Tips for a rodent free coop. Rats and mice in our chickens coops have to be one of the nastier aspects for raising backyard chickens. But I’m here to tell you that it can be prevented! Rodents in a coop do a lot more damage than just eating your feed. Rats have been known to chew on tail feathers, crack and eat eggs, and even eat little chicks! They also spread filth and carry parasites that can be transmitted to your flock.
Tips for a Rodent Free Coop
I have some simple tips to keep your chickens in a rodent free coop.
Rodent Free Coop Tip #1 – Deny Access
The first thing you need to do is prevent the little boogers from getting in. Install 1/4 or 1/2 inch hardware cloth around the coop. You’ll want to attach to coop and bury as a perimeter about 10 – 12 inches underground. This will keep digging rodents from tunneling into the coop. Next take that same hardware cloth and use it as cover for all the coop windows and other openings to prevent them from sneaking in that way.
Rodent Free Coop Tip #2 – Natural Repellents
Rats and mice detest mint – a little planted around your coop can be a great deterrent. I’ve also heard of people using essential oils for this job but I think that would be a much more costly way to prevent them versus planting the mint.]
Rodent Free Coop Tip #3 – Get a killer on the job
People have been keeping barn cats since there were barns. But a good ratter dog can be helpful too. My Australian Shepherd caught a few in our early years of keeping a backyard flock. My cat was more of a Garfield; he wouldn’t have chased a mouse or a rat for anything. Also to note even if you have a cat for rodent patrol, you’ll need to feed and water him – they are not care free.
Rodent Free Coop Tip #4 – Don’t feed them.
The rodents are looking for easy meals. Don’t leave food out over night…ever. I recommend investing in a Grandpa Feeder. This one investment changed our coop entirely. The first year was a battle! But once we had the Grandpa Feeder in the rodents and wild birds quit thinking our backyard was their personal buffet!
Rodent Free Coop Tip #5 – Don’t give them water.
The other thing that the rodents are looking for is water. If you live in a warm climate, like ours in Arizona, this can be a real issue. Mice and rats will poop in the water and generally just make everything nasty. The best thing you can do is make it harder for them to get a drink. Systems like poultry nipples can be a lifesaver, without costing you a fortune. Check out The Advantages of Chicken Nipples.
These 5 tips are a good way to get you started on the road to a rodent free coop. Remember that traps and poisons are not options for a safe coop or a backyard homestead. Those options may very well hurt your flock, your other animals or God-forbid your children!