The theft of chicken feed is a serious problem for small-scale farmers and large industrial operations alike. Not only is it costly to replace the lost feed, but rats can also introduce diseases to your flock. A rat-proof chicken feeder is an essential piece of equipment if you want to keep your chickens healthy and your wallet full.
In this article, we’ll look at five of the best mouse-proof chicken feeders on the market and give you some tips on choosing the right one for your needs. We will also look at the possible causes of a rat infestation in chicken coops and the diseases they can transmit.
What are the reasons for a rat infestation in chicken coops?
Rats are attracted to chicken feed for the same reason that chickens are – because it is a food source. Rats eat just about anything but prefer high-protein foods like chicken feed. Feed spilling from ordinary feeders also attracts rats.
Rats are also attracted to chicken coops because they provide shelter and protection from predators. A mouse-proof feeder can help keep rats out of your coop and away from your chickens.
Why Prevent Rodent entry to your coops and cages?
Aside from the fact that rats are dirty and can transmit diseases to your chickens, they will also eat your chicken’s food! A rat can consume up to 3 times its own body weight in food daily, so if you have a rat infestation, your chickens could go hungry.
The good news is that you can take steps to mouse-proof your chicken coop and prevent them from getting in the first place. One of the best ways to do this is to invest in a mouse-proof poultry feeder.
But first, let’s become familiar with the diseases that rats can transmit to your chickens.
Buying Guide: The Best Chicken Feeder to Prevent Rats
1. Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder- No Spill with Weatherproof Lid
This chicken feeder is made from high-standard materials and features a weatherproof lid to keep rats out. The feeder can hold up to 20 pounds of feed and dispenses a set amount of feed at regular intervals.
Grandpa’s Feeders are made of high-quality galvanized steel, ensuring they will last for years.
Features and Benefits
- Comes with a definitive guide and instructions
- Solid status and design
- Can take a month to train chickens with this feeder
2. RentACoop Automatic Chicken 25lb Treadle Feeder, Pest, Mouse Proof
This poultry feeder is made of powder-coated steel and features a treadle design that allows chickens to access the food while keeping rats out. The feeder can hold up to 25 pounds of feed and dispenses a set amount of food at regular intervals.
Features and Benefits
- Holes in the footsteps keep water from puddles
- Removable rain guard
- Instructions are not very clear
- Assembling can take time if you are not an expert
- The food bin lid is flat, so chickens may perch and poop on the lid
3. Rural365 Chicken Treadle Feeder – 17.6 lb. Capacity, Pressure Lever Automatic Chicken Feeder System, Pest Proof
The Rural365 Chicken Treadle Feeder is an automatic poultry feeder that is mouse-proof. It has a treadle design that allows chickens to access the food while keeping rats out. The feeder door remains closed when not in use. With a weight minimum, you can be sure that pesky rodents like rats and mice will not get access to your chicken feed. This innovative design only releases pellets when it’s time for eating, so they stay fresh and safe from any pests which might want to steal their feed.
It is a great option for feeding mixed corn and dried mealworms to small flocks.
Adult Chickens feed from the feeder door without any problem.
Features and Benefits
- Very easy to assemble with detailed instructions
- Made from heavy galvanized steel and injection molded plastic
May take time for some chickens to learn how to get the food out.
4. Sunshine&water Galvanized Chicken Feeder – Rat Proof Poultry Feeder with Lid
No matter what the weather is, Sunshine&water galvanized steel chicken coop feeders will keep your flock fed. You don’t have to worry about rusting the chicken coop feeder after extended outdoor use as it won’t rust and crumble. The trough has an awning attached. It is designed to keep away rats and other pests from stealing your chickens’ feed.
Features and Benefits
- Holds up to 11.5 pounds of feed for your chickens;
- Chick feeders include a lid to allow for easy refilling and cleaning
- Assembling may take time.
- Not totally a waste-free feeder
5. 25LB Outdoor Rainproof Galvanized Chicken Feeder 20 Liter Capacity
This feeder can hold up to 25 Pounds of feed and is 100% rainproof. Your feed is always kept dry and clean. This 25-pound galvanized rainproof feeder is completely waterproof, so there is no chance for feed spills. Additionally, the design of the feeder makes your chicken feed less likely to be stolen and contaminated by rodents and wild birds.
Features and Benefits
- This feeder is 100% rain-proof and spill-proof.
- Suitable for all types of feed – grain, scratch, pellets, crumbles
- Easy to install and assemble
- Super sturdy
- Easy to fill
- Some chickens may have difficulty figuring out how to use it
Diseases Rats can transmit to Chickens
Like humans, chickens, including rats, are susceptible to several diseases that rodents can transmit. Some of the more common diseases include rat-bite fever, salmonella, and leptospirosis.
