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Do Chicken Coops Attract Rats?

Traditionally, yes, they do. Rats will burrow under a muddy chicken shed, attracted by the food. They do not usually harm the birds or steal the eggs, but that doesn’t make them welcome guests.

How To Prevent Rats Occupying Chicken Runs

A modern, moveable coop such as the Eglu will deter rats. It’s not the damp wood-and-mud combination they’re looking for, and can be shifted around to prevent the rodents making permanent burrows underneath it. Wooden coops should be raised from the ground on legs, to prevent the rats burrowing underneath.

Chickens in Eglu
A modern coop like the Eglu helps keep the squatters at bay

Coop hygiene helps enormously too. Don’t leave food scattered around the chicken shed, and make sure all bags of chicken feed are kept in airtight containers that rats can’t enter.

If rats have moved in, you can deter them by putting cat poo or soiled kitty litter in and around their rat holes. Small jars of toilet cleaner, with a hole in the led to the let the odour out, will drive away the pests, without harming or bothering the hens (although make sure the bottles are in the rat holes or under the coop - not anywhere that a hen can access and cause the liquid to spill).

If rats are a real problem, an expert can advise on the best way forward with traps and, as a last resort, poison.

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Mary, 6 February 2023

Since getting 4 hens weve got rats under next doors shed . We find new holes every morning. Weve proofed most of the perimeter now but the rat poison in the rat boxes are ignored . They dont dig where overgrown chives are . I used to throw monkey nuts to 2 little squirrels that came daily & i really thought they were getting through them fast until i spotted this ugly rat running back and forth taking the peanuts & those the squirrels hid. I dont feed them anymore or the birds . Its partly my fault as i used to scatter some of the corn mix on the grass for the birds never dreaming it would attract rats, now i cant get rid of the blighters. Im in a council house and im worried if i ask the council for help they might tell me i have to get rid of the hens. Ive grown quite attached to them, they were caged hens once. I have a proper shop bought chicken coop , it has lots of room for the hens to scratch around as i dig it so they can get the worms -yuk, and i let them into the rest of the garden when im outside. Theyre all layers but have not been doing so good of late, would the rat effect their laying if they hear it at night or if it got in during the day & i dont see it? Mrs big - a huge black hen lays blue eggs , Theyre quite friendly and look the picture of health compared to the state they were when we got them. So,,, any other ideas on our problem would be much appreciated , cant afford a professional rat exterminator . Will the litter of rats that will no doubt come stay under the shed or go elsewhere? When we finish securing the coop & run will the rats leave . I remove any water at night, i have the other water & seed containers hanging from the top of hen run by chain & hoist it higher at night and put a recycle bag up and to the top at night. I rake to as the hens are messy seed eaters .Any tips please?