Chicken keepers and Rats.

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Bodger

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Chicken keepers and Rats.
« on: August 30, 2007, 11:53 »
This is a bit that I did for my chicken club magazine a few years ago. I hope people find it to be useful. :D

RATS

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 :D  :D

Don't have nightmares :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

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GrannieAnnie

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Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2007, 14:51 »
Thanks for that info Bodger, it was very interesting!

Our dog is very good at getting rid of the vermin around here, and you are right, she'll never get them all, because we have dykes/land drains all over here, and that's where they live.  But thankfully, we don't see them very often.

But I'm sure you're info will be much appreciated by a lot of people on this forum!

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Aunt Sally

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Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2007, 16:04 »
Thanks for that information bodger, very informative  :!:   I'll add it to our useful topic sticky  :D
Important Advice from the NSALG - frequently updated 
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mad mark

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2009, 10:19 »
I have a wooden shed and have put four ladies in on Sunday should I put poison down straight away as my wife is paranoid about getting rats. The garden is enclosed with stone walls with a wooden gate and we have never seen any rats yet. :ohmy: :)
Mad Mark

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poultrygeist

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2009, 10:23 »
Your walls and gate certainly won't keep them out. I would say, yes, if your wife is bothered by them it will do no harm providing you make sure no other animals can get to it.

The usual advice is to put some under a piece of guttering next to a wall or edge. They like to run next to walls, hedges, etc.

Beyond that, I know nowt about poisons. :)

Rob 8)

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kopperdrake

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2009, 12:45 »
The only problem with poison is if the rat is caught and eaten by another creature then surely it will also affect that animal? We have Tawny, Barn and Little Owls local to us and I'd be loath to put anything like rat poison down. Likewise goes for any rat lying dead from poison where any scavenger animal can get to it. We shoot them and make our food supplies impossible to get at, so far it seems to have kept on top of them.

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poultrygeist

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2009, 13:30 »
Valid point. :)

I think the theory is that the rat will take the poison to its burrow and die there but tbh I've no idea.
We too have tawnys and a few stray cats which is maybe why we don't see any rodents.

Rob 8)

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Vember

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2009, 14:59 »
There is a bait that is recommended by the Barn Owl Trust that just kills the rat and not anything that might eat the rat after :) It's called Eradibait, I've used it and not seen one for ages (touches wood quickly) :D

Says on the tub - "Ideal for use in areas where there is a risk of primary or secondary poisoning" :)

Sarah :D

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toshmoo

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 18:54 »
Thanks Bodger. 
I am new to chicken keeping and i am about to get my first chickens next week. I found the information very helpful.
My problem is, that my wife has agreed for me to keep chickens in the garden and  she would be terrified if rats moved in. I have never seen a rat were we live, but does it automatically follow that when i get chickens i will automatically get Rats. If i follow your advice and am very careful about chicken feed and having the housing off the floor etc, and being ultra clean about the run/house.
Would or could this prevent Rats from coming to my garden, or is it  inevitable. Any help or advice is welcome. 
Thanks Tony

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raeburg

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 19:01 »
My girls killed a young rat when it tried to get in their coop during broad daylight today!  They didn't bother eating it but it was very dead!

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poultrygeist

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 19:03 »
Hi Tony. First of all, welcome to the forums. :)

If you'd like to introduce yourself to the wider membership, you can pop over to the welcome forum.

We've had 6 hens in a fixed run for about 16 months now and, although it's no guarantee, we've never seen any sign of a rat. I have seen the odd mouse but I'd expect that where we live anyway.
I have left spillages overnight occasionally and corn is sometimes left on the lawn for the birds and it's always there untouched in the morning.
If you are clean and tidy, depending on your situation, there's no reason why hen-keeping alone will attract rats. Obviously, you may already have them in or around your garden, in which case you may start to notice them.

Feel free to ask any other questions you have. I hope we'll see plenty of you around. :)

Rob 8)

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toshmoo

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2009, 19:23 »
Hi Tony. First of all, welcome to the forums. :)

If you'd like to introduce yourself to the wider membership, you can pop over to the welcome forum.

We've had 6 hens in a fixed run for about 16 months now and, although it's no guarantee, we've never seen any sign of a rat. I have seen the odd mouse but I'd expect that where we live anyway.
I have left spillages overnight occasionally and corn is sometimes left on the lawn for the birds and it's always there untouched in the morning.
If you are clean and tidy, depending on your situation, there's no reason why hen-keeping alone will attract rats. Obviously, you may already have them in or around your garden, in which case you may start to notice them.

Feel free to ask any other questions you have. I hope we'll see plenty of you around. :)

Rob 8)
Thanks I look forward to being involved. I find your forum very Helpful and i couldn't resist jumping in on this subject. I will go to the welcome forum now and follow your advice. many thanks Tony

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Bruced

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2009, 19:42 »
You have rats already - you just don;t see them that much! Clean up and leave them minimimal nesting opportunities and you should be OK.

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leebou

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2009, 21:04 »
one thing i found out recently is the antidote for the poison is vitimin k highly present in maze,all the rats on the farm where i work have learned to eat the pioson then head straight for the maze game covers to get there fix.little blighters have to get the shotty out.only joking auntie lol

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andreadon

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Re: Chicken keepers and Rats.
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2009, 16:35 »
we live on a farm, too and we used to  get a lot (i mean a lot!) of rats; but when they pulled down the grain silos closest to our house, they stopped overnight! (no reason to come near).

when we got chickens we expected the rats to come back, but no! we've never had  them back.

a few mice, yes, but like raeburg, our girls are excellent at despatching those!  :ohmy:

we make sure we scoop up any poo in the run every night and remove the feeder from the run too.
the food is kept in a sealed dustbin (metal is best cos they can't chew through it)




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