How Do You Protect Chicken Coops From Rats?

Nov 11

Got chicken coops? Then you’ve probably got rats, too.

Chicken coops are a one-stop shop for everything rats need to survive. They provide grain, water, and shelter—plus lots of tasty eggs—in a single convenient location. It’s no wonder chicken coops attract rats like the pied piper.

Rats are undeniably bad for your chickens and even worse for your bottom line. In fact, it’s estimated that 250 rats can eat 2.5 tons of feed annually. Considering a single pair of mating rats can produce up to 15,000 pups in just over one year, the cost of an uncontrolled rat problem could easily spiral out of control.

And it gets hairier. Rats in chicken coops are also known to:

  • Eat eggs and chicks
  • Injure chickens
  • Contaminate coops with feces and urine
  • Spread fleas, lice, and mites
  • Spread diseases like Salmonella enteritidis
  • Cause structural damage

Any of these could be a costly problem. Injured or frightened chickens can produce fewer eggs, and the presence of a pathogen could cause an expensive production shutdown or recall.

Rat control in chicken coops is an investment that pays for itself. So, what is the most effective rat control? Read on.

Lock ‘Em Out

Rats have evolved to squeeze through incredibly narrow gaps. In fact, they only need half an inch of space to become the newest addition to your chicken coop. Taking measures to keep rats out is an essential step to protecting your chickens.

Known as exclusion measures, these methods offer effective and long-lasting ways to physically keep rats away.

Rat can gnaw through chicken wire, so you should install durable hardware cloth around the perimeter of the coop. Since rats can squeeze through spaces the width of a quarter, be sure to cover tiny holes or stuff them with steel wool. You can also bury the hardware cloth 12” into the ground to prevent rats from burrowing underneath.

You can spread hardware cloth along the floor of the coop to prevent rats from squeezing in between the floorboards. Additionally, it’s important to make sure the coop doors shut securely with no gaps between the door and the frame.

Keep It Clean

Maintaining proper sanitation can help keep rats away. Since rats are drawn to food, it’s essential to sweep up spilled feed, pick up feeders at the end of the day, and store extra feed in secure containers. Galvanized metal bins tied with bungie cords can be a solid rat-proof option for storing feed.

Cleaning up clutter will give rats fewer places to hide. You should straighten up piles of tools, materials, leaves, bricks—anything a rat could crawl into. A good rule of thumb is to avoid leaving things on the ground. Storing items on shelves or wall-mounted hooks eliminates the hiding places that rats love.

Control Populations At Their Source With ContraPest®

As defensive methods of rat control, exclusion and sanitation are clearly effective. But as the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. That’s why we’d like to introduce you to a product that can cut down rat populations and keep them down for good. It’s called ContraPest, and it’s Rat Birth Control™.

Yup, you read that right.

Think about it: the surest way to keep rats out of chicken coops is to eliminate the rats altogether. And what better way to eliminate rats than to stop them from breeding in the first place?

ContraPest works on its own or in tandem with traditional rat control methods. It’s a liquid contraceptive that can be placed on the ground in approved tamper-resistant bait stations or in narrow, elevated spaces with the Elevate Bait System™. It’s an EPA-registered fertility solution that works on both male and female rats.

There’s a ContraPest dispenser that was designed with chicken coops in mind. It’s called the Elevate Bait System, and it can be easily mounted on chicken wire or secured to other elevated surfaces that rats use. Because it looks like a water dispenser, thirsty rats won’t hesitate to sip from it.

Is ContraPest effective? Yes.

But can it save you money? Absolutely.

Let’s look at an actual case study. A large pullet farm with a major rat infestation used ContraPest along with a rodenticide. Just look at their annual minimum losses due to rats before and after adding ContraPest:

Table: Annual Minimum Losses Due to Rats. Estimated Cost Savings $604,112.

Simply adding ContraPest to their existing rat control methods saved this farm over $600,000. If you have a rat problem in your chicken coops, think about what ContraPest could do for you.

Boost Your Bottom Line With ContraPest

Want to learn more about ContraPest? Check out our website or drop us a line. You can read more about our products on our store page, including the Elevate Bait System which blends seamlessly into chicken coops.

ContraPest bait stations are easily refillable, and you never have to mix any solutions. We even offer convenient subscription plans for long-term protection.

If chickens are your livelihood, then rats are a constant threat. At SenesTech, we’re dedicated to making rat-free chicken coops not only attainable but sustainable. Sound intriguing? Let’s talk.