People that keep chickens at home will always be on full alert to ensure that rats and other similar vermin are prevented from getting anywhere near the chickens or the nest boxes. Unfortunately, chickens do attract rats, but it’s mostly the chicken’s food that the rats are looking for and not the chickens themselves. Nevertheless, rats will attack and kill chickens and take their eggs.
Mice cause fewer problems for chickens. The birds will kill and eat mice, which are a good enough reason for them to keep away, but they are still attracted to anywhere you keep or store chicken feed.
Prevention works best
Wherever you keep your chickens, you won’t want to attract rats, because apart from destroying your animals and your food supply, they may only be one step away from spreading disease to your home and your family, including your children.
Your first line of prevention must always be to keep the entire area clean. While this will deter rats from coming near your chickens, excellent hygiene will also keep your poultry healthy. These actions will also remove objectionable smells which are annoying for everyone.
If you don’t leave food lying around, rats will have no reason to target your chickens. Chickens leave food when they are overfed and rats will be happy to enjoy any leftovers.
How you store poultry food is vitally important. Rats and mice can eat their way through wood quite easily, so it is essential to buy a good storage container, with a high-quality lid, particularly if you keep your food outside. Apart from making the food difficult for rats to find, you will decrease the smell, which invites rats in to the food storage area.
If you are able to collect eggs just after they have been laid, you will remove a major food source for larger rats.
Spotting the danger early
Regular inspection of your chicken runs and nest boxes will help you spot any damage or the first signs that rats are trying to gnaw their way through wood or other obstacles.
While rats work at night, they may return regularly to try to get the food. They are easily able to chew through chicken wire which is why it is better to put a high-quality weld mesh around your chicken run, rather than using simple and cheap wire. The same weld mesh can be applied to the outside of any wooden panels where you house your chickens.
Burying chicken wire underground will help prevent rats from borrowing underneath any areas they can’t break into from over ground.
As soon as you find any signs that rats are trying to break into your chicken coop, work quickly to remove the rats from the area. These vermin carry dangerous diseases, which are not only lethal to chickens, but are also dangerous to children and adults. Effective placement of rat poison is one way to keep the rat population down, but this only works if other animals can be kept away from the area.
The best option is regular observation of your chicken run and nest boxes to help you to quickly detect when dangerous vermin are living close by. That is the most practical way to safeguard both your chickens and eggs.