Keeping rats out of the chicken run

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Laying down wire underneath the full length of the chicken run, to keep out the rats.

“Rat cunning.” It’s an expression you hear, but you don’t fully understand until you see them in action.

When we created our chicken run, we ran aviary mesh up the sides of the run, and chicken wire across the top. Old concrete garden edges were dug 30cm into the ground on all sides, locking down the wire.

We thought it would be enough to keep out the rats. Boy were we wrong!

Within a month, rats started tunneling under the fence from the convent next door. They went under the concrete edging, and opened up new holes every night. (It doesn’t help that we back onto the railway line, which is both rat haven and highway.)

While the the chickens themselves were safe in their Fort Knox of chicken coops, the rats were scavenging any feed scattered about by the hens.

So I spent the last few weekends digging up the chicken run, laying down wire, and then cementing in the gaps. A lot of work, but hopefully the chickens should be safe now.

Of course, the wire will rust away in a few years. Had we known what we know now, we’d have bitten the bullet and laid a concrete slab when we created the run.

Still, this should last a while. And maybe when these defenses fail, I’ll be feeling more enthusiastic about laying a slab.

The take-away message: don’t underestimate rats, particularly when you live in the inner-city.

2 thoughts on “Keeping rats out of the chicken run

    Carolyn said:
    November 26, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I am not in the least bit surprised. I live on a sleepy little patch (by comparison to inner city Sydney!) of Noosa Heads, with a small back garden, just enough to grown some veggies and have a compost bin. Unbeknownst to me, rats found a way into my compost bin and were having a field day! The next thing I know, I am hearing noises in my roof at night, and then there’s a whole family of them living up there, scurrying around at night, creating general havoc, chewing up everything, tearing up my sizalation, and making a right old mess! I trapped them, one by one, in a wire cage designed for the job (with pumpkin on a hook that releases a spring-loaded door when moved) and set them free 5 klms away. Call me mad, but I don’t like killing things unless it’s really necessary. Rats are, indeed, extreeeeemly cunning.

    […] years ago we ran wire underneath the whole chicken run, in order to keep the rats out. The wire has held up very well, but there’s been a renewed […]

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