Many people think you’ll get infested with rats and mice if you raise backyard chickens. It’s even one of the primary reasons, given by some communities, for not allowing people to raise chickens.
But backyard chickens don’t attract rats and mice! It’s the feed and treats you give your chickens that attract rodents.
So in this post, we’re going look at easy things most backyard keepers can do to keep these pesky rodents away from their chickens and yard.
Chicken Feed Attracts Rats
Like previously mentioned, the main reason rats and mice are attracted to chicken coops has nothing to do with the chickens themselves. Rodents are attracted to the feed and other treats you give your chickens.
Rats and mice are especially likely to lurk around in the fall and winter when food is harder to find. So, if you leave any kind of food outside, you’re more than likely going to attract rats, mice, and other pests.
So it’s really that simple. Stop feeding the annoying rodents and you won’t be infested with them.
A great way to keep your property rodent-free is by using a treadle feeder.
This type of feeder requires the chickens to step on it in order to get food (my absolute favorite is this one from Amazon). When the chickens step on the treadle, a lid opens and they can eat the feed. Since small pests like rats, mice, squirrels, and birds aren’t heavy enough to open the treadle feeder, it keeps them from getting an easy meal.
Since chickens don’t eat and drink at night, it’s still best to store any feeders and waterers away each night.
Hands down, the smell of chicken feed will attract any rat and mouse around. So make sure to store all the chicken feed in a strong container.
Since most rodents are very good at chewing through things, including thick plastic, it’s best to get a metal bin. Ever since I got these locking lid cans made out of galvanized steel (Amazon), I haven’t had any problems with rodents.
Rat and Mice Repeller
You can also plug in an ultrasonic pest repeller (Amazon). It’s supposed to annoy rodents by putting out a sound that only they can hear.
Plug this is near your feed, and you should annoy the rats and mice in no time!
Rodents love to hide anywhere they can. The fewer areas there are to hide, the less attractive your yard and chicken coop will be for rodents.
Keep your grass mowed, bushes pruned, and your yard free of brush and leaf piles.
Secure Chicken Coop
Rodents are always looking for food, water, and shelter. And if your chicken coop has an isolated corner that your chickens can’t reach, rats and mice might just make the coop their home. So a well-built, secure chicken coop is a must to keep rats, mice, and other predators away (learn how to build a secure chicken coop).
Regular chicken wire has large enough holes for rodents to fit through. But I recommend you use hardware cloth for your chicken coop (my favorite is this one).
If you see any holes around your coop, cover it with hardware cloth so rodents or other predators can’t get through. And, remember, even the smallest of holes will invite predators inside the coop.
And since rodents are also great at digging holes and tunnels, it’s a great idea to include a coop apron all around your chicken coop and run.
If you don’t know what a coop apron is, make sure to check out my post about how to build a coop apron. It’s easy to do and will save your chickens from so many predators.
Clean Chicken Coop
Keep your chicken coop as clean as possible by doing the following:
- Clean any scattered chicken feed and treats that may attract rodents or other pests.
- Rodents and other predators love eggs! So try to check for eggs as much as you can throughout the day. I also check the nesting boxes before the chickens go to roost at night.
- Remove all water and feed from your yard and chicken coop at night. Chickens don’t eat and drink at night anyway.
Other Things You Can Do
- Cats can coexist with chickens quite well, especially if your cat was introduced to chickens as a kitten. And, of course, cats are notorious for keeping the rat and mouse population down.
- Buckeye chickens are known to eat mice.
- You can also set humane rodent traps (Amazon).
That’s it! I hope this post helped you out!
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