop - Remove the feed from the coop and run each night to remove that food source.  Keep feed in predator-proof covered metal, wood or plastic bins or containers.

5) Widen the Roosts - Did you know that rats and mice will chew on sleeping chickens’ feet while they sleep? Chickens sleep extremely soundly and leaving toes sticking out is just too tempting for rodents. Replace your roosting bars with 2×4′s with the 4″ side facing up so your hens’ feet are covered by their bodies from the top and the board on the bottom. This will also prevent frost bite.  (Unlike wild birds, chickens don’t necessarily need to curl their feet when they sleep, and actually prefer to sleep flat-footed)

Just these few adjustments can help to keep mice and rats from deciding your coop would make a perfect winter hideout for them.
~photo source: pinterest~

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