Having backyard chickens means you’ll be dealing with pests and threats of all kinds. Mice, rats, opossums, raccoons, and domestic and wild cats present significant risks to your flock that range from severe illness to death. Because we live in a very urban setting and don’t get these animals in large numbers, we prefer to use humane traps and relocation to keep population numbers in balance. To be clear, our goal isn’t to rid our immediate area of these animals entirely; they all have natural predators. We only intervene with traps when the population seems to be out of balance or if an entry attempt was made on our coop or run.
For rodents, we have been using the Ratinator repeating trap for years with great success. Whenever we see mice or rats in our yard during the day or if they manage to gain entry to our run, we set this trap and relocate them to undeveloped lots- especially those with warnings posted for snakes. We’re aware of the potential impact to surrounding ecosystems, so we distribute wisely and always in small numbers. Since we live in an urban environment and have rat snakes and feral cats that hunt rodents, we only set this trap when absolutely necessary.
For larger pests/threats like raccoons, opossums, and cats, we set this humane Havahart trap and relocate. We have only had to use this a few times over the years, but knowing we can safely relocate a potential threat to our flock without hurting an animal for acting on their natural behavior is a big comfort. We only relocate these larger animals if we detect signs of tampering on our coop or run, or if our security cameras catch them trying to gain access. Simply seeing them on our property is not cause for trapping or relocation.