Neighbour doesn't want us to get chickens because of rats

(36 Posts)
charliesweb Thu 04-Apr-13 17:27:38

Hello we were very excitedly planning to convert our playhouse on stilts into a chicken coop with a run underneath. We told our elderly neighbour and she said fine. The next day I got summoned to her house were she was with her daughter. She said she wasn't happy about us getting chickens and nor was her son and daughter. I didn't really know what to say so I reassured her I wouldn't do anything unless she was happy and that I would do more research. She is most concerned about noise and rats. She tends to get wound up by other people's opinions. She said she would be afraid to leave her back do open in the summer! I don want her to worry, but we were all looking forward to the idea. My neighbour on the other side we should go ahead a get them, but I really don't wan her to be upset and worried. Any advice?

ChasingSquirrels Thu 04-Apr-13 17:32:27

I haven't seen any rats around mine in the 5 years I have had them - but that might be more to do with the number of local cats (and the slight feral cat problem we have).

You can try and reassure her, but at the end of the day chickens are a pretty inoffensive pet for a neighbour to have - they don't make a lot of noise (just the "look at what I have done" or "fuck me that hurt" clucking when they have just laid), they don't smell, they produce lovely fresh eggs.

I honestly can't see why someone would be afraid to leave their back door open - there are rats everywhere anyway.

charliesweb Thu 04-Apr-13 17:36:34

That's how I feel about it. Unfortunately my neighbour tends to get wound up by what other people tell her. She won't go to the allotment on her own because someone has chickens there and she has been told there are rats. We actually have a cat who is already a proven very efficient rat killer!!!
I just need some good evidence to convince her it will be alright so she doesn't worry.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 04-Apr-13 17:37:07

Your mistake was to say you wouldn't do anything unless she was happy.
Now you are left with a choice to forget about the chickens or go back on what you said!
Why might there be rats?.
If you can tell her what you will be doing to minimise the risk, might she feel better?
But ultimately, you said you wouldn't and you probably will! That's going to sour relations.
Can you bribe her with the offer of free eggs? grin

charliesweb Thu 04-Apr-13 17:38:20

I told her there are already rats about as our cat occasionally brings them in for us as presents. hmm

Onlyconnect Thu 04-Apr-13 17:40:02

I always tell people that they will get rats if they have chickens and most of them do. I know a few people who have got rid of their chickens because of the rats. I would hate it if my neighbour got chickens for this reason BUT I don't know if I'd think I had the right to stop them. That's another matter.

charliesweb Thu 04-Apr-13 17:40:20

It was a very awkward situation especially as her daughter was sat there looking very unhappy! I felt it was probably important to reassure her as she was obviously very worried an upset. Tbh I didn't really know what to say. I hate upsetting people.

ChasingSquirrels Thu 04-Apr-13 17:41:39

I agree with the other poster on saying that you wouldn't do anything unless she was happy.
TBH I would go round, say that you are happy that having the chickens wouldn't lead to any increase in rats, and your cat catches rats anyway, and that you are going to be getting some hens.
Don't "discuss" it, just inform her.

ChasingSquirrels Thu 04-Apr-13 17:43:08

actually - I don't think I would say that about not increasing rats.

I would just say that I have thought about it further, considered all the implications, and just wanted to let her know that I will be getting hens.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 04-Apr-13 17:45:45

I've had chickens for a few years and never had rats. It's not inevitable. The compost heap was far more of a problem in terms of attracting them.
If you bring food in at night and store it in ratproof bins and don't leave spilled food around it's less likely.

Re noise, maybe she thinks you'll be getting a cockerel.

When I wanted to get chickens I went to ask the neighbour if they minded and they said, 'Er, we've had some ourselves for years, haven't you ever noticed?'

Pancakeflipper Thu 04-Apr-13 17:47:47

Our neighbour has chickens and the rat population is having a running buffet.

charliesweb Thu 04-Apr-13 17:48:50

I know I wish I could go back and have that first conversation again. I'm rubbish at being put on the spot. She has my phone number because she's had falls in the past I wanted to have someone close to call in case of an emergency so when she rang I assumed it was something like that and rushed round.

My plan is to get her evidence that it will be alright and then go round and talk to her and reassure her. It's crazy because although we were keen we still hadn't completely decided ourselves. I think she probably assumes its all sorted now sad. I'm so rubbish at any kind of confrontation, even small ones.

I hope I can salvage this.

