We’ve been having a little problem in our chicken coop. It’s a problem we had back at our old Sonoma garden, but it was only a little problem. Here it is a downright infestation. Rats. We’ve always used an old cabinet as their nesting box. We put some hay on the middle shelf and on top and they were quite happy with that. Unfortunately the rats were also quite happy that they too could build a little nest underneath the cabinet. We noticed the problem a while back when the chicken’s food dish was licked clean…chickens don’t do that. Then we started seeing tunnels. Everywhere.
(June, a buff cochin)
Thinking we were quite clever we cleared out the coop a couple of months ago and laid down some large old doors we had laying around thinking that putting in a ‘floor’ would deter the little buggers. To no avail. Instead they were digging massive rat superhighways underneath. Things were getting out of control and we had to do something fast. We needed to get that cabinet and floors out of there pronto and get their boxes up onto the wall.
(Bea, a coocoo maran)
Unfortunately the pre-made hanging nesting boxes were either too small for our well fed hens or too expensive. Even the ‘economical’ boxes we’d seen at Rivertown were $25 each. Multiply that times 6 and that makes our backyard eggs pretty darn expensive. While I’m all for good quality and high style, in this case, thrift and ingenuity won out.
(Edna, an Ameriana)
Scott took three 15 gallon pots we had around from trees we bought a few years back and sawed them in half. Then he screwed the lip to two old wood slates we had from an old futon frame. These then got screwed straight into the coop wall. He made two sets of three. One up high for the agile girls, one set of three down low for the old ladies. We were very curious as to how they would adapt to this change. The original three gals had been using that cabinet for their roost for the past four and a half years. But it seems like they warmed right up to it.
They even laid us two eggs today. Thanks ladies. Oh, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of the rats, but at least we aren’t encouraging breeding grounds for them.