As a backyard chicken owner, your first priority will be to keep them safe. Chickens that are left outdoors have many predators. As for rats, would keeping chickens attract rats? Also, do they pose any threats to the chickens?
Do chickens attract rats? Yes, chickens do attract rats. Typically, it’s not the chicken itself, but the food that they leave behind. After the food is left for some time, it will begin to smell. That smell is what attracts the rats to the chicken coop. If the coop isn’t secured, the rats will find their way in. Once they are in the coop, they will eat any chicken eggs that are around and could even attack baby chickens as well.
Do Keeping Chickens Cause Rats?
Keeping chickens do cause rats to be around. It’s not the chickens that they are after. Rats know well that they can become food for the chickens if they are seen.
Instead, rats are looking for food and water that the chickens leave behind. Chickens tend to make a mess after eating. They will spill food and water all over the place.
After a while, the food will start to smell, which will attract the rats to come. If there is a lot of food available, rats tend to make their home close by. This is one of the reasons why you may notice rats are always on your property.
To prevent rats from coming close to the chickens or onto your property, you’ll need to make sure that any leftover foods are clean up after they finish.
Rats are stealth creatures and will only come out when there are no chickens around. Sometimes, they will eat all the leftover foods and will try to enter the chicken coop to find more food.
Will Rats Attack Chickens?
Rats will rarely attack chickens. They know very well that they can become easy prey for chickens.
However, rats will attack young chickens and eggs. Since rats are nocturnal, they can kill a young chicken easily since the chickens can’t see very well at night. Also, the eggs are easy for them to get to as well at night.
In some rare cases, rats are known to attack adult chickens. This will usually happen when the food is scarce.
To prevent the rats from attacking your chickens and eating the eggs, it’s a good idea to have a well-built chicken coop.
Below are some of the things to consider making the coop more secure:
- The coop should not have any opening. Check to make sure all corners of the coop don’t have any damages.
- The coop should be fitted with a 10 mm x 10 mm galvanized wire mesh. Ordinary chicken wire is not enough, as the rats are able to squeeze through them.
- Install high-quality locks, padlocks, and sliding bolts. This will prevent the rats from forcing their way in.
- Place the nesting boxes off the ground. It’s recommended to keep them about 10 inches off the ground.
- Use only high-quality timber to build the coop. Rats are great at gnawing their ways through the woods.
How Do I Get Rid Of Rats In My Chicken Coop?
If you are having problems with rats in and around the chicken coop, there are different methods you can use.
Below are 5 different methods to getting rid of rats:
Rat poison is the most popular form of pest control. It’s very effective at exterminating rats and keeping them from coming back.
However, you’ll need to be very careful when using rat poison. Most rat poison is designed to look like food, and your chickens could have mistaken it for food.
One effective way to using rat poison is to fit them in bait boxes.
Bait boxes are another effective method of getting rid of rats. It’s designed to allow only rats and small rodents to enter the box. Chickens will be too large for them to enter.
The bait boxes are usually fitted with a scented poison to attract them into the box. Once inside, the rats will eat the poison. Within minutes, the poison will cause the rats to die.
If you have a few rats around, electric traps are a great method to use. The trap is usually battery-powered.
Inside the trap, you will place a piece of food. As the rat comes inside the trap, they will activate it by standing on a metal plate.
The rat is instantly killed by the electric shock.
Snap traps are popular to get rid of rats. They can kill the rat instantly.
Simply set the trap and place a piece of food on it. Then place the snap trap in the area where rats are known to be.
Be sure to place the trap away from chickens and other animals. This could be under the chicken coop or even on the coop or run.
If you rather not kill the rats, you can use humane traps. The trap is simply made with a door that just traps the rat.
You’ll want to make sure you have an area where you can place the rats after catching them. If it’s within a mile range, most rats will come back to the coop.
The last option to take care of the rat problem is to have a pet cat or dog. These animals are great at hunting rats.
For cats, you’ll want to get a barn cat. These species of cats are large and are better at dealing with rats.
For dogs, terriers are excellent at keeping the rat population down. Terriers are bred for hunting, so they have the skills to hunt rats.
Do rats stop chickens from laying eggs?
If there are rats in and around the coop, chickens will cease laying eggs. This is due to the stress that rats bring to the chickens. If there are eggs missing all the time, you’ll notice the hens will stop laying. If that happens, the first thing is to check for rats and other rodents.
Do chickens attract mice?
Chickens themselves don’t attract mice, but the food and water they leave behind do. Chickens are too large for mice to overpower and kill. Mice will look for leftover foods in the coop and run. Also, if there are chicken eggs around, the mice may eat them too.