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I want a chicken feeder that is rat proof. Does one exist?

Posted on 27th Feb 2017 @ 3:08 PM

What causes rats in the chicken coop?

I have had thousands of enquiries from customers looking to stop rats in their chicken pens. And one of the things that I have noticed is that many of these infestations were initially caused by buying a cheap, poorly-designed chicken feeder and choosing the wrong type of feed.

Although our rodent-resistant chicken feeders can help stop rats, the fact of the matter is that feeder choice is only one part of a rodent management program. A rodent proof chicken feeder is not the magic bullet. And especially if you already have a rat problem!


Rodents in the chicken coop are generally the result of:


1. Feeder choice

Some feeders are just not built to contain feed. Sure, they might not leak, but the second your hens start eating, there is feed all over the floor. Birds will naturally thrash their head from side to side and rake feed onto the ground in order to seek out the tastiest morsels, creating an attracting smorgasbord for rats and mice.

A waste-reducing feeder, designed to minimize raking and thrashing action, is key to deterring rodents in your coop. Mounted at a suitable height for chickens, instead of sitting on the floor, it will save you money on food that goes to feed vermin and pest birds.

If you don’t have rodent visitors, a waste-reducing feeder is key to keeping them from discovering your coop!


2. Feed type

Your choice of feed also has a huge impact on the amount that is wasted, and whether rodents can find a reliable source of food in your chicken pen.

Chickens are very picky – if given the opportunity, they will eat only the tidbits of feed they like and leave the rest. This is particularly the case with coarse grain mixes – these feeds look good, but the variety encourages selective feeding, actually decreasing nutrition and increasing wastage. When given a grain mix, birds thrash their heads and rake feed onto the ground, looking for corn, sunflower seeds and other favorite treats, leaving the more nutritious pellets and high protein seeds like wheat and barley. This creates mess to attract rodents and pest birds, and also means that your hens are not getting the healthy, balanced diet that they need.

The best feed is a nutritionally balanced crumb or pelleted mix. This will prevent birds from selective feeding, improving nutrition. By reducing waste, it also contributes to deterring rodents and pest birds.


3. Scraps on the ground

Kitchen and garden waste can be a great treat for chickens, but it also attracts rats and other pests. Feed scraps in the morning, and in amounts that mean each bird will get a small treat and the scraps will be finished by the end of the day. Never feed so much that your birds won’t eat their allocated feed ration – no matter how beneficial scraps might be, they cannot replace a balanced diet and therefore should never replace feed. Clean up any excess to prevent attracting vermin.


Help! I already have rats!

Good coop management prevents rodents from EASY access to food, and is often enough to deter them from taking up residence in your chicken coop. But if you already have a rat infestation, these measures are not enough to get rid of them.

In the case of a severe rodent problem, you need to act to remove the pests. You can use a range of measures, including humane traps and poisons. What you cannot do is rely solely on a feeder, any feeder, to get rid of them for your.

Good coop management and a rodent-resistant feeder are just two steps in the battle against rodents.