So you have problems with rats? We were there. And even if it seems hopeless, there is light at the end of the tunnel Follow these step-by-step instructions to get as far away from the rats in the hen house as possible.
In a few weeks you’ll be safe from the rats!
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The best way to get rats into your poultry house
Step 1: Know your enemy
Before you go straight to rat control, it is important to know some basic facts about your problem. You can’t defeat an enemy if you don’t know him, can you?
Fun and smelly facts about rats:
A few rats can produce up to 2000 pups a year. This means that a few rats in your poultry house can quickly lead to a rat infestation if they are not tested.
Rats are creatures of the night. If you see them during the day, you have a serious problem. Either you’re looking at the infection or they’re starving and so desperate for food that they’ll do anything to get it.
Rats have teeth harder than iron. They can gnaw at a number of things they shouldn’t logically be able to gnaw at:
- Gauze wire
- Slamo block and tile
- Plastic bags and dustbins
- Lead pipes
- A tree, no matter how thick it is.
Basically, anything that is not made of thick steel probably has rat teeth.
Rats can be squeezed through holes up to a quarter of their diameter. Some can even drill holes in chicken wire. This fact, combined with chewing, is why chewing gauze is not your best defense.
The rats will kill and eat the chickens, and they will desperately attack the adult chickens.
They are known for some terrible things like fleas, ticks, plague, salmonella, hantavirus and haemorrhagic fever.
Rats can dig up to a few metres deep and jump up to eight metres high. They are also experienced climbers and can enter your barn or run from above if it is unprotected.
Rats can walk longer than a camel without water. They can survive in the water for a long time – they are known to trample the water for three days and swim a quarter of a mile.
Rats eat almost anything, including vegetables from your garden and livestock.
Now that you know all about them, how do you get rid of the rats?
To get rid of the rats in the henhouse, a three-way approach is needed. They must take their home away from them, let them starve to death and go to war against all the remaining rats.
First of all, you should take a few steps to make your home as unattractive as possible for a few rats who want to eat, sleep and sleep.
Step 2: Home Leave.
If you offer rodents a beautiful habitat, why would they leave? Your first task is to make your home a terrible place for rodents. It will not destroy all rats, but it will help to get them out and prevent them from nesting and producing thousands of baby rats in and around your hen house.
Clear the mess
Rats like to live and hide in confusing places. If you have a lot of tools, stones, wood or rubble on your property, you can be sure that there are rats living there. Get everyone out of here. Put it on shelves or hang it on the walls to prevent rats from building houses on it.
Try to keep the grass around the chicken coop, don’t let those rats hide anywhere.
Rat-free poultry house
Let me start by saying that this is incredibly hard to do. As for the rats, if there’s a will, there’s a way. If your chicken coop is made of wood or has a dirty floor, you are likely to see rats chewing or digging in your coop at night. If you can build a chicken coop from scratch, build it at least one foot off the ground to make it harder for rats to hide and enter the coop. On the other hand, you make your chicken coop out of cast cement.
If your floor is covered with wood or dirt, cover it with a cloth of the fittings and make sure the corners and edges are well covered. If possible, bend the fixtures where they meet the wall and fix them a few centimetres higher in the wall. Rats usually enter through corners or where the walls touch the floor or ceiling.
Filling and closing holes
If rats gnaw holes in or under the henhouse, fill them with steel wool and cover them with a foggy cloth. Fill in all the holes in the ground around your chicken coop, like rats like tunnels. Be persistent in filling in the holes, if they make new ones the next day, fill them in. Don’t forget that you’re trying to convince their little brains that this is not the ideal place to live, and that you’ll have to work there.
Many people who keep chickens also have compost heaps. If you don’t, you can move on to the next board, but if you do, you’ll have to close that pile.
Rats and mice like to live in compost. It offers everything you need, comfortable bedding, a safe place to grow and lots of food. If you don’t want rats to live in your compost, make it as uncomfortable as possible for them.
First of all you have to stop putting the leftovers in an open basket. Instead, place them in a steel dustbin with small holes in it. In this way the material can be composted until it is sufficiently destroyed and rodents can reach it. When dealing with rats we read and repeat that rats only use food that has been cooked in compost. It’s not true that they eat anything edible when they’re hungry. Put every piece of food in steel baskets or you feed the rats.
You can always compost garden waste, leaves, straw and feces in an outdoor heap, but remember that it is a great place for rats to nest. To keep them away, it is often necessary to soak a pile of water and turn a fork every few days to disturb the potential rodent density.
Step 3: Hungry rats
The main reason you have rats is to feed them. I know you’re not in your backyard throwing food on the floor and calling all the rodents around, but if they’re on your property, it’s because you’ve got the merchandise and you put it right back. The only way to get rid of the rats permanently is to stop feeding them. In order to do this, all bases must be closed.
They’ll never leave, and I mean they’ll never leave if you keep feeding them. You can catch and poison them with thousands at a time, but there will be more if there is any food left. If you feed them, they’ll come.
Did I get you right? Okay, now let’s see how you feed the rats.
