Rats and Chickens

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mambo

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Rats and Chickens
« on: October 22, 2007, 06:17 »
Morning All,

I am pretty sure that we have a couple of rats who are burrowing under our compost heap. They seem to have a run from the compost heap across the garden and under the fence where they appear to be living under next door's decking. Currently no body is living nextdoor, but having been empty for almost a year we are expecting new neighbours soon. I check morning and night and there is no damage to the coup or run (my chooks are completly enclosed) so assume the rats know where they are but are ignoring them at the moment. Can anyone advise on the best way of getting rid of them? We want to put poison under the compost heap, but I'm concern that if a rat in the final throws managed to get into the coup and died, if the chickens pecked at it they would also be posoned and how would if effect the eggs they produced?

There was a bit of a scene last night when the four of them were pecking and ripping something apart. At first I thought it was a mouse, but it turned out to be a huge slug! I'm sure they would do the same with a dying rat or mouse. Can any one offer any help on this one?
Thanks Mambo

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SMIFFY

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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2007, 07:14 »
Morning Mambo, living in the middle of no-where, I am in a constant fight with mice and rats.I didn't want to use poison for the same reasons as yourself. I just went out and bought 3 large Rat Traps. I put them out on the rat runs each night after putting my girls to bed. So far it seems to be working as I get something whether mouse or rat each night.All I do then is collect them up before my girls come out in the morning. I have found that a cooked sausage brings in best results.
Hope this helps.
Good Luck.

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slowef

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Rats and Chickens
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2007, 09:09 »
Look at Muntys advice I have made one and not sure if its working but we have loads here, they go to the nest to die so hens pecking dead bodies should't be a problem apparently.  He is an experienced guy so if it works for him its good enough for me.  They are simple to make even I could do it.  I got some Roban to use as its for rats and mice but my kittens seem to be on the case of the mice :?  find at least one a day usually headless in the utility room :(

http://www.chat.allotment-garden.org/viewtopic.php?t=8854&highlight=rats

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mambo

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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2007, 09:48 »
Thanks for the advice,

I had a rat trap in the loft so have baited it with chocolate (but next time will try a sausage!) and will try Munty's run traps.

Interestingly, we have a raised pond which has an ajoining flower bed, and the critters appears to have also burrowed down there (hubby swears he can see paw prints, but I'm not so sure!). Also daren't put poison down there incase it gets disturbed and knocked into the water. We also have a dog, so don't want to put her at risk.

I'm thinking that we will all be seeing more of rats, I increased my composting to be more environmentally friendly but also because our council have reduced rubbish collections. Hubby thinks they may well leave the chooks alone as there's easier pickings from folks bins!

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muntjac

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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2007, 11:47 »
soon as they find the chuck feed they will be in  ,and they are loving your pond they will dig in the banks to make nests .and the compost heap will keep them nice and warm over winter ,start thinking plague now and you may get on top of them .the local council should be controlling rats on the nieghbouring properties and anywhere else they reside you ned to act now to stop it getting worse .get tunnels made and spread them around the areas where the rats live and go ,put bricks or heavy wieghts over them to stop any dog or child getting into them .use poison to control them now and back it up with traps ina few weeks .

see pic for rat tunnel design
 :wink:







entry hole for rats under concrete


undermining slabs by rats

rat trap in wood pile
still alive /............

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Bodger

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Rats and Chickens
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2007, 13:39 »
I posted this on the forum when I arrived. I thinks its worth having a look at. :D


Well I’m only really qualified to talk on one subject and as I would like to contribute to this new forum , my chosen topic as a one time professional pest controller, has got to be that of vermin.

In my work I use a veritable arsenal of rodenticide, pesticide, gas and traps against the constant menace of a seemingly ever growing throng of pests.

We as chicken keepers are in the frontline when it comes to the number one pest species. The Rat! We owe it to our neighbours, families and to our birds to wage a 365 days of the year all out war against the rat. I shouldn’t have to tell you of the dangers they pose but if you’d seen some of the sights that I’ve beheld, then you would understand why I say that even one rat on your place is unacceptable.

Ugh! Rats! I hate them.

The number one tool against rat has got to be poison. A good dog or a trap will catch rats but it will never get them all. The right poison put down in the right way often will.

When I turn out to an infestation I split the job into two definite halves. The first is to get rid of the rats and then just as importantly to try and prevent re-infestation .

Rats need two things to survive – that’s food and harbourage. If you can deny one or both of them, then you are on to a winner.

Most of the measures which need to be taken are just sheer common sense but if you are anything like me then you are an expert at putting off the blatantly obvious.

Firstly, do get yourself secure food bins with tight fitting lids. Don’t leave food in paper sacks and expect rats and mice to find the paper impenetrable.

Do try to feed your birds the right amount of food so that they clean up pretty quickly. Don’t leave great amounts at the bottom of runs especially after the birds have gone to roost.

Now onto harbourage. Harbourage is pest control jargon for somewhere to live. Unless you are fortunate enough to have tailor-made accommodation, the chances are that your bird houses will have inherent design faults that will encourage rats to stay for bed and breakfast with you. However if you keep your place tidy then you are on the right track.
By tidy, I mean get the scrap man in to remove that rusting pile of old junk and put a match to that pile of old wood or rubbish and generally get rid of that rat hotel!

Two things that I would suggest that you try and do whenever possible is to raise your existing sheds up off the floor and try to get 18 -24 inches clearance so that you can see if you have got unwanted visitors beneath your buildings.

