How to keep Rats out of Henhouse : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Help our hen house has been safe for six years, but now the rats have found a way in. How do me make it safe again? They have eaten all of my chickens.

-- Sheryl R Clifton (, August 17, 2001


Is your hen house on post or ground? You can put metal on post ,they can not climb up. you could put chicken wire on bottom and sides, I am assuming that they are coming in from the bottom. Lexi

-- Lexi Green (, August 17, 2001.

how about a dog,, or cats, could try trapping them,, if you get one,, and leave it there,, the rest wont go near it. Then seal it all up

-- STAN (, August 17, 2001.

Are you sure the rats are eating them? We had trouble with the rats getting in and taking the feed, but never eating chickens! Sorry about this development.

-- mary (, August 17, 2001.

Our coop has cement blocks as its foundation and a poured cement floor. the walls are wooden. I think they have chewed thru somewhere we are patching cracks in the cement and holes in the wood. Our wire is buried around the run. It kept preditors out for a long time. I'm pretty sure rats did it we've seen them in the house they attack in the dark. What else can we do? We love having chickens.

-- Sheryl R. Clitton (, August 17, 2001.

Make sure there are no debris or trash piles near your chicken house. Pick up the feeders at night. The chickens are sleeping anyways :-)!! Do your chickens have high enough roosts? I've found that by making the coop as inhospitable as possible for rats...they'll leave. Good luck!

-- Marcia (, August 17, 2001.

Do you have cats? We have two inside, and several outside cats. The only mice or rats we ever see around here are the ones the cats are carrying off! Sorry to hear about your chickens!

-- Cheryl in KS (, August 17, 2001.

Thoroughly clean out the house. Store food elsewhere in steel cans with lids. Clean and empty all feeders and waterers. Get no new chickens until traps no longer catch rats or mice. Keep the grass mowed around the hen house. Scratch up the chicken yard so that any dirt areas can be cleansed by rain as well.

-- Anne (, August 17, 2001.

Never put feed directly on the ground - the poultry won't get it all, and what's left can draw vermin.

What do you mean by chickens? If these are new-hatched or just a few weeks old, then yes - they're within the capabilities of a rat to kill. If they're more grown than that, then it's likely to be something else. Are the bodies left behind? If so, even if the rats didn't kill them, they may well have eaten at them after they were dead. As others said, use this opportunity with no poultry to kill all vermin. Just put rat bait where they're used to finding poultry food. To bait rats and mice when you do have poultry (but not young chickens), put about 3' lengths of 4" pipe on the ground along walls, with the poison in the centre - rodents will get to it, grown birds can't.

Look for inconspicuous holes in the ground too - rats burrow.

-- Don Armstrong (, August 17, 2001.

limit the areas where feed is available to rats fix secure feed boxes for stored feed close /cover securly feeders at night and build some bait boxes that the poultry cant get too preferably outside of the fence and bait with a rat poison .and yes rats will often eat young chicks or somtimes eat setting henson the nest as i have been told. i would recomend secure bait boxes maitained in all out buildings to keep rats and mice from getting a foothold

-- george darby (, August 17, 2001.

All good answers for prevention. I think though that you might have a weasel getting in. They can squeeze through a rat hole and will kill the chickens as they roost.You probably won't spot them as they are strictly nocturnal and people shy.

-- Kate Henderson (, August 17, 2001.

I agree..might be a weasel. Does a weasel eat chickens or only suck the blood from them ???? How able having some "Homestead Fun"..get the old 22 out and sit up there at night. You might just get a few. We did this for a while after we first moved here but the rats would sleep with the goats. UGH !!!But between the 22 and the barn cats I never see a full size rat. They get them as babies and leave them for me as a gift. Lucky Me !! Good Luck !!

-- Helena Di Maio (, August 17, 2001.

We have started taking feeders up at night,or feeding only what can be finished in daylight.We have also kept all feed in the house,not practical for everyone,but I can control damage to the barn better when the critters can't feast on what gets spilled etc.When the new barn is done we can use an old freezer to store the feed.

-- teri murphy (, August 18, 2001.

If you don't have chickens now, clean everything out. You say it's a poured cement floor. Is it possible to put down a couple layers of 1/4 inch "rat wire"/hardware cloth and pour a couple inches of new floor on top of that? I've heard of people using ground glass mixed into the cement when pouring for small areas that they want to keep rats out of, rats won't chew into the ground glass.

-- Chelsea (, August 18, 2001.

I am renting a house that isn't sealed very well. Insects get in on any outside wall. I've kept food grade Diatomaceous Earth sprinkled around the floors and every day vacuum up the dead bugs.

A friend insisted I get the same gizmo she has. She got rid of the rats in her feed room and the spiders in her house. I got the gizmo, plugged it in, and after 3 days (altho they say it can take up to 2 weeks to clean the critters out of the area) no longer wake up to a house full of dead bugs. My vacuum thanked me! -G- Seems strange not to kill a few scorpians every day!

The gizmo is Pest Offense. It doesn't kill, but it chases things away. But you can't use it if you have any pet rodents in the house like mice, rats, squirrels, gerbils, hamsters, bats, etc. (Well, some folks have different kinds of 'pets!') It doesn't hurt birds, fish, dogs, cats, etc.

-- ~Rogo (, August 18, 2001.

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