Are rats wreaking havoc on your chicken coop?
Most of the time, a rat in a chicken house is nothing to worry about. Although you may go crazy with the pitter-patters of the little mice feet in your coop, your chickens will probably remain unfazed.
However, you might be surprised (or maybe turned down!) invitation These little intruders chuckle with enthusiasm – because every time they escape from hiding in the coop, your chickens seize the opportunity to properly catch them.
Gross, isn’t it?
For you, maybe – but for chickens, rats are delicious treats.
However, knowing what you know about the various pathogens carried by rats, you can be terrified of allowing your chickens to snack on the wrong rodents. Luckily, you don’t have to worry – I’ll tell you in this article why it’s not so dangerous and hopefully put your mind at ease.
- 1 Do chickens eat rats?
- 2 Is it bad for chickens to eat rats?
- 3 How to get rid of rats in your chicken yard?
- 4 Should I let my chickens eat rats?
Do chickens eat rats?
Short answer? Yes. Chickens are opportunistic omnivores, which means they’ll eat just about anything they can get their hands on (and when I say anything, I mean anything – once upon a time, I’d call some free-spirited chickens with insulation. But came home to nibble on the side of my house).
Chickens will eat mice of all shapes, sizes and ages. They will eat baby rats — which are smaller and easier to catch than adult rats — along with small rats if they find them.
Chickens will eat the mice whole or they may use their beaks to break the mice into smaller pieces. This will depend on the size of the rodent as well as whether one or more chickens are trying to eat the rat.
Once the other members of your flock find out what the lucky chicken has found, you can watch a few games of “chicken football.”
In addition to rats, chickens will happily chew on foods such as lizards, frogs, bugs and other rodents and small animals. Allow your chickens to free-range and they will catch their food and eat their food with enthusiasm!
Chickens eating mice are not only completely normal, but it is also quite common. This is because rats frequently and regularly run to the chicken coop, going there to find spilled feed and other tasty morsels. It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet (unless the chickens find them, of course).
Unlike rats, other rodents that roam outside where chickens can be found, rats are small and just the right size to chase, catch, and eat chickens.
Is it bad for chickens to eat rats?
Now that you know that chickens can do eat rats, the next question you can ask yourself is whether they needed.
Chickens don’t necessarily have to eat rats, but you shouldn’t go out of your way to provide them with rats to eat.
This is because rats can carry germs and various pathogens that can make you and your chickens sick. A diseased rat can make a chicken sick, as can a rat that has consumed any type of rat bait or poison.
Mice can also harbor parasites that will make your chickens sick as well. If you notice that your chickens are eating rats, you don’t have to stop them — rats can be a good source of protein and other nutrients for your flock, not to mention free entertainment — but you should. They may need to consider deworming and testing them. regularly for external parasites.
How to get rid of rats in your chicken yard?
It’s not bad for chickens to eat rats, but if you’re asking yourself whether your chickens can safely eat rats, there’s a good chance you’ve got one of these cute little rodents hanging around your chicken yard. Have seen some
This could indicate a bigger problem.
If rats are hanging around, you probably have a hygiene issue that needs to be addressed. Mice are attracted to something there and make frequent visits to the chicken coop despite the inherent risk of being eaten by the chicken. Be it food, water, or shelter, they are after something or the other.
Of course, rats will also eat your chicken feed – which can transmit diseases to your chickens and increase your overall feed bill.
Here are some tips to help you get rid of any rats hanging around your chicken yard.
1. Beware of Large Rodents
Mice are not generally problematic, but other rodents, such as rats, can be. Mice will steal eggs or may even eat sleeping chickens (although this is less common with adult chickens and more likely with young chicks or pullets).
Normally, the rats are after your meal and not your chickens. However, if you are attracting rats, that doesn’t mean you won’t be attracting larger pests as well – so it’s important to make sure the problems listed below are addressed.
Also, make sure your nesting boxes are rodent-proof. Mice usually don’t go after eggs but rats will. Elevate the nesting box and use high-quality wood or other nesting box material that will be harder for rodents to chew.
You may also need to sprinkle dried mint around the coop or nesting box. The jury is out on whether this is really an effective way to repel rodents, but at the very least, it will make your coop smell very refreshing!
2. Limit Food Leakage
Food spillage is the number one thing that attracts rats and other rodents to the chicken coop. Make sure all feeds are cleared immediately.
Keep food in sealed containers (ideally metal ones, rather than plastic or basic bags, which rats can easily gnaw on).
Same goes for water. Water can also attract rodents, especially in hot, dry weather. Consider using an automatic watering system equipped with chicken nipple drinkers. These will provide your chickens with all the water they need without attracting rodents.
3. Check for Gaps in the Coop and Fence
Take some time to thoroughly inspect your chicken coop, fence and walk areas. Mice can easily gnaw through just about any type of material (including chicken wire). Using galvanized steel wire can help prevent this to some extent, though often not completely.
Then, seal up any cracks or holes you find. Remember that mice can fit through holes the size of a pencil eraser! Mice can chew through silicone caulk, so instead, use steel wool, lath screen, cement, or hardware cloth to fix large holes (you can always press around them to make them weather-tight) Huh).
Build a high fence that is at least 18 inches tall and consider elevating your coop. It can also help keep rodents out.
4. Provide a limited amount of treatment
It’s a good idea to limit the number of treats you provide to your chickens anyway as they should only be a compliment and not a substitute for ready-made chicken feed.
However, if you do offer treats, make sure you’re only giving them a small amount, rather than ready-access, on-demand treats. Knicks treat dispenser toys too. While these can be fun, they can attract other pests such as rodents and insects.
Should I let my chickens eat rats?
No matter how disciplined you are about keeping your chicken yard clean and limiting food spills, there’s still a good chance you’ll have a mouse here or there from time to time.
While you may not love the idea of letting your chickens nosh on rats, know that they can actually be a nutritious source of food for your flock. To make sure your chickens stay healthy, do your best to limit the rat population and don’t treat them with poison, as it can reach your chickens through rats.
Otherwise, don’t worry. Although mouse might not be your first choice for chicken when you’re looking for an afternoon snack—there’s nothing better than this.
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