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Identifying a rat problem

Suspect you have a rat problem? Read on.


Just recently there was some program on TV called Rat Pack, it followed a small family pest control business. I watched a few episodes and I found it quite interesting, especially as so many of the problems and infestations they came across were urban in nature which is something I’m not so familiar with.

The TV company didn’t pull many punches when it came to the reality of pest extermination and showed quite graphic footage of the brothers killing rats in various ways from traps through to hunting with a terrier (hunting rats is exempt from the Hunting Act 2004), and they even tried to explore the social aspects and moral dilemmas that exterminators face every day. After all, how easy can it be killing small animals for a living?

Anyhow, one that that struck me about the program was its focus on infestations. No doubt the program makers figured that the worse the infestation the better the TV, and I think they were probably right. However it did mean that what it claimed was evidence of rats was actually evidence of a rat infestation, so if you wanted to learn what the first sign of a rat problem might be then you would be sadly disappointed.


Identifying you have a rat problem in your chicken pen

The best way to deal with rats is to treat a problem long before it becomes an infestation. When you keep chickens and with winter just over the horizon, rats become as inevitable as death and taxes. So I wasn’t in the least surprised when I came across rat sign earlier today.

I took this picture, if you look carefully you can see a track that runs from the corner of the pen towards the bottom left corner of the picture. Rat runs usually follow straight lines.

how to spot rat trails


Below is a bit closer, you can clearly see where rats have trampled the lower vegetation and pushed the longer grasses aside.


rat trail


And here is where the buggers have burrowed under the chicken pen fence to steal chicken food!


rat trail closeup


Killing rats

Know you have a rat problem? Read our simple 5 step guide to killing rats.

One Response to “Identifying a rat problem”

  1. All About Chickens» Blog Archive » Preparing for winter Says:

    [...] Rats are another problem that comes with winter. All summer there has been plenty for them to eat but as the food becomes scarce they’ll be on the prowl for a new source of food. Don’t underestimate rats, they will come for the chicken feed, both at the feeder, and if they can get to it, your grain supply. How to tell if you have a rat problem. [...]

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