Protect Backyard Chickens from Rats

The second in our series on backyard chicken predators will focus on rats. While the barnyard rat, Templeton, in Charlotte’s Web(a book written and based in Maine by the way)is a friend, albeit somewhat begrudging, to Wilbur and the other animals in the fictional farm, the truth is a far cry from that placid arrangement. 0db115c7f5226a9d8f4f9b1f93dad9efRats are a nuisance, to say the least, and in the worst circumstances a great danger to chicks, eggs, even to hens themselves. The danger these rodents pose comes not only from direct attack and carnage but also from often disease ridden droppings that can remain a threat long after the actual rats have gone.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/rat-chicken-pests-how-to-protect-your-chickens-from-rats

So, aside from actually spotting the creatures themselves, how do you identify the presence of rats? Well, their little feet will hardly leave any distinguishable tracks in the midst of coop bedding, etc. If eggs are missing, or chicks or your hens appear to have been attacked but not necessarily killed(they can fight off rats fairly effectively)you might have rats. But, the best way to definitely identify the Rattus rattus(scientist who came up with that name must have been a real genius)is by its droppings. Yep, poop. We talk about pee all the time in this blog, why not poop? I know my eight year old grandson would heartily approve. Anyway, the droppings of a rat can pretty easily be distinguished from that of its smaller cousin the mouse. They are much larger and apparently,  the rat has more of a sense of hygiene than the mouse. So, rather than finding the droppings scattered everywhere, you will more likely find them in groups.

Once you have identified the threat, it is time to take action. Rats love food. So, it is important to always keep food sources contained and free from outside access. Self contained feeders and firmly closed food storage containers are options for this. Once you have shored up your food security, then you must work to keep the rats away from the coop completely. The traditional use of rat poisons can be dangerous to your flock, so this is where a natural, non-pesticidal repellent can be very useful. Enter coyote urine. What? Coyote Urine? How? It might not be the first thing you think of but, a coyote is one of several natural rat predators. Based on our experience and understanding of the predator-prey concept, rats never have to have been within 100 miles of a coyote to possess an instinctual fear of the wily predator. Rats fear coyotes, they sense the coyote is present because of the urine, and they leave your chickens, chicks and eggs alone – it is as simple as that.

Identify, remove food access, set up a pee-rimeter with 100% coyote urine, carefully take care of any droppings, and rest easy.

Until I find more words. . .The PeeMan

Ask the PeeMan: Raucous Raccoons?

It has been a loong time. Summer slump – but the air is cooling and it is time for the PeeMan to get bloggin’ again! We will start with a tidbit from my PeeMail . . .

Question:

Hello,

> I have raccoons frequently pooing in my backyard and especially on my deck. I have kids. How safe is coyote urine? Can it be sprayed on decks? Can it also be sprayed on grass? How do I apply it and how often should I apply it? My backyard is roughly 45 x 30 feet. Raccoon

> How long does it take to ship coyote urine to Canada?  I live in . . .  I understand shipping is free.

> Thanks

Answer:

Figure about a week to Canada – shipping is quick, but customs works on their own timeframe. For a deck, use with our ScentTags or 33Day Dispensers – I wouldn’t recommend drinking PredatorPee but it is non-toxic.

KJ The PeeMan

Ask the PeeMan: Will it bother my dog?

Now back to our our regularly scheduled Wednesday’s Ask The PeeMan. This week features a question that I get frequently, so frequently in fact that I decided to include two examples. People are invariably concerned about the effect of PredatorPee on Fido or Fiffi or Buster . . .

Q. How will Wolf urine affect our dog. We are trying to keep cats off our property. Thanks. Dongray_and_white_terrier_looking_up

Q. We just ordered Coyote Pee to protect our yard from raccoons.  Will this coyote urine cause a problem with our domesticated dog?  He plays in the yard all the time.  Please advise.  Lorraine

 

A. No, your dog might be a bit curious, but that is all.
KJ The PeeMan

I love it when I can give a simple answer! No need to fear for your beloved dog.

