Do Chickens Attract Rats? (+ How To Lure a Rat Away From Your Hens & Other Chickens)

Are Rats Attracted to Chickens?

Many people think you’ll get infested with rats and other types of rodents if you raise backyard chickens. It’s even one of the primary reasons some communities don’t allow people to raise poultry.

But rats are not attracted to chickens*. It’s the freshly laid eggs, droppings, chicken feed, and yummy treats you give your chickens that attract rodents.

So in this post, we’re going to look at easy things most backyard keepers can do to keep these pesky rats away from their chickens and backyard.

*Pleases Note: If food is scarce, rats have been known to kill baby chicks. Rats are also known to bite chickens’ toes while they’re roosting. This is one of the main reasons you should never skimp out on predator-proofing your chicken coop!

How Do I Keep Rats Away From My Chickens?

As previously mentioned, the main reason rats 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 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 and other vermin.

So it’s really that simple. Stop feeding the annoying rodents and you won’t be infested with them.

Treadle Feeders & Poultry Nipple Drinkers

A great way to keep your property rodent-free is by using a treadle feeder (Amazon) and a poultry nipple drinker (Amazon).

The treadle feeder is a type of feeder that requires chickens to step on it in order to get food. When the chickens step on the treadle, a lid opens and exposes 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.

On the other hand, poultry nipples are great to make sure that no rat droppings end up in the chickens’ water, which can cause chickens to contract diseases.

Since chickens don’t eat and drink at night, it’s best to it’s still best to store any feeders and waterers away from the yard each night.

Food Storage

Hands down, the smell of chicken feed will be attracting any rat 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 getting into my feed.

Ultrasonic Pest Repellers

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 in near your feed, and you should annoy the rats in no time!

Clean Yard

Rodents love to hide anywhere they can. The fewer areas there are to hide in your backyard, 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 might just make the coop their home. So a well-built, secure chicken coop is a must to keep rats and other predators away. (I learned to build my chicken coops with the book, “Building Chicken Coops For Dummies” – Amazon)

Regular chicken wire has large enough holes for rodents to fit through. So I recommend you use 1/4 inch hardware cloth (Amazon) for your chicken coop.

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 predator apron all-around your chicken coop and run.

If you don’t know what a predator apron is, definitely make sure to check out my post on how to build a predator apron. It’s easy to do and will save your chickens from so many different types of 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 pesty animals.
  • 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.
Do Rats Like Chicken Poop?

Rats are known for being attracted to food that is high in protein, and chicken droppings are no exception.

In fact, chicken poop is one of the most popular foods for rats. This is because chickens typically eat a lot of grain and insects, which makes their poop high in protein. Additionally, chicken poop is full of essential nutrients that rats need in order to survive.

Conclusion: Will I Get Rats if I Keep Chickens?

There are a lot of benefits to keeping chickens. They provide fresh eggs, pest control, and fertilizer.

However, some people worry that if they keep chickens, they will also get rats.

The truth is, you can get rats whether you have chickens or not. It all depends on if you follow the preventative tips in this post.

And if you do get a rat problem, you can always set humane rodent traps (Amazon) or get a cat.

Cats can coexist with pet 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.