Written by Bodger
Bodger talks us through the basics of pest control
Well I’m only really qualified to talk on
one subject and as I would like to contribute to this forum , my chosen
topic as a one time professional pest controller, has got to be vermin.
In my work I use a veritable arsenal of rodenticides, pesticides,
gas and traps against the constant menace of a seemingly ever growing
throng of pests.
We, as chicken keepers, are in the front-line when it comes to the
number one pest species. The Rat! We owe it to our neighbours, families
and to our birds to wage a 365 days of the year, all out war against
the rat. I shouldn’t have to tell you of the dangers they pose, but if
you’d seen some of the sights that I’ve beheld, then you would
understand why I say that even one rat on your place is unacceptable.
Ugh! Rats! I hate them.
The number one tool against rat has got to be poison. A good dog or
a trap will catch rats but it will never get them all. The right poison
put down in the right way often will.
When I turn out to an infestation I split the job into two definite
halves. The first is to get rid of the rats and then just as
importantly to try and prevent re-infestation .
Rats need two things to survive – that’s food and harbourage. If you can deny one or both of them, then you are on to a winner.
Most of the measures which need to be taken are just sheer common
sense but if you are anything like me then you are an expert at putting
off the blatantly obvious.
Firstly, do get yourself secure food bins with tight fitting lids.
Don’t leave food in paper sacks and expect rats and mice to find the
Do try to feed your birds the right amount of food so that they
clean up pretty quickly. Don’t leave great amounts at the bottom of
runs especially after the birds have gone to roost.
Now onto harbourage. Harbourage is pest control jargon for
somewhere to live. Unless you are fortunate enough to have tailor-made
accommodation, the chances are that your bird houses will have inherent
design faults that will encourage rats to stay for bed and breakfast.
However if you keep your place tidy then you are on the right track.
By tidy, I mean get the scrap man in to remove that rusting pile
of old junk and put a match to that pile of old wood or rubbish and
generally get rid of that rat hotel!
Two things that I would suggest that you try and do whenever
possible are to raise your existing sheds up off the floor and try to
get 18 -24 inches clearance so that you can see if you have got
unwanted visitors beneath your buildings.
Secondly, you can save all the tin sheet you can get and get it
nailed flush to the bottom of all your doors and even consider using it
to clad vulnerable areas
Now, down to poison. The number one rule with poison is "don’t
skimp". Being ‘tight’ with your poison could mean that the rats get a
sub-lethal dose and encourage resistance or bait shyness.
Warfarin has been on the market for 30-40 years and is known as a
first generation anti-coagulant. You can still get it but it really has
come to the end of its shelf life. With Warfarin you have to get the
rats to eat an amount of poison over a period of time. Warfarin is what
is known as a multi dose poison.
In the past ten years we have had the advent of a number of so
called second generation anti-coagulants. They still use the same
methodology to kill the rats but are single-dose poisons. The rats have
to consume a lot less of the poison and only have to have one feed on
the bait to get a good kill rate.
Down to practicalities. You need to keep poison down in the form of
bait stations all year round and in that way you’ll never get a build
up of vermin.
Bait stations can take the form of lengths of plastic or clay pipes
placed in strategic positions. If you have the pipes about 3 foot long
you can spoon the bait into the middle of it so that only rats can get
Rat poison is now also sold in the form of wax blocks. These are
excellent, if a bit expensive. They are weather resistant and can be
nailed to the sides of sheds on rat runs and are less likely to attract
One thing that I would advise against is the use of scatter bags.
Although they might appear handy they aren’t as good as they are
cracked up to be. Rat colonies have a definite hierarchy and the
dominant rats often carry the bags away to keep them from their lesser
brethren, hide them and forget where they put them so the poison is
lost and therefore wasted.
Fenn traps set in the right places and in the right way can be a useful tool in the fight against rats.
They can be set in wooden tunnels like these. This keeps none
target species such as cats and dogs safe from them. Rats also love to
run through tunnels and the use of a tunnel actually assists in
catching the rats as well as being safer. Set you tunnels along wire
netting fence margins and along side your chicken sheds.
In the picture you should just about be able to see the single
strand of mains electric fence wire that I use around all my pens to
stop foxes from digging in .
Here's one I caught earlier. The rat is killed instantly by having its body crushed by the Fenn.
Beat this hamster Manuel !
A genuine 16"
I use similarly made boxes to site my rat poison in around the farm
yard. They keep the poison dry and safely out of harms way away from
Yeah! When it comes to pests I’m a mine of information and could
literally go on and on, and if any of you members need advice on
rodents or insects etc, then just PM me !