Pancakeflipper Thu 04-Apr-13 17:49:15

Our neighbour has 3 cats who are great at catching them and bringing them into the house alive. They love hiding behind the cooker.

charliesweb Thu 04-Apr-13 17:52:10

My mum has an ongoing problem with rats going after her bird feeders. But as far as I know the neighbours aren't affected. Will it help to tell her if rats are attracted they will focus on the chicken food?

The house is on high stilts. We are planning on having their food in a hanging feeder. Digging wire down (to discourage foxes) and keep feed in a metal bin in the shed.

wannaBe Thu 04-Apr-13 17:56:03

it sounds as if your neighbour is pretty close. I wouldn't be happy if a close neighbour had chickens tbh. They do attract rats, and foxes.

ChasingSquirrels Thu 04-Apr-13 17:56:09

mine are free range, food in a dog-dish on the ground, not brought in at night, no wire/slabs etc dug under the run etc etc.

Rats could just walk into the area, as could foxes (which are definitely around - friend in next village about a mile away is always losing her birds), but I haven't had any problems with either.

I don't shut them in at night either.

ChasingSquirrels Thu 04-Apr-13 17:56:55

I do appreciate that my lack of rats/foxes is much more good luck than anything else!

MaryPoppinsBag Thu 04-Apr-13 18:00:15

We have had a rat problem recently and it coincided with the neighbours getting rid of their chickens and the coop.

We still have one living in the loft and it is driving me mad. We've tried poison and traps but it is still scuttling about. hmm

MrsTomHardy Thu 04-Apr-13 18:02:09

I've kept chickens for about 5 years now and I've never seen any rats but that isn't to say there isn't any around. Aren't rats around anyway tho....we have loads if cats/dogs/foxes here also.

I didn't tell anyone when we got ours, just went ahead, but I only had 3 at the time. It did increase to 6 over the years but now have 3 again. No-one has ever complained about them.

MrsTomHardy Thu 04-Apr-13 18:03:32

And I do live on a housing estate, lots of neighbouring gardens.....

Cezzy Thu 04-Apr-13 18:04:25

We built a large run for ours and hang up the food (mainly because they were getting muck in them from s ratting around when on the ground). We originally had rats but that is because a neighbour a couple of doors down puts food out for pigeons and lives next to a dyke so rats heaven. We dug wire down and sites the run on blocks and haven't seen rats since. We keep food in an outbuilding in a sealed bin. Noise wise we only have quiet clucking. They are great easy maintenance pets and always "chat" when we go out there.

rainbowsprite1 Thu 04-Apr-13 18:13:18

I have had my hens for 2.5 years and have never seen a rat. We did have a small problem with mice, in our garage where I had forgotten to put the bird & hen food into the metal bin & the bags got gnawed, our cats soon sorted that one out.

Noise would be my biggest concern. Some hens are noisier than others I have found. Our neighbours were not at all happy when we got hens, 2 years on they quite like them, and appreciate the steady supply of free eggs. We made a point of handing over 1/3 of the eggs we got for a long time. The neighbours now even throw their weeds from weeding the garden over the fence to the hens! smile

Soupa Thu 04-Apr-13 18:13:36

Our neighbours hate the hens. Apparently they can't sit in their gardens, can't abide the stench and noise. They get together and moan and write notes.

The other neighbour likes them although they are near her side. Really the problem is that the other neighbours are old meanies so whilst happy to move the coop, prevent escapes etc I won't be pandering to them by getting rid of the two hens. It does cause conflict though.

They do poo an awful lot though, and we have a rat under the coop... they haven't noticed that yet...

charliesweb Thu 04-Apr-13 18:15:06

Thanks for all your comments. Our gardens do join and they would be on her side. Ironically she leaves bread out for the birds on her lawn!!! I'm going to chat to my brother who has kept chickens, ducks and bees for years. And try and come up with evidence that will put her mind at ease.

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 04-Apr-13 18:22:52

Noise only comes with a cockerel, yes chickens tend to announce it a bit when they lay, but that;s fairly innocuous and at most about 30 seconds once a day.

Rats don't come for chickens, they come for mess or compost. We had rats in our garden long before we had hens - next door has the European compost mountain, that;'s why.

I haven't seen a rat in ages. My parents get rats and none of their neighbours keeps anything resembling a chicken.

I think your neighbour;s daughter has been putting the willies up her mum. Free eggs will probably sort her out eventually...our neighbours love us because of this.

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