Do chickens attract mice and rats?

Chicken coops can attract rats and mice because they offer shelter, food, water, and the perfect breeding ground. Whether the chickens and coop are yours or the neighbors,  prevention measures should be taken from the beginning. This is because is usually easier to prevent rats and mice from getting into the chicken coop than getting rid of them.

When you build your chicken coop and run, you want it to provide shelter and protection for your chickens. Other animals, especially mice and rats are also looking for such a place. A place where they can rest and feed.

And since your chicken coop has plenty of feed for your birds, it will attract these little rodents.

Rats and Mice will feed anything they find edible, including your chickens. They will fit in small spaces and in some instances, hide in very small crevices, where it is hard to detect them.

Rats reproduce quickly, producing 6 times a year, with 12 pups per birth. They develop quickly, reaching sexual maturity in 4 weeks. This means 2 rats can grow to 1250 rats in one year. This means if left unattended, rats and mice can quickly take over your chicken coop.

Why rats and mice get attracted to chicken coops

  • Chicken coops are a great food source. 

Rats and mice can be attracted to chicken coops are because of the great smell and taste of chicken feed.  Chicken feed in the coop will them feed for not only a day or two but acts as a continuous supply of their daily meal. This is why rats and mice keep coming back. 

Rats and mice will not just eat the chicken feed in the coop. They will also feed on the young chickens and eggs. If you find some chicks or eggs missing without a trace, chances are that the culprit is a rat or mouse. 

  • Chicken coops provide shelter for rats and mice

Rats and mice are also attracted to chicken cops because they offer good warm shelter. Your chicken coop protects them from the harsh conditions of the outside world. The warm litter, chicken dropping, and feathers will offer them warmth when it is cold outside. The chicken coop roof will offer rats and mice shelter from the rains and hot mid-day sun.  

  • Chicken coops attract rats and mice because they have a great water source.

Rats and mice are also attracted to chicken coops because they provide them with good clean water for drinking.  The water you provide for your chickens can be the main attractant to rats and mice, especially in the dry seasons when there is little or no water outside.  When rats are attracted to your chicken coop because of the water, they will soon find that your chicken coop offers more benefits.

  • Chicken coops offer rats and mice a good breeding ground.

The perfect shelter, supply of food and water, and security offered by your chicken coop will make it an ideal place for rats to mate, breed, and raise their young ones. Young rats reach sexual maturity in just a few weeks. Rats can give birth to up to 12 pups per litter.  This means in a few months, rats can easily take control of your chicken coop. You do not want the neighbors thinking you are keeping rats instead of chickens.

Do chickens attract mice and rats
A rat infestation. If not prevented can be very hard to deal with

How rats and mice get into your chicken coop.

Once rats and mice get attracted to the good life your chicken coop has to offer, they will attempt to get in. First, they will start by visiting your chicken run. If you have feed there, they will eat and when full, fund a place to shelter. This will probably be somewhere outside of your chicken coop. Once they detect that they can get me feed and water inside the chicken coop, they will try to find a way of getting in.

Mice are diggers while rats are climbers. Mice will dig around the coop trying to find a small opening that will allow them to get in. Rats are climbers. They will crawl on the walls of the coop, trying to get a small opening, so as to get in. They will look for any gaps where the cop was meet. Note that rats and mice can squeeze through a hole as small as a dime!

If they cannot get in, rats and mice will start chewing, gnawing on anything they believe will let them in, once they make a hole. This can be the wood on the walls of the coop or the chicken wire on the windows of the coop.

The risks of having rats and mice in your chicken coop.

Rats and mice pose a danger to your chickens and your home. A rat infestation in your backyard can lead to diseases, loss of life, and lack of peace, both for you and your chickens.

  1. Rats and mice can carry certain diseases.
  2. Rats and mice can contaminate your chicken feed.
  3. Rats and mice can contaminate the eggs you collect.
  4. Rats and mice are unpredictable.
  5. Rats and mice are very hard to control.

Rats and mice can carry diseases.

Rats and mice can carry and spread diseases such as Weils, Murrain, hantavirus, leptospirosis, Tularemia, Salmonella, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), and Peste to animals and humans. These diseases are caused by bacteria that rats and mice carry bacteria on their paws, urine, and feces.

Rats and mice can contaminate chicken feed.

Rats and mice can contaminate your chicken feed, making it lethal to your chickens. This is because they will urinate and drop their feces on chicken feed and water as they are feeding  They can also contaminate chicken feed if they die in the coop. Rats will not only mess with the feed in the coop but also stored feed. They will chew through plastic containers and sacks to get to the feed. This makes them capable of destroying large amounts of feed.

Do chickens attract mice and rats

Rats and mice are unpredictable.

Rats can be unpredictable in that they will eat almost anything. They will not only chew items in the chicken coop but will move into your home and gnaw electrical wires, car engines, washing machines among other things. 

Rats and mice act as a gateway for other rodents and vermin.

Once your coop is infested with rats and mice, other rodents will follow. These include snakes, which feed on rats and mice. The snakes will get into your coop in search of rats and mice. They will find that there are also eggs and chickens that they can eat.

Rats and mice are hard to control. 

Rats and mice are hard to control. It is easier to prevent a rat and mice infestation than getting rid of them once they establish a breeding ground in your coop and the surrounding areas. Think of having an endless supply of rats.

Preventing rats and mice from your chicken coop.

Preventing rats and mice from your chicken coop is a better strategy than having the deal with them after they have settled in and around the coop. There are several methods of doing this. 

  1. Rat proof your coop. 
  2. Keep your coop and chicken run clean.
  3. Remove feeders and waterers at night, replenishing them the next day.
  4. Collect eggs daily. Do not let them stay in the coop overnight.
  5. Do not store feed in the coop.
  6. Use metal containers to store feed.
  7. Use rat-proof chicken feeders such as the treadle feeder.
  8. Keep cats.

Getting rid of rats and mice from your chicken coop

Getting rid of mice and rats after they have already established a home around your coop can be an uphill task. With a combination of methods, it is possible to get rid of all mice and rats. Let us look at a few of these methods

  1. Implement the prevention rat and mice prevention measures as discussed above.
  2. Use traps.
  3. Use rodenticides.
  4. Plant deterrent plants.

About James

I started this website as a means to catalog my long-time passion - poultry. With Polystead.com, I aim to provide a searchable catalog of all poultry breeds in one place. From Indigenous to exotic breeds. From Pets to Commercial Breeds.

Please feel free to contact me on our Facebook page here
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