Frequent egg collection
Rats do not like raw eggs, they prefer to be cooked first, but they steal them and eat them when they have nothing else to eat. Keep collecting eggs and never let your eggs spend the night in the chicken coop. My friend wondered why her eggs disappeared from the nest boxes every day, and she was about to blame the hens when she dug up the nest box and found a whole nest of rats that lived there. What a perfect place for a rat!
It’s a big one. Most people who eat chicken keep their chicken food outside where it is convenient. Most of them also store food in plastic packaging. Rats can gnaw on a plastic basket in an hour and feed on it all night long. Instead, you can store and feed your cattle in steel trays with tightly fitting lids. Any other type of container can (and will) chew for several hours.
Do not leave garbage on the street.
Rats chew plastic bins and pick up the grease from your garbage every night. Either you store your waste outside in a steel bin with a tight lid, in a garage or shed, or wait until the day of the garbage collection to take it outside. It doesn’t have to be forever, but until you have the situation under control, you’ll have to starve the rats every way you can.
Do not leave automatic chicken feed dispensers or water valves on overnight.
If the chickens’ food and bait stays up all night, it means that the rats eat and drink them all night long. This not only feeds the rats, but also threatens the health of your herd if the rats transmit their diseases and parasites through water and food.
You have three options:
- Bring the trough every night and pick it up every morning.
- Find out exactly how much food your chicks need and give them only that amount per day.
- Or buy a rat feeder for the chickens. If you go that way, we suggest you go through Grandpa’s feeders, because they’re the only ones we’ve been able to work with.
Just one more thing: If you feed the chickens during the day with snacks and slices from the table, clean up the leftovers before you go to bed. This includes the boredom of the floating blocks that will feed the rat family for several months. The aim of this step is to leave no trace of what is edible on your property at night.
Keeping small chicks indoors at night
Desperate rats will do anything for food, even kill and eat chickens. At night the rats steal the chicks of the sixth graders just below the mother, and by the time the mother found out, it was too late.
Step 4: War
The last step in getting rid of the rats in the barn is to list and check the rats that remain after the previous steps.
A good mousetrap is your best defense against a threatening rat population. Not only do cats hunt and kill rats, but the smell of cats on your property will also help to convince rodents that there is no home. Now, if you, like us, and your lazy, worthless cat would rather play with rats than chase them away, take the next step.
Setting the traps
We’ve only found one type of trap that works very well. He’s fast and efficient, he kills a rat by breaking his neck. Snap E is made of durable plastic, and we have used them and lent them to others to use for two years, and they are still uninterrupted.
We lure the rats with chicken feed. But seriously. Anyway, that’s what they want, and when we realized they weren’t interested in peanut butter or meat, we tried chicken feed. It worked miraculously well. If we had problems with rats, we set 10 traps per night and usually catch 2 to 6 rats per night.
Some advice on these traps:
- Rats like to move around the edges of walls because they feel safe. It’s the best place to set traps.
- Make sure you only put the bait in the small cup, not in the plate or outside the trap. If a rat inadvertently provokes it by eating food that has been spilled next to the trap and not getting into it, it will remember to stay away from it again.
- Make sure not to leave traps where other unsuspecting animals, such as your dog or your neighbour’s cat, may enter. Generally we block the traps and leave little room for rodents to continue.
If you are willing to pay a little more for a more humane method of rat extermination, try Zapper Rat to solve your problem. You still have a body to clean, but as you know, it’s not as dirty as a carabiner.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of cleaning up dead rats, you can always buy the Hawaiian Heart Trap. Of course it’s hard to take care of a living rat and find another place for it.
I say it from the beginning: Watch out for toxins. This should be your last resort, if nothing else works. I know it sounds like a simple solution to a big problem, but using poison to get rid of rodents can cause big problems on the road. If a rodent dies somewhere outside, it may be eaten by your chickens, cat, dog or wildlife nearby. This means that poisoning one rat actually poisons other animals.
Another drawback of poison is that over the years rats have developed immunity to many toxins, and others have simply learned not to eat them. This means that you will often have to change the type of poison because it will not be effective for a long time.
Even if you manage to make the rats eat the poison and they die of it, they will probably die in a very difficult place, like under a henhouse or in the walls, and you will remember this terrible mistake every day because of the stench.
If you decide to use poison to get rid of rats in your chicken coop, I strongly advise you to use a poison distribution station so that you do not have to worry about accidental poisoning of your chickens or other animals.
An alternative to the poison that many chicken farmers have found in their work is mixing cornmeal with plaster from Paris. The rats will eat the mixture, but will not be able to digest the plaster and die. It can also kill rats in hard-to-reach places. But this rules out the possibility of poisoning your animals or wildlife if they find a rat and eat it.
Call a specialist
If you don’t get rid of the rats on your own, you’re gonna need more help than I can give you. I’m a big fan of what I do, and if you’re reading this, you probably are. But sometimes you have to throw in the towel and bend over for the new rat protectors. I’m joking. Call the professionals and pay a lot of money to clean up this mess for you.
Hopefully these tips will help you get rid of your rat house as soon as possible!
Rats aren’t your problem in the henhouse, but mice? We have a guide to help you get rid of mice!
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