Where There's Chickens, There's Rats: A Realistic View of Urban Chicken Keeping

Monday, April 27, 2009

Apparently, everyone knows that rats move in when the chickens do. I had hoped the potential of lead in our soil was the one and only roadblock I hadn't thought of prior to signing up for chickens, but now we have backyard rats. I'm not okay with this.

The first thing I knew I had to do was stop by Metro for bottoms to our compost bins, so rats will be unable to tunnel beneath them, where they pretty much have a wide variety of kitchen scraps from which to choose. We already knew our bins were starting to become magnets for vermin, so when I saw the rat in the chicken feeder today, I didn't waste any time eliminating the compost bins as a food source for them.

Here's the plastic bottom for the Metro compost bins. It will allow worms and bugs to come up through the little holes, as well as water to drain out, but we won't have any mice or rats living in our compost bins anymore. First problem solved. I must now figure out how to keep the mice/rats away from the chicken feeder.

We actually have a Mama rat (the one photographed above) who spends all afternoon taking grain back to her nest, which is unfortunately just over the fence on our neighbor's property beneath a mound of soil. I won't set traps unless they're live traps, and poison is completely out of the question. Really, what's the point anyway if the food source remains in your yard? There will always be more rats no matter how much poison you lay out. Some possible solutions I've come up with are to remove the chicken feeder at night, and to put out some sort of chicken feeder that is rat-proof during the day. I have to keep the squirrels away as well. I'm hoping when I stop by Pistils tomorrow to replace the chick that died that they might have a few suggestions.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good catch with the camera. They are rather cute rascals, you have to admit.

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