The trend for environmentally sound hobbies like urban beekeeping and raising chickens is fantastic to see. But with an increase in the animals you’re responsible for comes the worry of attracting pests like rats and red mites.
Here are five tips from our pest control experts on maintaining a healthy living space for you and your chickens.
1. Dispose of waste appropriately
Out in the country you might be able to get away with something like a compost heap. But in an urban setting you want to remove things like old nesting materials, bird waste and related rubbish items as far from your home as possible. Avoid keeping ANYTHING in plastic bag unless they’re also inside something more secure like a solid bin.
Bird waste can carry diseases like salmonella, meaning you shouldn’t leave it lying around, especially if there are children and pregnant women nearby.
2. Check for red mites regularly
There’s an extensive advice page on our main website about red mites. These little critters are bloodsuckers who feed on chickens’ legs and can eventually cause death. They’re common in urban settings, especially during the summer months when they can multiply with ease. Our pest control supplies menu includes a section dedicated to red mite pest control products.
3. Look out for rats
Rats are the real adaptors of the animal world. They can live practically anywhere and especially love to be near humans because we unwittingly provide them with shelter and food. It’s essential to check your chicken coop and run for signs of visiting or nesting rats. Avoid leaving food in the run overnight. Try to feed your chickens during daylight only and give them the right amount of food for that day.
Using poison is probably not a good idea. Opt for something like rat glue traps or sticky mouse traps to catch vermin that’s finding it’s way into the run. We recommend shutting your chickens into the main coop and setting glue traps in the cage run overnight.
4. Keep food and nesting supplies in a secure container
Although vermin like rats can chew through materials like brick and lead, minimising the attraction to your poultry area is still one of the best ways to stay pest-free. Steel bins with weighted lids (or just abrick on top!) are ideal for storage of chicken feed and bedding.
5. Invest in an effective run that’s easy to clean and healthy for the birds
Keeping the chicken run clean and healthy is essential. Urban chickens typically can’t range freely, so you need to clean out their coop and run on an almost daily basis to keep on top of potential disease and pest problems. And don’t forget to wear gloves!
Keeping urban chickens can be a great way to be just a little more environmentally friendly and self-sufficient. Just remember that there are plenty of pests out there that would also love to live in your chicken run and eat their food too!