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The Omlet Blog

How to Keep Rats Away From Your Chicken Coop

girl feeding her hens in a green eglu cube chicken coop with run
One of the most common questions we get from people who are thinking about keeping chickens is…

“Will keeping chickens attract rats?”

With rats having the ability to spread a number of diseases to chickens and even eat baby chicks, don’t be fooled by the size of these small furies; they’re definitely not one you want around your chicken coop. This being said, don’t let this put you off keeping chickens, as the important thing to note with this is that it’s not actually the chickens themselves that attract rats, but rather their feed.

Now that we know this, thinking about how we can prevent rats from invading our gardens and then into the chicken coop doesn’t seem such a daunting task after all. Here is our advice on how you can steer clear of a potential rat infestation in your coop, therefore keep your flock safe and avoid damage to your coop.

Store All Chicken Feed in Secure Bins with Lids

Keeping your chickens’ feed as secure and well-sealed as possible is key here. It’s a good idea to store feed in airtight bins to reduce any smell which might attract unwanted visitors. As we earlier discovered, rats are drawn to food sources, i.e. your chickens’ feed, and with these rodents having such an excellent sense of smell, they’ll be bound to quickly find out how to access your chickens’ feed, should it not be properly secured.

Only Throw The Food on The Ground Which You Know Your Chickens Will Eat

A hand holding chicken feed

Only throwing what you know your chickens will consume during the day will help you to reduce the amount of leftover, or spilled feed, in the grass. This therefore, prevents rats from making their way into the chicken coop. Alternatively, you can use a corn dispenser such as the Peck Toy, which can be filled with your chickens’ feed, should you not want to throw food on the ground. You can also try out a feed ball holder like the Caddi. Both interactive feeders will not only improve run cleanliness and prevent pests, but also help keep your flock entertained, as a bonus.

Remove All Feeders from the Run at Night Time

Rats are nocturnal creatures, so you’ll find that they’re most active at night, due to their poor vision. During the day, rats are highly sensitive to light, which means that their eyesight is extremely blurred in the daytime. Rats love being out at night because it gives them more of an advantage in that they can see their predators. 

You will therefore need to continue to take measures after your chickens have gone to sleep, in order to keep your coop safe at night as well. You can do this by securely covering or even entirely removing the chicken feeder and treat dispenser (or multiple) at nightfall, and then returning them to the run in the morning. Chickens are usually closed up in their coop at night so don’t worry about them missing out on a midnight snack!

Hang Compact Discs in The Run

You can also try this surprising tip to help keep rats at bay from the chicken coop. All you’ll need for this one are a few old CDs (if you still have any lying about!). Rumour has it, the way that CDs reflect light startles and upsets rats, which may be enough to put them off getting close to your coop. Try this by hanging up your old CDs with a piece of string in your run and see if it works to keep pests away from the chicken coop too.

Collect Eggs Every Day

A rat problem can also occur when eggs are not collected regularly. Rats are attracted to your chickens’ eggs for food as well, so this poses another temptation. It’s important to keep on top of collecting eggs daily, which is a habit you should get into, regardless of whether you suspect any rats in the chicken coop. Should you forget however, a secure coop like the Omlet Eglu coop will help to prevent any egg theft from nesting boxes. 


Hopefully after using a few of our tips and tricks, you can keep your coop rat-free. It’s always best to try and prevent a potential problem with keeping rodents away from chicken coops in the first place rather than finding yourself in a situation whereby you have to get rid of rats using rat traps and poison as a last resort.

 

This entry was posted in Chickens


15 replies on “How to Keep Rats Away From Your Chicken Coop”

El says:

What do you think about the chicken feeders with the step release? I am worried that hens could be harmed, but good way to keep food away from rats.

Megan says:

One of the main gripes I have w Omlet runs is that the holes in the mesh are too big as they allow rats to slip thru any of them. I even have squirrels getting thru the larger holes in the top parts of the run. A design flaw in my opinion

Eve Williams says:

We were scared to use this feeder when first bought. The chicken learned extremely quickly to use it. No accidents at all. It’s brilliant.

Vivien Cruickshank says:

I have two Grandpa’s feeders which are rat proof. The fact that my neighbours have some young cats helps of course.

Louise says:

I use them and the chucks all seem fine with them. Any new girls sometimes take a bit of getting used to them but they work it out eventually.

Ceara O'Neill says:

I have a treadle feeder and I wouldn’t go back to anything else. They quickly learn how to use it and it won’t cause them any harm.

Donna says:

We’ve got a step feeder and there’s been no problem with the girls getting hurt. Each new chook learns from the others

Marion says:

I have changed over to the feeders with the step release. Our girls took very little time to learn how to use them. There are several out there. I went with ones that have sides on the outside of the feeding trough. These reduce the feed being thrown out feeder as the girls feed. I also went for ones with the step being galvanised and solid rather than plastic. With the plastic step I was worried that our girls could get their claws caught in the holes. With the step being solid and galvanised it makes it really easy to clean. I have 2 feeders one with layers pellets and one with layers mash.( This is because I rescue ex caged hens. I bring the poorly ones home and nurse them back to full health.) One of my girls has a severe cross beak and finds layers pellets difficult to peck up. It took her and her fellow rescues a very short time to workout how to use the feeders. Just follow how they recommend to introduce them to your girls. I wouldn’t go back to an open feeder now.

Wendy Wilson says:

I have kept hens for a large number of years, until now they were in a home made house, I felt the rats came in mainly for the warmth, they could not eat the hen food and apart from their hopper they were only given things like dandilions or vegetables and only in the early morning so nothing was left by the afternoon. The rats ate through wood, cement and metal, I love the Eglu and hope rats are a thing of the past.

Betty says:

We have one of these feeders and it’s great. Food stays dry a d rat free but it did take a couple of days for the girls to get used to it.

Jenny Brown says:

I use to use one, and the chickens were absolutely fine with it, but I did find that slugs could get in it, and I think they liked the darkness inside, and loved the food. I have now stopped using it, and bring the chicken food in at night

Susan says:

I found the only way to keep rats out was to use a metal treadle-operated feeder. Before we got that the rats were so brazen, we’d see a bottom hanging out of the Omlet feeder in broad daylight.
Now that they can’t access the chickens food they are no longer seen in the daytime.

Jen Butler says:

We have one of these feeders and it absolutely solved our rat problem. The hens learn how to use it really quickly and it’s a great way to make sure they have food that’s safely covered!

pete says:

step feeders work well, rats undermine them to get food the chickens scatter as they feed! but that gives me lots of fun with my airgun!! r.i.p mr/mrs rat.

Trine says:

El comments on step release feeder. We got one last year as we did have a problem with rats despite doing all we could to deter. It took the girl a couple of weeks to get it, but follow instructions and they’ll be fine. No more rodents! Can highly recommend.

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