The General Poultry Chat Forum

Discuss all aspects of raising poultry. No topic is too small


Starting out

Hi everyone, Iím looking for some advice. For a long time my family and I have been thinking about getting chickens, hopefully about five rescue ex battery hens. We already have some animals and arenít afraid of the hard work, the only thing that is putting me off is rats. I have looked into getting a metal storage bin for grain, a treadle feeder and possibly electric rat traps. Is this what people would recommend?

AoifEoin
Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Stay well away from x bats buy young point of lay pullets if you want hybrids and any blastic barrel will do for feed and rats are every where anyway.

paddycrawford
Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Yeah there's a rise in rats lately, probably partially due to stricter controls on poison and good weather, amongst other factors.
I've had them take up residence in my compost bin for the first time since owning chickens from 2010 onwards. (Tip: don't put compost near coup or don't get one at all). Now they've probably always been one or two hiding in ditch but this year I could see them out in daylight and that's not a good sign so I poisoned them a few weeks ago and it's quieter, chicks are making less noise too.

I guess all you can do is keep feed locked up, take in leftovers from day in early evening, find a feeder that is rat proof (I'm trying out squirrel buster plus, for birds I know, but I'm not buying feed to feed the wildlife anymore, so we'll see how it works long term), and keep a reserve of poison down at night, remove in morning.

Cork Wyandotte
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

Get treadle feeder and trigger happy chicken feeder, I buy second hand wheelie bins to store feed, I havent seen a rat chewing into them yet, for compost I buy big used wheelie bins and drill many holes in them and compost in them the stuff that is edible to rats.
As said above steer away from ex bats, it is heart warming in the beginning but heart breaking later when you have hens but no eggs

Adam1
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

I don't rate those electric rat traps especially for outdoors. Whatever trap you decide to use, make up some tunnels for them. Simple three sided tunnels made from ply, scrap wood. That will keep pets, none-targets out of them. Keep them set all year round. Set plenty of them around the pen.

Also, keep the area clean. Don't leave anywhere for rats to set up home. Compost heaps, wood piles etc, are perfect for rats to hide in.

nedzer
Thursday, May 28th, 2020

This is all great advice thanks a million, Iím so grateful for it.
We donít have a composter as we have a pet goat who eats all of our veg peelings etc so we wonít have to worry about that. I was wary of the poison as they can take it away with them and may drop it, we have small children and other pets one dog in particular will eat anything she can get her greedy chops around so I was a bit anxious that poison may not be the safe option for us.
Is it difficult to train chickens to use the treadle feeder?
Ah really thatís a shame about battery hens I really love the idea of rescuing them however I know I definitely want eggs.

AoifEoin
Thursday, May 28th, 2020

Hi, I have a treadle feeder, I put a stone on it to begin with for the girls to get used to it and removed the stone some days later and never had a problem with it, both my hens and ducks use it. Hens/ducks are a pleasure to watch:)

All about the girls
Friday, May 29th, 2020

You get bait with holes in it that you can nail onto a board, make sure itís heavy enough that they canít drag it, and yes the treadle feeder is brilliant. Hens that are calm and well handled will get used to it very easily, I once had very wild birds which were frightened of their own shadow and they never used it. I have a grandpaís feeder.

christmasdiane
Saturday, May 30th, 2020

Never leave feed outside at night,dont over feed your birds but more importantly get a decent Cat.An outdoor variety and it should deal with any vermin if hes worth his salt.Seems to be a shortage of cats at the moment and see bog standard crossbreeds going for Ä100.Madness

Green Rooster
Sunday, May 31st, 2020


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