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If you’re entertaining the idea of raising a few backyard chickens, there’s a good chance you’re concerned about them attracting rats, mice and other rodents. But do backyard chickens attract rats?
Fact is, I’ve found that backyard chickens themselves don’t attract rats. What attracts rats, mice and other vermin is the chicken feed and other goodies you throw into the chicken pen.
Unfortunately, if you want to raise backyard chickens, you’re going to have to have feed on hand to give them. And you’ll also soon find that feeding them treats, like table scraps, is another major part of raising chickens.
So in this article, I first wanted to make sure you know that backyard chickens do not attract rats. But I also want to take a moment to share with you some of the things you can do to help eliminate the things that do attract rats and mice.
Chicken Feed Is What Attracts Rats: Store It!
Rats, and other vermin, are attracted to the chicken feed and other treats that we give our chickens. So one of the most important things you can do to help deter rats and mice is to properly store your chicken feed.
During the spring and summer months when food is plentiful, rats and mice will be scarce. But when the weather changes and temperatures drop, rodents will begin to make their way inside. So you’ll definitely want to make sure you have your chicken feed properly stored during this time and the time leading up to these cooler months.
So again, the best thing you can do to not have rats or mice around is to properly store chicken feed.
Use a Treadle Feeder
Piggy backing off of the tip above of not allowing rodents access to the chicken feed, use a treadle feeder to help protect the feed in the coop.
If you haven’t seen these before, treadle feeders require the chicken to physically step on a platform which functions as a lever. The weight of the chicken on the platform in turn opens a lid which allows the chicken access to the feed.
Smaller animals, such as rats, simply don’t weigh enough to open the lid on the treadle feeder. In turn, this prevents any access to rats, mice and other rodents.
Make Your Chicken Coop Rat Proof
Rats and mice are on a mission to find food. In addition to finding shelter and water, it’s essentially all they do.
Unfortunately, they can find all of those things inside a chicken coop. So to help deter them and not let you having backyard chickens attract rats in any way, you’ll want to “rat proof” the coop.
The easiest and most effective way of making your coop rat proof is to cover any holes or cracks with hardware cloth. Keep in mind that rats can squeeze through some very tiny spaces, so you’ll want to make sure any possible entrances be covered.
You’ll also want to consider installing a coop apron around the perimeter of the chicken coop. This is very effective against rodents that will dig under the coop in order to gain access.
Clean The Chicken Coop Regularly
We all know that rodents are attracted to dirty environments. So that’s all the more reason to simply keep your chicken coop clean.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind when cleaning out the coop.
- Pick up and discard any spilled chicken feed. Treadle Feeders are good at minimizing this kind of waste.
- Keep nesting boxes clean and be sure to collect eggs at least once every day.
- Chickens don’t eat and drink at night. So if possible, try removing both the feeder and the water at night.
Other Options You Have For Controlling Rodents Around The Coop
- Cats are extremely good rodent population controllers. We have two outdoor cats and our rodent population is virtually non-existent.
- Mouse traps are an option, but you’ll want to make sure that they are not in an area where your chickens can get into them.
- Try an electronic rodent repeller. I’ve been told that they really do work at repelling rats.