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I have a rat in the coop. I have not actually seen it but I see the holes it digs. I had one few months ago that I got with the trap and after that the holes disappeared (we filled the den with concrete to discourage someone moving into a "ready made" den) - well until recently. I have several traps set.

I have dirt floor and I have some wire buried along the edges but clearly it is not enough. I have seen another thread where someone recommended burying wire cloth about a foot deep along the perimeter of the coop (I did not want to hijack that thread). Will that stop a rat as well? I have seen a hole right in the middle too.
 

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I put chicken wire under the whole coop and the sand on the coop floor just sits over that. That seemed easier to me than trying to bury something a foot down vertically and hope nothing dug under it. It's worked fine so far. But we have a lot of cats in the neighborhood, too, so I don't think there's a lot of rat pressure.
 

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Occasionally I get a get a rat, or two. My coop is wired underground all around. Doesn't seem to make a difference. I just had a really tricky rat dig holes. I'd flood the hole out with the hose, then let it drain, then dump rat poison down deep. and bury it. This smarty would just start a new hole, or make a nest high above the beams. I put sticky boards, and several traps high up, away from the chickens. Traps went off, and sticky boards down..NO RAT! Hubby took several shots at it late evenings. Sooo, it happened one day my dog was very anxious just outside the perimeter of the coop, where I have tupperware storage bench. I lifted the bench and saw the rat under their...Took a shot, and it ran off leaving 8 babies scrambling alone!! We got her later. I was shocked!! Kinda sad though, because they bring in everything to make a nice nest..leaves, hay, sticks, even feathers.
So basically I'm saying, I wouldn't go too crazy rat proofing, because they're smart, and will make another home. Oh...next morning, saw another large rat run out from above the coop. Hubby got him that night. I assume it was the whole ratton family. Been good since then...until next time.
 

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There's no point in digging down a foot when laying the wire flat on the surface serves the same purpose.

You'll need 1/2" hardware cloth to stop rats, and 1/4" hardware cloth to stop mice.

The best solution would be a concrete floor, and second best is cover the entire interior with hardware cloth that extends a foot up the sides of the coop walls

Keep in mind rodents are good climbers too, so you may stop them from digging, but that won't necessarily keep them out of a coop that isn't well secured overall
 

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The only thing that really made a difference for us was getting a couple of those big black bait stations that they go inside of with this specific poison that's safe for pets, and a couple of barn cats.
 

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They can be a real tuff problem to solve....while the bait stations are a option and do work...the poison in them isn't safe for pets if they consume a dead critter that ate the bait...just sayin...the black box keeps the pets out...but the poison will kill them. Traps really don't work, and even though they are set and you aren't catching anything, doesn't mean you don't have a problem.....poison of different types works the best...the biggest challenge is keeping only the vermin to consume it.

brownegg
 

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hillbilly farmgirl
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Rats, yuck. It's an ongoing battle here too. The dogs have managed to kill a few, not enough to make a huge difference. They chew right through chicken wire to get into my pens, idk about the rest of y'all. They eat SO MUCH feed it is unbelievable so several measures have been taken around here...not that it totally solves the problem or anything. Hunting them down is wildly entertaining at times but the bigger ones scare me. I'll skip the packrat nest in my shed sob story and keep on topic though, lol. If you don't read any other part of my reply, please do at least take a look at the link I posted for you below.

One of my pens was dug into last year and all my guinea keets except one were killed. Instead of burying wire I dug a trench underneath the perimeter of the pen and filled it with concrete. The trench is about 8 inches deep and only a few inches wide, all the way around the pen. This has discouraged the rodents enough they don't even try to get in that pen anymore. It isn't as cheap as chicken wire but it is a more permanent solution. Here, there is so much iron in the 'soil' the wire will rust out in about 2-3 years anyway. And hey, if you are going to dig up the pen perimeter to bury chicken wire you may as well do a more substantial job. I have found, personally, that chicken wire is good for just that, chickens and other poultry. Keeping anything else in or out with chicken wire I have found to be a no-go, I moved away from using it years ago. If it matters to anyone, I use 2x4 inch welded wire fencing in place of chicken wire and then cover that with that plastic orange or green construction fencing to keep raccoon hands out and chicks in.

Second, feeding area. For the animals you are intentionally feeding, not the rats. A bin is good but rats are impossibly smart about these things. I resorted to metal trash cans, to hold the feed in and rats out. It keeps the rain off too. Plastic trash cans got chewed through just like chicken wire out here, tried those too. Metal is good, wood and plastic not so much. IMO.

Next, your bird feeder(s). Hanging them up helps keep rodents out, I imagine that they are coming into your pen for either food, water or possibly shelter to begin with. Making the food and water inaccessible to rats goes a long way towards rectifying the problem. The shelter issue can be trickier.

These things along with your choice of rodent control should help a bunch. Shoot em, poison them, let your dogs eat em, live trap them and release elsewhere, or donate to folks who own reptiles for snake feed. It matters not to me how the rodent control is accomplished, just that it happens. The economic impact on your farm is simply too great to not take measures.
This particular article on the subject says, that EACH RAT on a farm will eat, spoil or damage approximately $25 worth of grain per year. Other scholarly articles from universities that I have read state this number can actually be much higher. http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/824/rodent-control-in-livestock-and-poultry-facilities/
 

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Rats, yuck. It's an ongoing battle here too. The dogs have managed to kill a few, not enough to make a huge difference. They chew right through chicken wire to get into my pens, idk about the rest of y'all. They eat SO MUCH feed it is unbelievable so several measures have been taken around here...not that it totally solves the problem or anything. Hunting them down is wildly entertaining at times but the bigger ones scare me. I'll skip the packrat nest in my shed sob story and keep on topic though, lol. If you don't read any other part of my reply, please do at least take a look at the link I posted for you below.