Rat-bite fever is a bacterial infection that can occur if a rat bites a chicken or if a chicken comes into contact with a rat’s saliva.
Rats-bite fever symptoms include swelling at the bite site, fever, and muscle pain. If left untreated, rat-bite fever can be fatal.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Chickens can become infected with salmonella if they consume contaminated food or water or come into contact with rat feces. Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can occur if a chicken comes into contact with rat urine. Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, muscle pain, and diarrhea. If left untreated, leptospirosis can be fatal.
How to prevent rats?
1. Keep your chicken coop clean and free of debris.
2. Store chicken feed in a rat-proof container.
3. Use a mouse-proof poultry feeder.
4. Install a mouse-proof fence around your chicken coop.
5. Remove potential hiding places for rats, such as woodpiles and dense vegetation.
6. Use rat traps around your chicken coop
7. Check your coop regularly for signs of rats such as gnawed holes and rat droppings
8. Get professional help if you have a serious rat problem. Contact a pest control professional for assistance if you find evidence of rat activity in your chicken coop.
Types of rat-proof poultry feeders
There are two main mouse-proof poultry feeders: automatic and gravity feeders.
- Automatic feeders are designed to dispense a set amount of food at regular intervals. This type of rat-proof chicken feeder is ideal if you have a large flock or if you’ll be away from home for an extended period of time. Why? Because it ensures that your chickens always have access to feed, even if you’re not around to refill the feeder. This way, rats won’t steal your chicken’s feed.
- Gravity feeders are designed to dispense food as chickens eat it. You should use this mouse-proof poultry feeder if you have a small flock or are home frequently to replenish the food supply. It is less likely that gravity feeders will attract rats, but they may attract other pests, such as ants.
Now that we’ve looked at the different types of mice-proof poultry feeders. Let’s take a look at some of the best mouse-proof feeders on the market.
Things to consider when choosing a rat proof chicken feeder
Chicken Feeder Type
As previously mentioned, there are two primary types of mouse-proof chicken feeders: automatic and gravity. Automatic feeders are designed to dispense a set amount of food at regular intervals.
Gravity feeders are designed to dispense feed as chickens eat it. Consider the type of mice-proof feeder that best suits your needs before purchasing.
Size of Flock
The size of your flock will also play a role in determining the best poultry feeder for your needs. If you have a small flock, a gravity feeder may be sufficient. With this, food is dispensed as chickens consume it and must be replenished regularly.
Suppose you have a larger flock, or you’ll be away from home for an extended period. In that case, an automatic feeder may be a better option as it can dispense a set amount of feed at regular intervals.
Mouse-proof chicken feeders range in price from around $25 to $200. Consider your budget when selecting a rat-poultry feeder.
Chicken Feeder Material
The material of your chicken feeder will affect its durability and how easy it is to clean. Plastic feeders are the most affordable option but are not as durable as metal or stainless-steel feeders. Metal and stainless-steel feeders are more expensive, but they will last longer and are easier to clean.
How to make a rodent-proof Poultry feeder
You can do a DIY rodent-proof poultry feeder if your budget is tight. All you need is a plastic bucket, some hardware cloth, and a mouse-proof lid. Below is a simple step you can follow to make your feeder.
1. Cut a hole in the center of the bucket’s lid. The size of the hole will depend on the size of your chickens’ heads.
2. Cut a piece of hardware cloth to fit over the hole.
3. Attach the hardware cloth to the bucket with zip ties or screws.
4. Place the lid on the bucket.
5. Hang the best chicken feeder in your coop.
Your chickens can reach their heads through the hole to eat, but rats will not be able to get through the hardware cloth. The chicken feeder is easy to clean – just remove the lid and dump the old food.
Q: Do mouse-proof poultry feeders work?
A: Yes, mouse-proof feeders effectively prevent rats from getting into your chicken coop and eating your chickens’ feed.
Q: How often do I need to clean my chicken feeder?
A: You should clean your feeder every two weeks.
Q: Can You use hanging feeders to avoid rats?
Yes, a hanging feeder can be used to avoid mice, insects, and rodents. Wild birds can eat from your poultry feed. However, it is not suitable for chicks.
A rodent-proof chicken feeder is a valuable addition to any chicken coop. With all the information above, we hope you can find the best rat-proof chicken feeder for your needs. If you have any questions or suggestions, please share them with us below. We would love to hear from you!