by Thomas Guffy
(Douglas county oregon)

Every morning all my chicken feed is gone from a self feeding feeder. No droppings so I don't think it is rats.. What animal would eat the food and not bother the hens?


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by: brad

Good question. Hard to say, not knowing how your coop is, & what might be able to get in & what kind of access there is to the feeder. Also don't know how much feed disappears through the night. In Oregon you could have quite a variety of critters visit. Quite a few are omniverous.

Rats and mice generally leave a trail of droppings and urine, so if you're not finding any, that's a good clue as to what it's not.

Whatever it is, you should put a stop to it. It might be a young racoon, skunk or opossum not quite yet adept at hunting chickens.

If it were up to me, I'd set out a live trap, outside or inside the coop, baited with chicken feed and see what you get.

Once you figure out what it is you may be able to figure out how to keep it out of the coop. You may need to reconsider how you have the feeder set up, possibly raise it where chickens can fly up to it, but other critters can's climb up to it.

I had some squirrels visiting my chicken feed recently. I reduced the amount of feed to just what the chickens would eat in a day. It seems to have discouraged the squirrels. It would take a lot of rodents to clean out a feeder each night. It would seem that the more feed is missing, the larger the animal that is visiting.

Rats and mice can leave toxic waste behind that's unhealthy for chickens. Chicken feed is a big draw for many creatures.

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