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Thread: Damn rats

  1. #1
    d000hg is offline Rooter
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    Default Damn rats

    Rats have taken up residence next to our coop. Living in the countryside we assume they've always been around but there's evidence they are establishing a proper colony - tunnels appearing inside and outside the run, etc.

    We've stopped giving them scraps but the feeder is large and hard to move.
    Food supplies are in locked boxes (and they haven't chewed through the box, we checked)
    We got an electronic trap which they keep setting off, but no dead rats to be found.

    We haven't seen any evidence of the chickens being attacked, or of rats climbing into the coop - the door stays open since the run is enclosed and locked - but I've heard these things are a risk?

    So what should we do, and what is the risk to the birds? I had expected the birds might attack rats. Our run is enclosed but with mesh rats could get through the holes, though they seem to prefer to dig underneath. The run is on bare soil so I wondered about laying smaller-mesh wire mesh around the run, and on the ground so it's a fully enclosed cube. So at least they aren't inside.

    I would rather avoid poison but we need to avoid an infestation.
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  2. #2
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    We have a mass of rat runs inside and around our coup. I think you just gave to accept they will continue to be there but try to reduce their numbers and make it less hospitable if possible.
    Remove all feeders when you close them up at night...or buy treddle ones instead.
    Store feed in metal containers as they can chew through thick plastic.
    Remove eggs as soon as you can once they are laid.
    We put turmeric, chilli, garlic down various runs and blocked them off with stones...
    And finally use live rat traps and snapper traps to catch them. You MUST check them very regularly during the day so as to put them through as little trauma as possible.

    There are a few threads on here which discuss alternative methods of reducing rat populations-have a bit of a look around

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Nicos; 25-03-2020 at 08:04 PM.
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    Scarlet is offline Gone with the Wind
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    Same advice as Nicos really. We've no neighbours and back onto fields. Next door building is used to store animal feed.
    Our coup was overrun with rat runs. We found live traps worked best for us. Though they soon start eating eggs if you don't collect frequently. I also borrowed a ferret on several occasions but we never got rid of them - just kept the numbers down.
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  4. #4
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    They were tunneling into the run here too.
    I covered the run floor with small mesh wire netting, and raked the "compost" back on top so that the chooks wouldn't catch their claws when scratching about.
    Their feed is in a treadle feeder and the food stores are in a dustbin in a distant shed.
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  5. #5
    d000hg is offline Rooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by veggiechicken View Post
    They were tunneling into the run here too.
    I covered the run floor with small mesh wire netting, and raked the "compost" back on top so that the chooks wouldn't catch their claws when scratching about.
    Their feed is in a treadle feeder and the food stores are in a dustbin in a distant shed.
    I wondered if rats would chew through the netting, how's this gone for you? I did want to make sure it didn't get in the way when we're clearing the run, catching on the spade etc.

    Not keen on live traps, out in the country we really need to reduce the population not move them though I take no pleasure in it.

    It seems a recent thing, we've had the birds for 3 years without problems but have recently started saving kitchen scraps to feed them and wonder if that's the difference, or a coincidence? They don't seem very interested in the chicken food but we do see them sneaking in to eat scraps.
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  6. #6
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    So far so good - but I'm not uncovering the wire to see if they've chewed through it!

    Stop the scraps. once rats know there's easy food, they'll keep coming.
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  7. #7
    Scarlet's Avatar
    Scarlet is offline Gone with the Wind
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    Quote Originally Posted by d000hg View Post
    Not keen on live traps, out in the country we really need to reduce the population not move them though I take no pleasure in it.
    Hmm, you don't release vermin when you catch them in a live trap. They need to be humanely killed.
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  8. #8
    d000hg is offline Rooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet View Post
    Hmm, you don't release vermin when you catch them in a live trap. They need to be humanely killed.
    Thanks for clarifying. What's normally done? I've seen claims drowning is not the best so do you let them out and jump on them, or shoot them, or is drowning the norm?

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