to speak to my neighbours about their chickens

(34 Posts)
Mitzi50 Fri 09-May-14 15:41:17

Last week, my greyhound caught a rat in the garden and after investigating, I notice there were several rat holes in the garden. Today, a local pest control firm came out (£144) and said that there was a clear rat run from next door's chickens (living in a pen right up against my fence) into my garden. He said they were probably feeding on the chicken food and coming into my garden.

Should I speak to the neighbours? I feel quite put out that I am forking out money I can't afford when they are "feeding" the rats. The wife is lovely, but the husband is known locally to be quite temperamental. The husband is providing work experience for my son over the summer so I don't want to fall out with them (well even if he wasn't, I still wouldn't want to fall out with them). I live in a rural area so accept that people should be able to keep chickens etc but they (and the rat run) are 10ft from my back door - I am concerned that the rats will keep coming back and, when the weather gets colder ,may decide that my garage or house is significantly warmer than outside.

Damnautocorrect Fri 09-May-14 15:54:52

I would because they will probably come back. It's a very common problem

Damnautocorrect Fri 09-May-14 15:55:45

Don't blame them just a 'by the way had the rat man round he thinks the rats are....'

BaldricksWife Fri 09-May-14 15:56:43

Apparently we are never more than 10 foot away from a rat in the UK so not sure it will make much difference. Really fresh eggs though? Like hens teeth!

orangepudding Fri 09-May-14 15:57:09

Could you call your council pest control department. Maybe they could have a word with them, mine also offer a much reduced pest control rate which may be worth looking into incase you do have a problem again.

EffectiveCommunication Fri 09-May-14 15:57:48

I would deal with what you can from your side, and mention in passing about the rat run, don't make a big deal out of it. I am sure they won't want rats around either.

Greyhound Fri 09-May-14 16:00:50

I would mention the rats as they might kill the chickens. Rats love chickens because of all the free seed.

Mitzi50 Fri 09-May-14 16:03:35

EffectiveCommunication - the pen is some distance from their house so won't affect them.

BaldricksWife - loads of people keep chickens around here so really fresh eggs are easy to come by.

bunchoffives Fri 09-May-14 16:06:01

In chicken circles it is known that you should only leave out enough food that it will be eaten that day. You can get ]treadle feeders if that's a problem, that rats can't access.

I'd just have a quiet word with the chicken keeper.

mercibucket Fri 09-May-14 16:07:19

what outcome are you looking for? rat proofed chicken run (is this possible?) moving chicken run? something else?

I would just ask them to move the run politely. Surely they would be ok with that?

I've got chickens and if my neighbour asked me to move them I would

Mitzi50 Fri 09-May-14 16:15:10

mercibucket - good question - I think I would like them to move the chicken run away from my fence. I can see why they have put it there as they have been able to easily create a run against my fence, a disused outbuilding on their land and another fence. It is also some distance from their house so they won't get any associated smells. I also think if rat proof feeders are available as bunchoffives suggests, that it would be neighbourly to buy one of those.

I actually like the sound that the chickens make even though they have woken me up a couple of times at 5.30am as my bedroom overlooks the run.

Frettchen Fri 09-May-14 16:56:06

My opinion is that your best option is to rat-proof your garden, or at least make it harder for the rats to get in - even if your NDNs change how much/where they feed their chickens, the rat problem isn't going to disappear over night, especially if they have made themselves comfortable. You can use mesh/chicken wire to block off any entry points. This is what my dad has done in his garden - he had the opposite problem; he was feeding the wild birds over the winter and ratty was coming in to eat the bird food.

I do also think it would be worth mentioning it to your NDN, not in an accusatory 'you're bringing rats into my garden' way, more along the lines of 'I saw a rat near your chicken coop, might be worth taking some steps to guard the chickens.' (Not that I'm suggesting you would be accusatory! Just )

It may be that the run can't go anywhere else. I keep pet animals in my back garden (not chickens) and they need to go in a fairly shaded position, so it wouldn't be easy to move them to another place.

Sallyingforth Fri 09-May-14 17:02:10

The first place to go for a rat infestation is the council - they would probably have inspected for free and given advice to the neighbour.

SarcyMare Fri 09-May-14 17:14:04

8Sallyingforth* is correct, i looked at bunchofhives link it is a great idea, but wouldn't fit in my run (where the chickens are in the morning till I get up) so isn't a very practical solution for garden runs

The council are very often very keen to get the causes of rats sorted so they will go and talk to the chicken keepers and help them.

when i lived in leeds and got rats reg. the council used to come and bait us for free, but we lived next to open land so there was nothing we could do but fight fire.

U2TheEdge Fri 09-May-14 17:33:19

I have the same problem. My neighbour has them and we have rats in our garden that goes through our garden into hers.

We are with a housing association and when we called them they just said that they can't prove the rats are attracted by the chicken food so they can't do anything.

We have nothing in our garden that they want and got someone from environmental health out to double check and they said there is no doubt they are after the chicken food.

Neighbours don't care either so we are left to just put up with it.

Mitzi50 Fri 09-May-14 19:17:39

Frettchen - it would cost me a fortune to rat proof my garden. The garden backs onto playing fieds and we are rural so we get a lot of wildlife - realistically I know that there will be rats what is bothering is the fact that there are clearly a large number in very close proximity to the house.

EffectiveCommunication Fri 09-May-14 19:21:36

Just rat proof near the house then, if that is cheaper?

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 09-May-14 19:22:59

I keep chooks and get rats -basically I've had chooks for years and generally where there's chooks there's rats.

I would mention it to them.

It gives them the opportunity to take steps to minimise the effects on you.

For eg, I keep the chicken house, and feed at the farthest corner from the houses.All food is in steel bin, and I only feed at morning so no feed is out at night.

But I always say that the rats are there anyway -the chooks house is just their dining room......

Off topic but can I send you my greyhound so yours can give him some tips? Mine stood whiiiiiining at a mouse last night for ten minutes and then ran off!

Joysmum Fri 09-May-14 19:43:52

If you approach your neighbours and explain there is a rat problem and you are worried about the girls with rats in there.

When I had chickens we just left out enough food for the day, don't leave it out at night when the girls were roosting, and made sure none was left on the floor. Nothing for rats that way and good housekeeping as you don't want rats in with the chickens. I could tell your neighbour you've been advised that's what she should do to safeguard her chickens wink

Joysmum Fri 09-May-14 19:44:31

*the girls meaning the chickens btw!

As Baldricswife says, there are rats everywhere ... they may well have a tunnel from the chicken run to your garden, but I bet there are other runs all over the place. And if the run is anything like ours, it would take days to rebuild somewhere else. We had rats before our chickens and still see them; not more or fewer.

Shallishanti Fri 09-May-14 20:00:19

we have this feeder
www.grandpasfeeders.com/
it's fab and we are using far less feed - therefore rats/pigeons going hungry- sure this would fit anywhere

paxtecum Fri 09-May-14 20:03:40

Rats can chew through metal and concrete so I'm not sure that it would be possible to rat proof a garden.

You can buy really good rat poison from farm suppliers for �20ish or you could get a cat preferably one from a farm.
My friend's cat brings home about two rats (dead usually) each week and they live in suburbia with no chickens nearby.

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