Until I find more words . . .The PeeMan

Ask the PeeMan: Deer Problem

I have read that having an editorial calendar is an important part of blogging. Well, my calendar is a little screwed up this week and Wednesday’s Ask the PeeMan is on Saturday. Deal with it blogosphere.

Q. I am experiencing a  deer problem, they are eating my flowers!  I have always made a point of only planting flowers that are not their favorite.  I spray bitter cherry on the plants & it has deterred them up until this year
Strange, because we had a warm wet winter & there seems to be lots of other choices for them. The flowers are mostly in container pots, so I am thinking that the the granules might work best, as I can sprinkle directly on the soil. herten-5I see that you recommend Coyote to keep the deer away.  Guessing that Mountain Lion would work as well?  Would one work better than the other, and/or are there downsides of one over the other?  IE: attracting Mountain Lions?

I have also just ordered some Deer Out.  It combines a bad taste with a peppermint smell that apparently the Deer dislike.  Do you think the Deer Out with its strong smell might over power the urine granules & negate its benefits? 

Suppose another option would be venison stew

Thanks for your time Mr. PeeMan!

Sincerely,
PeeWoman

 

A. Tracy,
CoyotePee is always my first choice for deer. The idea is to create a “pee-rimeter” a little ways back from the food source. That way the deer will get the scent of the predator before the attraction of the food source is too much to resist. The inherent problem with taste deterrents is that it requires the deer to already be in your garden! The PeeMan likes to prevent them from getting there in the first place. Predator Urine can attract same specie predators if they are already in the area. Here are some links with more info:
http://www.predatorpeestore.com/deer-problems-coyote-urine.html
http://www.predatorpeestore.com/Application-Instructions.html
KJ The PeeMan

Just to clarify there is only one PeeWoman even though she cringes at the title – my beautiful bride of more than forty years.

Until I find more words. . .The PeeMan

 

Ask the PeeMan: Rowdy Raccoons

I still have a few minutes of Wednesday left so I’d better use them to post this week’s Ask the PeeMan. This one is hot off the presses – just came in the peemail today!

raccoons-on-roofQ. I am contacting you from Nova Scotia Canada desperate for help. Our roof is being torn up by raccoons. For the past three weeks a racoon is tearing shingles, ice shield and 3/4 inch wood to get into our attic. We had the problem last year when they entered the attic through a hole in the eaves, nested and had babies. I was advised to leave them and they would move out when the young were old enough which they did BUT I had many sleepless nights in the process. The hole was repaired after they “moved out” and I thought it was over. Wrong! One has returned and is destroying our roof and this time we can’t figure out how it’s getting on/off the roof and so far has not moved in, when we hear it we go out and do our best to scare it off – certainly not a solution. Trap is not working, loud noises (running a compressor in the attic) and smells have done nothing. Can you suggest a product and application we can try? I desperately need some help. Sleepless and exhausted in Nova Scotia.

A. PeeMan to the rescue!
You need CoyotePee is what you need. The key is applying it after it has gone out for the night. You can use our PeeShots inside and the liquid to spray liberally outside all around where it is entering your attic. Look for trees with overhanging branches, drain pipes etc that might be the climbing point and spray that as well.
Here is the link: http://www.predatorpeestore.com/CoyotePee-for-Racoons-Gophers-Possum-Groundhogs-and-Woodchucks.html
KJ The PeeMan

Until I find more words . . .The PeeMan

Ask the PeeMan- Rodent Control

It’s Wednesday again and time for our weekly “Ask The PeeMan” segment. Rodents seem to be coming up a lot this time of year. The PeeMan has the answer.

Q.  Good afternoon!
I have a question regarding the Coyote PeeShots . I’m looking at them for a basement style room with a large sliding door that opens onto a driveway. It’s a fairly busy beach area, and we have rats! Our organization works with children, so this is a no go! The description says that they are “long-lasting,” and I’m wondering how long that typically is. Please let me know what the average length of use is.

