The Omlet Blog

How to keep rats away from your chicken coop

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 backyards 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 Treat Holder. 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 and easy to clean coop like the Omlet Eglu chicken coop will help to prevent any egg theft from nesting boxes. 

Furthermore, Omlet’s range of plastic chicken coops like the Eglu Cube have been expertly designed to keep pests and predators away. With the help of additional wheels, your Eglu Cube can be conveniently shifted around your space to prevent rodents making burrows underneath it, as they can with traditional wooden coops that are not raised from the ground.

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

3 replies on “How to keep rats away from your chicken coop”

mary Stephens says:

Use a grandpa’s feeder

Kristin Smith says:

I have had a terrible problem with rats in my chicken yard because of spilled feed. I am making progress by using Grandpa’s Feeder that closes when the chickens step away. Also keeps the wild birds away from the feeder a bit since they don’t weigh enough to open it.

Nick says:

Use the smallest mesh you can afford for your pens. A rat can fit thru an opening the size of a dime, so hardware cloth is always better than chicken wire.

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