How to Keep Rats From Burrowing Into My Chicken Coop

Written by jane humphries
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How to Keep Rats From Burrowing Into My Chicken Coop
Keeping rats away from a chicken coop takes a combination of strategies. (rat image by RomainQuéré from

A rat infestation in a chicken coop is troublesome but you can tackle it with a number of strategies to eradicate the problem effectively. Rats readily live near to a food source so it is no surprise that a chicken coop attracts the attention of an exploring rat. Once a rat finds a food source it keeps returning until it needs to find another one. In the case of a chicken coop, the food source continues for as long as there is chicken feed available for them to eat, so it presents a more complex problem than a standard infestation. However, by employing a number of methods a solution to your rat problem is achievable.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Push-broom
  • Humane rat traps
  • Chicken feed
  • Shovel
  • Concrete

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  1. 1

    Make it difficult for the rats to find a place to nest. Clear your yard of leaves and compost and wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from diseases carried in rat urine. Cut down and remove any branches that overhang the chicken coop in case they are also gaining access that way.

  2. 2

    Remove all plant litter and dead branches from the yard, and clear all household rubbish from the ground. Remove items that allow cover for rats such as old discarded sofas, chairs and broken machinery that clutter the yard.

  3. 3

    Remove uncovered standing water sources from the yard and repair any outside tap leaks. Sweep up the yard with a push-broom and pay particular attention to the area surrounding the chicken coop. Sweep around the chicken coop every day just before sunset to remove stray chicken feed.

  4. 4

    Look for rat burrows to determine the extent of the infestation. Check along the edges of soft earth borders, hedges, tree roots and the perimeter of the chicken coop. Rat burrow holes are up to 5 inches in diameter and are easy to spot if you look closely.

  5. 5

    Place humane rat traps around the outside edge of the chicken coop and bait them with chicken feed. Place traps near to the burrows along rat runs that you spot by looking for rat droppings. Rat droppings are blunt ended black or brown tubes measuring up to 3/4 inch long.

  6. 6

    Using a shovel, dig a 3-foot-deep trench that is 4 inches wide along the chicken coup perimeter, and fill it with cement concrete to the ground surface level. This is a concrete curtain that helps prevent the burrowing activity of rats.

  7. 7

    Check your outside drain covers and seals to make sure they are intact, and replace broken ones. This prevents easy access for more rats to enter the yard and find the chicken coop, so that you only need to deal with one population of rats at a time.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear rubber gloves when touching areas that rats walk over because they may carry Weil's disease in their urine which can lead to organ failure and death in humans.

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