Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Poultry and Pets => The Hen House => Topic started by: HelenMckenzie on March 16, 2012, 16:04

Title: rats
Post by: HelenMckenzie on March 16, 2012, 16:04
hi all,
it has come to light that we have a major rat problem in our garden >:(

When we first acquired our first chicken we kept one of the massive bag of pellets in our shed.  It wasn't until it was nearly 3/4 empty we realized that rats had got into our shed and been feasting on the food.  We now no longer keep any food or bedding in the shed, but the rats have become a huge problem.  They are just wondering around our garden, eating all the chicken food that we put out in the run, it is in feeders on the wire fence, but they just climb up and get to it.  They are also eating the treats we get for them as well.

We have got some rat poison and have put it in a little bowl in the middle of a big piece of piping that the chickens cant get near it and am hoping this will have an effect, although there was one roaming on our decking this morning and we put the stuff out last night.

My concern is I have a toddler and baby and am worried about them playing outside with the rats about due to the urine.  Our family are saying we need to get rid of our 2 chickens because of the rats but our toddler loves having them so much and I have grown very attached to them, but obviously the children's heath is more important.

does anyone have any advice on what we can do to prevent the rats once we, hopefully can get rid of them???

sorry for being so long winded!!

Title: Re: rats
Post by: hen-night on March 16, 2012, 17:35
Hi Helen, If the rat problem is that bad I would get in some professional help. Some councils give a free service some dont, but they will be able to help and advise you.
The last thing you want with a toddler is a serious vermin problem so get some help.
Title: Re: rats
Post by: kegs on March 16, 2012, 17:47
I had a similar problem this year and when we had the bad snow I could see where they'd been too!  There wasn't an endless trail of urine and I don't think rats are incontinent.  If you make sure in future that all of your chicken feed is kept in metal bins that should help and if you can it's worth buying a metal treadle feeder for the chickens.  It takes a while to train them to use it but they do get used to it.

I tried some 'poison' that is safe for chickens but that had no effect so I bought the one by Rent**il and left it on the small trays under some home made rat runs which I keep topped up.  It says on the instructions that you have to wait a week for it to do its job and in my case it took 6 days before I no longer had to top it up.  I also had a trap nearby but they were too clever to go near it!  Good luck.
Title: Re: rats
Post by: jamima on March 16, 2012, 18:12
I have rat poison down 52 wks a year, where the hens or dog cant get it, living in the countryside i think we all have this problem, i know all my neighbours do too, they can get immune to the poison my neighbour says, just have to keep on top of it, sorry not much help.
Title: Re: rats
Post by: 8doubles on March 16, 2012, 18:21
There will always be rats about to take advantage of any food source be it chicken food, bird tables or pet food . Controlling the rats with traps and poison , clearing away uneaten food and raising the coop off the ground to avoid them nesting underneath should solve the problem.

You are right to be concerned about infection from rat urine as they can be fatal. Brown rats have the same habits as the black rats here,
Title: Re: rats
Post by: Mrs Bee on March 16, 2012, 18:48
hi Helen. Gawd what a nasty thing to happen. I sympathise as we had a rat problem in the Autumn the were getting at out apple store. So we stored them in the old fridge until we sorted out the rats. We put down rat traps so we could see that we got 'em :D
And we keep traps by our chickens and in the utlity where we store our produce. It is nasty and upsetting but don't get rid of your chooks. :(

Keep your feed in metal dustbins. I bag of feed will fit in an Ikea metal storage bin. About 15.

You can put the feed in a hanging feeder high enough for the chickens to reach and not near to anything that the rats could climb on. To be on the safe side take the feed in at night.

As you have a significant infestation get professional help straight away. In our area the council come and sort them out for free. A lot of councils do.

It is nasty; it does make your skin crawl but once they are taken care of you can be careful about storage and not leaving food around for them and continue to keep your chickens.
You may be a bit twitchy for a while watching to see if they really are gone. I know I was.
But it will pass and having chickens is such great fun.

Good luck. ;)
Title: Re: rats
Post by: joyfull on March 16, 2012, 18:50
rats will wee as they walk and can carry weils disease. If you develop flu like symptoms then go to the Dr's and inform him that rats have been in your coop and run so he/she can give you the necessary treatment.
When I worked at a country park where we had a couple of lakes we had to follow the above advice if we fell out of the boats on the lakes or slipped into the water.
Title: Re: rats
Post by: Raven81 on March 16, 2012, 18:58
We had a few rats a couple of months ago, for a couple of reasons Southampton had an influx of rats at the time.  We used eradibait for ours as its friendly to chickens, dogs and cats.

I think its your decision as to how big the problem is as to whether pest control is necessary, but once the food source has been removed it should cut down the number you get.  Remember there are rats everywhere anyway, they are just rarely seen. 

You say you have decking, just a thought, is it possible to wash the decking with disinfectant before the children go out? just speaking logically that should cut down the risk of infection.
Title: Re: rats
Post by: Markw on March 16, 2012, 19:14
Hi Helen

As Joyfull has said about weils disease, make sure you wash your hands if you think you have come into contact with their urine. We used to always carry the weils disease cards as we were always working where there was a good chance of rats being there.

We were told by the health advised, the infection is normally transmitted through an open wound or scratch. or through the inner ear membrane via contaminated water.

It is always best to be on the safe side, just make sure you wash your hands and cover up any cuts or scratches.

When you get them under control things should be just fine.
Title: Re: rats
Post by: ANHBUC on March 16, 2012, 20:43
Council pest control will sort it out for you but in our area you have to be a council tenant to get it free and if you are not you have to pay.  >:(
Title: Re: rats
Post by: hen-night on March 16, 2012, 23:51
You see Helen, your not on your own with this problem, most poultry keepers who like myself live near farmland have a problem with rats.
We had rats long before we ever kept hens mostly because of neighbours feeding wild birds with what I call rat balls.Rats are drawn by food supply so if you take that away it may help the problem.
Title: Re: rats
Post by: Dopey113 on March 17, 2012, 01:00
Get a glue trap, not nice i know, but at the end of the day there vermin, i had rats and mice in the poly eating seeds and seedlings, I tried traps, but all they did was eat the bate on them without setting the traps off, poison will probably work after a week or so (all my seedling will be gone by then) I put 2 glue traps down and caught two in 2 days, and two more 2 day, I have had them laid on the floor for only two day now, and caught 4 that's how good the traps are