One of my pens was dug into last year and all my guinea keets except one were killed. Instead of burying wire I dug a trench underneath the perimeter of the pen and filled it with concrete. The trench is about 8 inches deep and only a few inches wide, all the way around the pen. This has discouraged the rodents enough they don't even try to get in that pen anymore. It isn't as cheap as chicken wire but it is a more permanent solution. Here, there is so much iron in the 'soil' the wire will rust out in about 2-3 years anyway. And hey, if you are going to dig up the pen perimeter to bury chicken wire you may as well do a more substantial job. I have found, personally, that chicken wire is good for just that, chickens and other poultry. Keeping anything else in or out with chicken wire I have found to be a no-go, I moved away from using it years ago. If it matters to anyone, I use 2x4 inch welded wire fencing in place of chicken wire and then cover that with that plastic orange or green construction fencing to keep raccoon hands out and chicks in.

Second, feeding area. For the animals you are intentionally feeding, not the rats. A bin is good but rats are impossibly smart about these things. I resorted to metal trash cans, to hold the feed in and rats out. It keeps the rain off too. Plastic trash cans got chewed through just like chicken wire out here, tried those too. Metal is good, wood and plastic not so much. IMO.

Next, your bird feeder(s). Hanging them up helps keep rodents out, I imagine that they are coming into your pen for either food, water or possibly shelter to begin with. Making the food and water inaccessible to rats goes a long way towards rectifying the problem. The shelter issue can be trickier.

These things along with your choice of rodent control should help a bunch. Shoot em, poison them, let your dogs eat em, live trap them and release elsewhere, or donate to folks who own reptiles for snake feed. It matters not to me how the rodent control is accomplished, just that it happens. The economic impact on your farm is simply too great to not take measures.
This particular article on the subject says, that EACH RAT on a farm will eat, spoil or damage approximately $25 worth of grain per year. Other scholarly articles from universities that I have read state this number can actually be much higher. http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/824/rodent-control-in-livestock-and-poultry-facilities/
Shannon, thank you for a detailed reply. I had a rat kill two newborn chicks in September - that rat is dead now. It took a while but eventually it ventured into my trap. I have regular snap trap (large for rats, that's the one that got it), live trap and a bucket trap. If we catch it alive, it is not leaving the trap alive. We also flooded the den, filled it with concrete and (before the concrete filling) tried to convince the rat to move by shooting firecrakers into the den. I hang the feeders up in the evening.

On the plus side ... our coop is part of pole barn and because we have red clay, we never concreted the posts in - the ground is hard as a rock where the barn is. For some reason, the rats like to dig around the corners - so thanks to their digging, most of the posts have been concreted in.
 

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hillbilly farmgirl
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You are welcome and I may have a theory as far as the corners of your coop/pole barn. Was the wood of the poles (the part that is underground) chewed at all by the rats before you cemented them in? Lots of yummy fungi for rats both aboveground and under it and depending on the species of wood used, your poles could be turning into a rodent smorgasbord underneath ground level. I don't mean just cap and stem type fungi either, could be any type of fungus they are getting at really.
 

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When or chickens were out in the yard I piped exhaust fumes under the chicken house and the rats and mice ran out to meet my dogs. Didn't get them all but helped.
 

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I am reviving this thread because I have a rat or two and I am wondering about using a live trap. Snap traps don't seem like a good option on the shavings and I don't want to catch a chicken's foot.


I am pretty sure it is only one, maybe 2 but it just recently moved in and I really want to get the little bugger out. I saw that something had dug into the run through a cinderblock step that apparently didn't have wire behind it. There is wire buried under and over and everywhere else. It's a smart little rodent. It is currently snowing and 16 degrees so I know it is inside, nestled under the shavings. I see it's tunnels and I saw it's footprints in the snow this morning.

I have been pulling in the food at night but at the moment it's there because I don't want to take away from the 12 birds living there. I have two coops, and it is only a problem in one, I'd like to evict it before it makes a family.
It is possible that in the coming days I can get all the chickens over to one coop and isolate the rat coop. Starve it out?

Ugh. help
 

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We've put traps under things like milk crates where the rodents can enter and chickens cannot. It definitely worked for mice. It wouldn't surprise me rats could eat chicken dung in a pinch so I don't think starving it out is an option, though I'm guessing it would make food-baited traps more alluring (I mean peanut butter > poop any time, except maybe if you're a dung beetle)
 

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The only time I have seen a rat here I was able to catch it in a regular size live trap the same night I saw it. I used peanut butter on the trip pan and corn in the back. Hubby shot it later that morning.

eta; the only readily available food in that area was the bird seed and corn on the ground. A trap might not work if there is other food available.
 

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Yes, they hide that well. Did you set a trap for it?
Yes, I set a couple traps, nothing yet..... one live trap and one walk the plank bucket trap. I am going to go with the snap trap next.... but can't see where it is at the moment - maybe it is underground more since it's cold? I think I got it out of the coop because there is no sign of it's tunnels in there.....
 

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Luckily these coops are the only space we are having a problem right now.

Thing is, I think it is gone. I found another hole, I filled it in with rocks, the rocks are now frozen into the ground, I can't lift them out. Could it be sleeping underground for a whole week? Time will tell I guess.

There is also the possibility it is frozen in the walk the plank trap, but I can't tell, the bucket is blue so the water looks dark.

I couldn't get the snap trap to set so after some choice words with it, I left it in the garage for another day.
 
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