Thank you!
Best,
Caroline

A.  Caroline,
At least a month. 2 months or more if there isn’t much air circulation in the placement area – like under a sink.
Here is the direct link:
http://www.predatorpeestore.com/Predator-PeeShots.html

KJ The PeeMan

Q.  I came across your site through a company called “Solutions”. I have had an issue with having mice enter my house over the past 2-4 years. I am not sure of their entry point BUT I really would like to deter them from entering at all !!!

My house is small, 984 sq. feet….. full basement below, attached garage with door leading to back patio. I am wondering how much of the bobcat or coyote urine I would need to protect my home throughout the winter season. Also, where should I place the deterrents? I do have dogs in the home, so I am also wondering what their response will be to this product.

Thank you
Kristine

A.  Kristine,
Thank you for contacting the PeeMan. If you have mice already in your home, use our Bobcat PeeShots  for indoor use.
Mice usually enter near openings like where wires and pipes come in, or under garage doors etc. Use the Bobcat Trigger spray bottle and squirt around any areas like that. Dogs will just be curious nothing more. See all the bobcat products for mice at this link:
http://www.predatorpeestore.com/mice-problems-bobcat-urine.html
KJ The PeeMan

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Until I find more words . . .The PeeMan

Guest Blogger – Bones The Coyote

Last week we heard from P. Catcher about his first day on the job. Today, we get an entirely different perspective. Enjoy! It’s unreal and maybe not entirely G-rated.

First Day at the Farm by Bones The Coyote
My name is Bones…as in after I hunt, there’s nothing left but the bones. When I first arrived at the Farm, I had the same attitude as most new inmates. I didn’t like the idea of losing my freedom. I was four years old at the time and I enjoyed roaming the woods, wild and free. I liked working alone, or with a pack if they were good. Life was not always easy, but I got by. If it wasn’t for that chicken farmer, I’d still be there. I still don’t know how I fell for that trap. Too greedy, I guess. So, they sent me to the Farm…. for life. I didn’t like it one bit. Fences, guards….this was definitely not my style. The truck came through the gate and pulled up the processing building. White coats—I knew what that meant. Sure