Secondly, you can save all the tin sheet you can get and get it nailed flush to the bottom of all your doors and even consider using it to clad vulnerable areas

Now down to poison. The number one rule with poison is don’t skimp. Being ‘tight’ with your poison could mean that the rats get a sub-lethal dose and encourage resistance or bait shyness.

Warfarin has been on the market for 30-40 years and is known as a first generation anti-coagulant. You can still get it but it really has come to the end of its shelf life. With Warfarin you have to get the rats to eat an amount of poison over a period of time. Warfarin is what is known as a multi dose poison.

In the past ten years we have had the advent of a number of so called second generation anti-coagulants. They still use the same methodology to kill the rats but are single-dose poisons. The rats have to consume a lot less of the poison and only have to have one feed on the bait to get a good kill rate.

Down to practicalities. You need to keep poison down in the form of bait stations all year round and in that way you’ll never get a build up of vermin.

Bait stations can take the form of lengths of plastic or clay pipes placed in strategic positions. If you have the pipes about 3 foot long you can spoon the bait into the middle of it so that only rats can get at it.

Rat poison is now also sold in the form of wax blocks. These are excellent, if a bit expensive. They are weather resistant and can be nailed to the sides of sheds on rat runs and are less likely to attract the chickens.

One thing that I would advise against is the use of scatter bags. Although they might appear handy they aren’t as good as they are cracked up to be. Rat colonies have a definite hierarchy and the dominant rats often carry the bags away to keep them from their lesser brethren, hide them and forget where they put them so the poison is lost and therefore wasted.

Yeah! When it comes to pests I’m a mine of information and could literally go on and on, and if any of you members need advice on rodents or insects etc, then just PM me !  :D

I have some pictures of how to set Fenn traps for rats which I'll root out as well :D

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muntjac

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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2007, 13:56 »
brilliant thanks a lot bodger old chap :wink:  always better hearing the real facts  about how the jobs done

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Bodger

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Rats and Chickens
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2007, 14:15 »
Fenn traps set in the right places and in the right way can be a useful tool in the fight against rats.



They can be set in wooden tunnels like these. This keeps none target species such as cats and dogs safe from them. Rats also love to run through tunnels and the use of a tunnel actually assists in catching the rats as well as being safer. Set you tunnels along wire netting fence margins and along side your chicken sheds.


In the picture you should just about be able to see the single strand of mains electric fence wire that I use around all my pens to stop foxes from digging in .

Here's one I caught earlier. The rat is killed instantly by having its body crushed by the Fenn.

Beat this hamster Manuel !





A genuine 16" :shock:  :shock:  :shock:

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muntjac

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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2007, 14:16 »
can i borow a  saddle  :shock:

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tallulah

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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2007, 14:58 »
Hi, I'm new to this forum.  I have 2 lovely hens in the back garden.  We've been ravaged by rats this year, and I was on the point of getting the hens re-homed.  I'm such a wimp when it comes to killing anything, or poisoning anything, or hurting anything in any way, that I avoided addressing the rat problem by sticking my head in the sand.  My neighbours however were affected by this so I had to take action.  I had a large compost heap next to a shed, which the rats tunnelled in, and then straight through into the shed, playing havoc with everything there.  The hen food was in plastic bins - silly me - these were nawed through.  Then the rats were under a second shed, which is raise an inch off the concrete.  So many homes for them.  The council came and put down anticoagulant in various places, and I put the hens elsewhere so I could get rid of all food sources.  It worked.  For a while .... now they're back.  I need to harden myself to put some more lethal poison down under the shed - if I could just persuade myself that 'it won't hurt, and they'll just drift off into a pleasant sleep'!  We have a lurcher (lethal to rabbits, but not to rats) and a terrier, who stakes the shed out but has never caught one.  The cat bypasses the rats altogether and goes for rabbit.  Useless animals!  Interestingly, they all get on with the hens, and they mingle in one large flock of bird & mammal.   I suppose my wimpish nature isn't unusual - any advice welcome!

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muntjac

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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2007, 15:06 »
where abouts in suffolk are you tallulah you definatly need a control system in place now ...and welcome to the site .pop up to welcomes and say hiya  :wink:

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Bodger

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Rats and Chickens
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2007, 15:13 »
This sounds nasty and I really don't want to be but if you keep chickens you should be prepared to deal with any vermin that they may attract.

Rats are a serious health hazard to you, your family and to your neighbours. Its a responsibility IMO when you undertake to keep any livestock, not just by law but also morally.

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tallulah

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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2007, 15:22 »
Thanks Munty and Bodger - I live near Woodbridge Munty.  Yes, I do definately need a control system in place.  And yes I agree that I have a moral duty apart from anything else, to keep the area clear of rats, its not a nasty thing to say, just true - I said I was a wimp didn't I?  My husband is even more of a wimp so I get no sound advice from him.  I love my hens, and love keeping them, and also value my neighbours' health as well as my own, so am working toward a solution.  I keep the garden scrupulously clean now, best I can, and we stopped feeding the garden birds in the spring, thanks to the rats.  Best poison?  Easy to get hold of?

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muntjac

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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2007, 15:26 »
you can get it at farm suppliers around your area they stock 2 or 3 brands of poison both in blocks and seed preperations i would advise going for the seed in your situation..make and  place the rat tunnels as shown on here following the advice given by bodger and myself to get them sorted .you will succeed  :wink:  :lol:  i live up in lowestoft and have regular rats coming in from the fields now winters here :D

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tallulah

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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2007, 15:29 »
Thanks for that!  I'll get the wood out - just about to make raised beds so will get it done at same time.



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