How Do You Keep Rats Away from a Chicken and Rabbit Coop?

Dave Campbell

Rats are one pest that can cause havoc in and around the home, especially if you have a chicken or rabbit coop.

Keeping chickens or rabbit has loads of benefits even if you live in urban or rural areas. You can enjoy fresh eggs with chickens while rabbits have their advantage.

Furthermore, chickens provide natural pest control, and you get the best soil quality as well.

However, the biggest snake found in the Garden of Eden in most cases is the rodent making itself a houseguest.

On the other hand, they pose a threat to both chickens and rabbits. So how do you prevent the rodent from entering the chicken and rabbit coop?

Find out how here!

Prevent Rodents from Entering Backyard Henhouse

The main reason rats are attracted to a backyard chicken coop is the feed and water. Therefore, you need to minimize waste and place the food source out of reach.

Here are some fixes you can do to improve rodent control:

  • Always make sure to clean up spilled food before nightfall.
  • Keep the food stored away from the coop in airtight containers.
  • At night remove covered feeders and the water source.
  • Invest your money in a treadle feeder keeping the food secure.

Another problem you face is that the rodent loves to feed on the eggs. There are several things you can do to keep the girl’s eggs safe by following these steps.

  1. Make sure the pens fitted with sturdy wire mesh measuring 10mm x 10mm as the ordinary chicken wire does not work.
  2. Place quality locks with sliding bolts to prevent the rat from pushing their way through.
  3. Elevate nesting boxes to prevent the jaws from rodents reaching the eggs.
  4. Make sure your chicken coop is made of quality weather-resistant timber that is painted as rodents love to gnaw through things.

If you are not a DIY person, you can always buy a durable chicken coop sold online made with 10mm by 10mm galvanized wired mesh.

Now if you have a rabbit coop make sure to read on as rats pose a significant danger to cute bunny rabbits.

Do Pet Rabbits Attract Rats?

As with chickens, rabbits also attract rodents from mice to rats. Furthermore, another main attraction is bird feeders and heaps of composite pits.

The rodent looks for places where it can find accessible food and shelter. Furthermore, the rat’s sense of smell is powerful and detects fresh food miles away.

So how do rabbits attract rats?

The biggest attraction is food and as rabbits are docile of nature, ignoring the rodent when they enter the pen to eat food.

The rat feeds on the rabbit pellets and is the source of their feast throughout the day. Furthermore, the rodent also lives on feces from other animals like cat poop as well.

Another reason for attracting rats is shelter as they make their nest in warm to dark areas. Therefore, if your rabbit coop has space between the wall and hatch or around the shed, it is perfect for breeding rats.

rabbit hutch

How can you protect your hutch?

You can do several things to keep the scavenger away from your bunnies and other hutches as well.

Start with rat traps

If you are starting with breeding rabbits we recommend you get a rat-proof hutch. With the smaller diameter, it prevents any rodent from passing through.

Furthermore, if you have a raised enclosure, you can add rat guards and rat traps around the legs to prevent them from ascending.

On the other hand, make sure the hutch has a solid base to prevent fecal dropping to the ground. If you have wired mesh keep a slide-out tray to trap fecal pellets and urine to prevent rats from feeding on it. Also check the chicken wire that there are no gaps or holes that a rat could crawl through.

Keep food safe

Whether you have a rabbit or chicken coop, you need to keep the food away from rodents. Make sure that when you feed your bunnies you leave no food lying around as it attracts different rodents including rats.

Keep the enclosure clean

The important thing is not to leave dropping or food lying around in the area. Dispose of soiled food and dropping to keep the hutch clean reducing smells making it less enticing for rodents.

Take precaution

It helps if you took care to control different pests around the pen. Some of these are using pest baiting systems or ultrasonic ant-rat devices. Make sure the method you use does not harm your poultry or bunnies in the process.