bones

Bones

enough, shots and more shots and then a collar. Blaze orange, definitely not my color. I felt the antenna brush against my ear. The end of freedom. They led me through a door and I found myself outside in a small field surrounded by trees. Time to socialize. I started sniffing around. Wow! Women! I’d never picked up such a concentrated scent before. I never thought this place could be coed. But, now that I think of it, I’d never heard of anyone trying to escape. Maybe this wasn’t going to be all bad, after all. I saw a bunch of inmates heading down to couple of old stumps. I followed along behind at a safe distance. What happened next is pretty hard to describe. There was a human off in the distance and when he pulled a handle, the tops of those stumps sort of popped open and stuff started spewing out. I couldn’t tell for sure what was coming out, but those other inmates were eating it like there was no tomorrow. This was curious. Most other coyotes I knew preferred meals they had to chase, but this bunch were bellying up to a stump and having a real feast. I slid quietly into the group for a closer look. Well, what the heck, I was pretty hungry. So I tried a few nibbles. Salty, real salty, but good. “What is this stuff anyway?” I ventured to ask to no one in particular. “Pretzels and popcorn,” came the garbled response. “Never heard of it,” I thought to myself. But, it was tasty. Every bite I took seemed to compel me towards another one. You could get hooked on this stuff. I finally gave in and just gorged myself with abandon. The stuff kept coming and coming out of that stump like there was a never ending supply. Then it started. I had been real thirsty before, like the time when I finally got that old rooster out at the Benton place. Man, was he tough and dry. But, this was different, really different! Water! Water! I needed water fast. My tongue was like sandstone. My throat was like a rusty pipe. Then I noticed the inmates were on the move again and moving quite quickly. They ran to a nearby stream and began drinking loudly. I didn’t waste any time joining them. My first gulp told me something was very unusual. Wrong color, wrong flavor and fizzy and foamy too ….but not bad. The other inmates seemed to enjoy it and I was thirsty after all. So I drank, no the truth was I slurped and sloshed and guzzled. I could feel my thirst subsiding a bit, but I felt a little light-headed and unsteady as well. “Easy big fella,” said the cute one next to me as I swayed a little to my left. “Excuse me,” I said in a voice that didn’t seem like my own. “New at the Farm? What’s your name?” she asked. “First day, Bones is my name, ma’am, what’s yours?” I said. “I’m Kitty. What are you in for?,” she asked. “Chickens,” I said, “what about you?” “Sheep. Well, lambs actually. Those big ones can be nasty,” she said. “This place is pretty strange, don’t you think? Eating out of stumps and drinking yellow fizzy water. I’m not sure I like it,” I said trying not to slur my words. “You’ll get used to it. It’s a real friendly place and it’s got everything you need. Just be careful and watch out for the Urine Collector. I hear there is a trainee on today,” she said quietly. “Urine Collector? What do you mean?” I asked nervously. “Yeah, the Urine Collector. It’s how you earn your keep. Did you think they were going to let you live like this for nothing? Look, here at the Farm, you get all sex you want, all the food you can eat and all the beer you can drink. All they want back is your pee,” she explained. “MY PEE!” I screamed. “Yeah, your pee. It’s not so bad. Most of the time you hardly know the Collectors are around. They usually sneak up behind you while your busy at the beer stream and they’re gone before you know it. They sell it to people who want to make other animals think they have coyotes around. Can you believe it? Don’t look now, but I think there is a Collector coming now,” she said as she glanced over her right shoulder. Sure enough there was a human in a big padded suit wriggling along the ground behind the coyotes to my right. He had a long handled pan in its hand and was sliding it under the rear end of one of the inmates down the line. I kept an eye on him for a while, but man I was thirsty. I stuck my snout back in that stream and lapped and lapped. I liked this stuff more and more. Beer, is that what she called it? I didn’t care what it was called and the more I drank, the less I cared about the Urine Collector anymore. That was a mistake. Man, I really had to pee. I stepped a little to one side and tried to lift my leg in my normal style. But, my coordination was a little off and I slipped a bit. Then I felt it. The pain only a man understands. Something whacked me good and my knees folded. As the pain was transforming itself into rage, I looked around to find out who was responsible for this cowardly attack on my most private possessions. I came eyeball to eyeball with the Urine Collector. He had whacked me with that cold steel pan. He was going to die. He knew it too. He tried to scramble to his feet, tripped and fell headlong into the beer stream. Now was my chance, I assumed full attack position ……or I thought I did. My mind was in full attack mode, but my legs and paws had something entirely different in mind. I had never run sideways before, but it was happening now. I bowled over a couple of other inmates in the process. “Hey, watch it, turkey!” they growled. I shouldn’t have said it, especially on my first day. But, for some reason I wasn’t thinking clearly. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but it had something to do with their mother and a German shepherd. However, there was no doubt that they heard it and understood the implied meaning of my words. What a mess! As I staggered to resume pursuit of the Urine Collector, I now had two really aggravated inmates in pursuit of me! Fortunately, their attack mode wasn’t working much better than mine. I almost got a piece of that Collector just before he slammed that door in my face and I crumbled into a heap on top of my fellow inmates. They seemed a little more dazed than I was and I managed to extricate myself from the pile and make my way to the other side of the field. As I tried to get oriented, I noticed Kitty over by the edge of the woods. I could tell from the look in her eye she had something on her mind. Boy, was my mind fuzzy. What did she say before about life at the Farm. All the food, beer and…….what else did she say? If only I could remember…

 

Until I find more words. . .The PeeMan