rats and baby chicksgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
At what age/size are my baby chicks likely to be safe from rats? I lost my 3 Rhode Island Red hens last week to a fox, one week after they started to lay- bummer. So, I now have 27 new Ancona chicks plus my free exotic mutt from the hatchery in a dog crate in the kitchen.I have raised a few baby chicks before and had great success (till the fox!), but 28 chicks stink- my house smells like a pet store and Yuppie Boyfriend is coming for a visit this weekend. Gotta get the chicks out of the house. I can put their brooder on the second floor of the barn- it is very warm up there, and I can secure them against most predators, but I am worried about rats. I've never seen any sign of them out there, but I'm sure I will once I put the chicken mcnuggets out there. So, if someone can give me an idea of when they become too big for rats, I would greatly appreciate it.
-- Elizabeth (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 22, 2001
Don't know about age/safety issue but we use old metal water troughs as brooders and use old window screens weighted with boards to keep the chicks in and predators out. We also have 3 barn cats and 2 Pyrs that sleep in the barn. So far, so good.
Sorry about the fox. We had one about 6 weeks ago take a hen. When he kept returning, I contacted the conservation agent who gave me advice and permission to remove the nuisance animal which I did. So far, none of the fox's relatives have decided to "visit."
-- marilyn (email@example.com), May 22, 2001.
The previous idea about the screens on top of a water tank are good. We have just used in the past an old apple crate and covered it with screens and made sure that the corners were stuffed good with rags so the chicks couldn't get out or the rats in to them. Also leave a light or a heat lamp on them too. We have lost baby chicks in the hen house while under the mother hens !! Guess Momma hens are real brave when in comes to rats. Get a couple good (spade and neutered) cats and let them have the run of the barn but please do take care of them with food and water. About the yuppie boyfriend ??? Maybe you should let him sleep in the barn and leave the chicks inside. (ha ha). Good Luck !!
-- Helena Di Maio (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 23, 2001.