Possible problems of not taking action

No matter what rodent is causing havoc at the coop, a mouse or rat can cause harm to bunnies and chickens.

Rodents carry parasites like fleas and mites that spread to other animals. Furthermore, your bunnies can get a fright, making them stressed.

So if you were wondering if rats can make your bunnies or chickens sick the answer is yes. Rodents carry different diseases depending on what pest problem you have:

  • Hantavirus you get when in contact with the dropping from deer mice
  • Leptospirosis you get when in contact with rats urine
  • Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis is a viral infection caused by rodents when you get in connection with the blood, feces, and more
  • Tularemia is a bacterial disease caused by bites
  • Salmonella is found in birds

Furthermore, rats cause property damage as they chew on wiring and structures of the home. Alternatively, a rat can bite your rabbit or chicken, causing rat-bite fever.

The animal may not get sick but can spread the bacterial disease. A fact is that the pest attack and kills anything. So if you do not want your rabbit to become infected, the best is to get rid of the infestation quick.

Now, what can you do to keep the rats out of the coop and will rabbit eat rat poison?

When using any form of poison, you need to be careful using poisonous bait as food for rodents. Your bunny must not be exposed to it as most of the bait traps are grain-based.

It only takes a few nibbles resulting in slow death and best not to use them on the property.

Check out my other post on getting rid of rats here

Steps to protect your pets from rats

No matter what animals you have, the feeder needs to work smoothly and remain well-stocked. You must be able to keep the food dry, clean, and off-limits for rodents.

Furthermore, to prevent other animals such as birds you can keep the feeders enclosed by enclosing the whole coop.

However, this can become costly as the 14-gauge wire is expensive. Alternatively, you can use the treadle that opens and closes with feeding.

On the other hand, you can build your DIY chicken feeder to protect it from critters, rodents, and the weather.

Here is how you can make your secure feeder:

Material Needed

  • You will need two four-inch long eyebolts with a ¼ inch diameter thread and one four-inch long hook with a threaded shaft.
  • Bucket with handle
  • A drill with a drill bit of 3/16 inches
  • Two corks from wine bottles

Steps on making the feeder

  1. Start by drilling two holes at the bottom of the bucket by placing it under the spot where the bucket handles attaches. Once completed you will notice that the eyebolt shafts hang down through the holes. The outer diameter is an inch and to make the holes use a ¾ inch spade bit.
  2. Now drop the eyebolt shafts through the holes.
  3. Now take a 3/16-inch bit and drill holes at the bottom of each cork over half the distance from one end to another.
  4. Place one hand in the bucket to hold the shaft and use the other hand on the outside to screw the cork onto the shaft.
  5. Decide on a perfect spot to hang the bucket on the inside of the pen as the corks need to hang at the height of the rabbit or chicken’s head. Now mark the spot where you want to hang the hook.
  6. Now use a drill bit that matches the diameter of the shaft to help the threads bite into the wood and screw the hook in place.
  7. Fill the bucket with food and close it with the lid.
  8. Hang the bucket and make sure the corks are hanging down so that when tapped, the food drops out of the bucket.

Once completed, remove any other source of food lying around to grab the attention of the animal on the new feeder.

Animals learn quickly, and in no time they will be using the feeder. You may need to tap their heads against the cork until they get the idea.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, rats are not a pest you want roaming around your chicken or rabbit pen. If you lack DIY skills you can find different items online to secure your animals without using your skills.

The important thing is to keep your animals safe and out of harm’s way and carry our effective rodent control. We hope the article helps you to decide what to do to keep your chickens and rabbits safe in their enclosures.


Do rats eat rabbits?

Rats are more likely to go for any rabbit food left out first. They are also known to eat rabbit droppings. That’s not to say a very hungry rat wouldn’t attack a rabbit. They might think twice about attacking and eating a large rabbit, but they could go for a small one.


Dave Campbell

I'm Dave Campbell and the owner of You can read more about me and my background on my About Me page.

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