It’s true, vermin and chickens go together. (It’s also true that the sight of something scampering across the lawn is enough to scare most people!) So, it’s not surprising to learn that vermin, especially rats, are one of the most common complaints made against neighbouring chickens.
Vermin spread dangerous diseases. Rats can also harm or kill chickens. So, you should do all that you can to deter and destroy both mice and rats. Luckily, there are lots of cheap and easy things you can do to avoid attracting these pests and to control their numbers.
Food and Water Sources
Both rats and mice are attracted to chicken feed. Therefore, it is very important to make food and water sources as inaccessible to vermin as possible. We advise all our hen keepers to store spare feed in metal feed bins, or other vermin proof containers.
It is also important to make your feeders and drinkers as inaccessible to vermin as possible. You can achieve this by using treadle feeders instead of open feeders. Or by using hanging nipple drinkers, instead of using floor drinkers.
You can also lock your feeders away from vermin each evening, into a secure outbuilding. (Remember. A wooden shed is not a safe place to store feed because both mice and rats will chew their way through the wood to get to feed!)
Finally, we also recommend that you remove any leftover treats, from your chicken run, each day.
Did you know that rats breed all year round? Did you also know that underneath your coop is the perfect place for vermin, especially rats, to raise their young?
It is terrifying to watch an enormous rat, or worse lots of enormous rats, emerge from underneath your chicken coop! To avoid this, and the health risks associated with vermin, raise your coop off the ground by at least six inches.
Many modern plastic coops are raised by design and some are sold with attachable legs which, when attached, will lift it from the floor. If your chicken housing sits on the ground, you can deter rats by propping it up. In our experience, nothing beats some homemade sturdy legs or a strong frame. Some cleverly placed bricks or even a spare pallet can also help to make your coop much less attractive to nesting vermin.
It is important to have fully operational vermin traps all year round. We strongly recommend that you do not use poison, to protect local animals and wildlife, and that the traps you elect to use are as humane as possible.