Rat in Chicken Coop

We have been raising layers for more than 10 years and we noticed  holes being chewed out of the chicken coop floor starting last fall.  I noticed that “tunnels” were being dug  beneath the floor.  Upon further investigation, I found out the chicken coop has no concrete foundation and is sitting on wood beams, but the floor is insulated with 2″ thick foam board with plywood on top.

Being inexperienced with rats, I simply patched the hole with concrete, hoping that would stop the invasion.  Well, new holes would pop up every other day randomly, even on walls (plastic board).  Initially I thought the unwelcome guests were moles or voles, but after research on the internet, I finally realized that the nightmare was brought about by rats.  You see, moles love to dig tunnels, but they do not eat grains; they eat earthworms and grubs.  Voles are rodents but they mostly eat plants.  Rats, on the other hand, eat anything and are notorious for chewing holes through thick wood.

The rats are attracted by the chickens because  seeds and feed would fall around the feeder during pecking and when food is scarce in winter, the warm chicken coop is a perfect habitat.

Arming with the discovery of the real enemies, I purchased a rat “high power kill” trap and baited it with peanut butter.  Sure enough, the trap was triggered but was pulled all the way to the hole.  Next, I screwed the trap to the floor but again the peanut butter was gone with no sign of rats (trap triggered).

I then purchased a rat bait station but the rats were not attracted by the bait.  Later I found out that the hole was too small for the rat to enter!

Finally I decided to try the Havahart® X-Small 1-Door Trap.  I had success with this trap for catching squirrels.  Sure enough, after a few nights, I finally caught the bugger!  It was a big grey Norway rat!

But….that was not the end of story.  I ended up buying the traditional wooden snap trap as well so I continued to set the snap trap, live trap and bait station.  Subsequently, I found out the snap traps were only effective against baby rats.  The adult rats could wriggle away after being snapped!  The live trap was the only effective way.

We ended up killing 4 big rats and 2 small ones.

But….that was also not the end of story.  After a few days, there were still signs of rats.  What in the world!?  By this time I have 2 live traps but this rat never visited them, yet it started to chew holes everywhere again.

Finally, I decided to take the rat bait from the bait station and dropped it through the hole in the wall and then sealed the holes up with spray foam.

Now after 3 days, no signs of rats yet…..but I won’t be able to tell until at least a week is past.  Unfortunately, here in Ontario only licensed personnel can purchase rat poison without bait station and in my situation, the rat bait was the last resort.

Coming spring, I would have to dig around the coop and seal the holes.  I would also lay down a layer of hardware cloth on the floor and put new floor on top.  Lots to do on a farm.

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