I get it, there’s nothing you can do to 100% keep rodents out of your backyard and chicken coop. Usually, I’m OK with seeing the odd mouse. Heck, sometimes my chickens even take care of it for me!
But, when I saw a rat INSIDE the coop that was the last straw.
Rats are just nasty, for you and your chickens.
If you’ve got a rodent problem or have seen rats or mice around your coop you’ll likely be thinking the same.
Here are the best ways to keep rats and mice out of your chicken coop, whether it’s OK to use rat poison around the coop, and some other safe ways to keep rats and mice away!
Do Chickens Attract Rats And Mice
Although chickens themselves don’t attract rats, mice, and rodents, there are a few parts of owning chickens that certainly do.
Firstly, rodents have an amazing sense of smell and can sniff out your chicken’s feed or any table scraps that remain in the backyard.
Then, once rats and mice get to your backyard they see your chicken coop as a perfect place to stay or make their home, as it’s warm, sheltered, and cozy.
These are the two leading reasons that rats and mice make their way into your backyard and coop, which can be problematic for everyone and every chicken!
Keepings Rats And Mice Out Of The Chicken Coop!
As a chicken owner, you want your coop to be a safe haven. A warm, sheltered, and pleasant place for your chickens to go to lay eggs and sleep at night.
So, it’s understandable to feel a little anxious or even angry when you see rats and mice in or around the chicken coop!
The good news is, that there are several solutions that rid of rats and mice, or at the least keep these rodents at bay.
To keep rats and mice out of the chicken coop you should generally avoid using poisons, as even “pet safe rodenticides” can be dangerous for chickens.
Instead, you can set up single-entry bait stations around the perimeter of your property (away from your chickens), or utilize rat traps in common places around your coop but outside of the reach of your chickens.
You can also keep rats and mice away simply by keeping your chicken coop clean and maintained, and leaving no food out at night for them to scavenge. Every bit helps!
Is It Ok to Use Rat Poison Around Chicken Coops?
One of the first thoughts you might have when you’ve seen a rat or mouse in or around your coop is “how do I get rid of it!?”
Just to be clear, most rat poisons are incredibly dangerous if consumed by other animals, including chickens.
There are some rat poisons that claim to be safe for use around dogs or other pets. These are types of rodenticides like RatX.
These rodenticides are designed specifically to dehydrate and kill rodents, targeted at rats and mice. However, it can still be dangerous or fatal for chickens to consume, so it should only be used completely out of reach of any of your chickens.
Plus, if your chickens find and eat any infected rats or mice that have eaten this poison, they can become sick and it can be just as harmful.
It’s for this reason that you should not use rat poison of any kind around your chickens or chicken coop, and instead look at more chicken-safe options for rodent control.
Will Chickens Accidentally Eat Rat Poison
As we know, chickens will attempt to eat almost anything. From chickens eating styrofoam to spiders or mosquitoes, even gravel, there’s no surprise that your chicken is capable of accidentally eating rat poison.
Since most rat poisons are fatal to chickens, it’s recommended to never use any kind of rodent poisons, as it’s simply not worth the risk.
The exception is if you use enclosed, single-entry bait stations.
Using Single-Entry Bait Stations
A single entry bait station is essentially a rat trap that lures rodents in, with no way to escape. One of the better lures is using bait, as they can smell it from a mile away!
If you do use poison as the bait, it will mean rodents will enter the single entry trap, eat the poison, and be disposed of in the confines of the trap, out of your chicken’s reach.
However, if you are more of a peacekeeper, you can still use these same traps to simply catch the rodents, and release them far away from your property.
Do Chickens Eat Mice?
There is an inherent risk to this, as mice can carry disease or parasites.
So, the best way to avoid this happening is to take precautionary measures to reduce rodents in your area by means of deterrents or chicken-safe traps.
Do Chickens Eat Rats?
It’s not out of this world, but rats do tend to be a bit big for most chickens to take on. Some larger chickens or roosters will certainly attack rats to keep them away, but they won’t often see them as a walking food source.
It’s probably a good thing though, as rats can carry diseases or parasites which can transfer to chickens!
The best way to prevent this is to take action and deploy a series of anti-rodent measures around your property, as much as is practical. If you live on a big farm property, this can be a huge challenge though!
Safe Ways To Keep Rodents Out Of Your Chicken Coop
Since poison is clearly harmful and potentially dangerous to use around your chicken coop, it’s best to employ some other chicken-safe methods of rodent control around your coop.
Sometimes the best method is to be proactive and try to prevent it entirely, rather than using only reactive measures.
Keep The Coop Clean
It almost goes without saying, but keeping your coop clean and clear of debris will steer rodents away simply because there are fewer places for them to hide and feel safe. This goes for maintaining the surrounding lawn or ground around your coop too.
If you’re using the deep bedding method on a dirt floor, be extra wary as rodents can hide easily
This doesn’t just help with rodents either, it will help keep other nasty pests away like snakes in the coop too.
Store Feed Properly
Leaving your chicken feed out all the time will encourage unwanted guests from coming for leftovers. This goes for when you sometimes feed your chooks table scraps and safe leftovers too, as any that isn’t demolished by your flock will normally be scavenged by rodents or other animals.
Storing your feed when your chickens aren’t eating it will discourage these rodents from trying their luck, as well as help keep other birds away from your chicken feed too — which can spread avian flu.
Set Snap Traps
Snap traps are an old-fashion, but very effective tool against the odd mouse or rat trying to make its way into your coop.
Placing a few snap traps at key places around your coop can help keep any rodents at bay.
I personally put these behind the chicken coop or under surrounding fences, where my chickens can’t get to them of course. After all, you don’t want to hurt any of your chickens!
Diluting a tablespoon of peppermint oil in water and spraying it around your coop and borders of your properties is said to deter pests and insects (but I’ve known it to help against rodents too!)
Call A Professional
If things are really getting out of control and you can’t seem to keep your rodents at bay, you can always consult with a professional pest controller.
They will assess your property and identify hotspots and key tactics you can use to steer them clear or eradicate them for good if they’re found to be living somewhere that’s out of reach to you!
Will Cats And Dogs Keep Rodents Away?
It’s well known that cats hunt rodents, well most cats anyway! Even dogs can effectively scare away these pests if they sniff them out or see them scavenging around your backyard.
Even the scent of a cat or dog will deter rodents from your property, it’s in their instincts to stay safe after all!
In terms of active control though, because rats and mice are quick and small, simply having a cat or dog in or around your property won’t be a fool-proof method of keeping rodents out. But, it may help to keep them at bay.
In most cases, cats and chickens will get along perfectly, so it’s really a win-win.
Rats and mice aren’t a problem that every chicken owner faces, but for those that have to deal with them, it can be a real pain. As much as you think it’s OK, you should avoid using rat poison at all costs. It’s just not worth the risk of your chickens finding it, or eating a rodent that’s consumed the poison already!
Instead, use single-entry traps, or classic snap traps placed in strategic locations certainly out of your chicken’s reach!
My piece of advice, take preventative, proactive measures.
If things are really getting out of control though, you can always consult with a professional who will help you and your exact situation.
If you have any old wives’ tales or other unique ways of dealing with rodents in or around your coop, let us know in the comments below!