While setting up a pen for my ducks and figuring out where they will stay in my backyard, I had a lot of questions going through my mind.
One of the major ones was about rats, rodents and scurry little animals in my backyard.
Do ducks attract rats? It is possible. Rats tend to be everywhere and most likely they will be attracted to your duck food, their poops and pellets. They will even steal your duck eggs and eat the ducklings if they can catch them. And they can cause you quite the headache if adequate prevention is not taken.
5 ways to keep rats out of your duck coop.
Rats are nasty little buggers that can cause quite the damage if you allow them
Most times people think that if you have ducks or other birds then it is inevitable that you will have rats
I found out that this is one of the reasons most districts do not allow backyard ducks to be kept.
But this is not entirely true – here are some tips to ensure that rats and your ducks do not have any business together.
1. Make sure all duck food are stored in a tightly sealed container
The major reason why rats and mice are attracted to your ducks is simply because they are attracted to their food
And the fastest and easiest way to stop this is to cut off that food supply that they come to get.
Here are some thing to take note about rats
- They will always go where they can get food. They can eat up about 10% of their body weight every single day
- They have an amazing sense of smell and will literally run towards any food scent that they get especially duck feed.
- They can jump as high as 3 feet while standing up and leap 4 feet from one obstacle to the other.
- They are very good at chewing basically anything except for metal which they have not had any success yet.
From these points mentioned above, you can bet that the number one container I used to store any kind of food around my ducks is a metal container.
My recommendation is to use the Metal Pre galvanized Trash Can which you can find on Amazon at a very good price.
I usually put a heavy weight on top of the lid or I use bungee cords to secure the lids so that rats cannot push them off.
This has totally stopped rats from coming to my duck coop since I started using them almost 4 years ago.
Here are some reasons why I will suggest you use metal
- The feed bags that come with your duck feed will be chewed on by the rats easily
- Using a plastic container is not going to help you much because the rats will chew through a plastic container even though it takes them longer time. I have even had an experience where rats chewed through the so called “strengthened” plastic containers.
- If you use containers on wheels, this will not stop them because remember I said rats can jump and leap very high distances
- Make sure the metal cans you get have no holes in them as these rats will find and exploit any holes no matter how small.
If you are looking for something smaller, then here is another metal can I found on Amazon that you can try – Behrens Galvanized Steel Can with locking lids.
2. Ensure you use a treadle feeder
If you do not know what a treadle feeder is then you are about to discover the next best thing since sliced bread.
Seriously I mean it – one thing you need to know that it is not your ducks that attract the rats but their grains
And you know that rats and mice (click here to know the difference) come with lots of diseases that are bad for humans and your birds
Now you might be tempted to use an open feed but this is a bad idea
Here is why – an open feeder is any type of feeder that still leaves some amount of feed exposed and accessible to rats
My advice – use a treadle feeder and here is my top recommendation. The Grandpa’s Treadle Feeder.
How it works is that your birds will stand on the lever which then opens the treadle so they can feed.
When they step off the treadle closes and is securely locked.
It also has a sloped back so no feed can get stuck – it simply flows down naturally so your birds can feed.
One good thing about this is that the weight needed for a rat to open it is quite heavy, so unless the rat goes and calls it’s brothers and uncles to stand on the lever, there is absolutely no way it can get to your duck feed.
3. Take care of your compost heaps
If you have any backyard gardening experience then you know that your duck poop, unused fruits and vegetables can turn into a compost heap that you can use for garden soil.
But the problem with that is ‘em rats and mice also love garden compost heaps and will run to it like flies to animal dung.
They will eat anything as long as there is a morsel of food in it
Here are some tips you can use if you are dealing with compost heaps
- Make sure you keep it for green compost material – so things like grass, green leaves, dead plants and flowers are ideal
- If you have straw beddings use them. Rats and mice absolutely hate straw beddings but it composts down quickly and the droppings are also great for enriching compost.
- Try using an enclosed compost pile to recycle your waste and vegetables. Something like this, I found on Amazon is best FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Tumbling Composter
4. Keep your duck coop clean
Need I say more?
Rats and mice will naturally come toward places that are dirty and unclean
So you want to make sure that you keep them clean at all times
Every week, take time out to do thorough cleaning.
Make sure there are no grains or feed left on the ground as this is a sure invitation for rats and mice.
Ensure you coop is well aerated and is not damp or moldy
Make sure the grasses and shrubs around your coop are cleared. One thing rats hate is open spaces and they will stay clear from it.
Lastly ensure that at night your duck coop and surrounding areas have enough light as rats are also known to hate lights.
Are rats dangerous to ducks?
Yes they are.
Aside from the fact that rats carry terrible diseases and infections that are harmful to your birds, the are also physically dangerous to ducks
In this case I am referring to ducklings.
Rats have been known to kill young ducklings and eat them.
But when the ducks are much older, they will have no problems dealing with a few pesky rodents now and then
So yeah, rats are very dangerous to ducks
Ducks do attract ducks and this is mainly because of the feed and the cleanliness of the environment.
You want to make sure that you store your duck feed in tightly sealed containers and your environment is always clean.