Will Rat Poison Kill Chickens?

Poison is the most effective way of controlling rodents. However, you need to know. Rat poison can harm chickens before using it in a coop. In severe cases, rat poison may kill chickens depending on the amounts and type taken.

If chickens ingest strong rat poison, they will die from severe internal bleeding. The amount consumed will determine the physical symptoms. I.e., mild poisoning may weaken them with a significant loss of appetite. This happens after 1 to 2 days of ingestion because some poisons are weak while others are strong.

Most rat poisons contain zinc phosphide, which usually reacts with stomach acids to produce phosphine gas. The gas is toxic and is responsible for killing the rats. The action process is the same as it would be in chickens. Therefore, it must be noted that all rat poisons can also kill chickens.

Will Rat Poison Kill Chickens?
Will Rat Poison Kill Chickens?

What happens if chickens eat rat poison?

In some cases, toxins may find their way into chicken foods and sometimes water troughs. Chickens are likely to consume rat baits that are laced with poison. Here is how it can happen; rats that get into contact with the poison are likely to carry it around the chicken house. They may leave the poison in the feeding and drinking troughs, exposing the chickens to the toxins.

Therefore, be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of chicken poisoning if you are getting rats out of a coop. This helps you in knowing the best course of action to take. The phosphine intoxication symptoms in chickens that ingest rat poison are immediate yet nonspecific.

In the day-to-day operations in and around the coop, toxic and deadly dangers are frequently disregarded. While moderate exposure to deadly poisons is unlikely to result in significant consequences, excessive doses can result in serious problems and death.

Chickens can die after 6-24 hours if they orally ingest concentrated rat poison. They may show mild symptoms like diarrhea if the poison is taken in small amounts. A sudden urge to take water all the time may also be a physical effect of rat poison in chickens.

Rat poison symptoms in chicken

In most cases, symptoms depend on dosages, absorption method, and duration of exposure to the toxin. If the poison is strong, chickens may show toxicity symptoms after a few hours. Generally, when a chicken consumes rat poison orally, it takes time for the symptoms to show (up to one week if taken regularly).

Here is a table indicating the symptoms of rat poison on chickens vs. the amount taken:

Effects in chickenAmount of rat poison Ingested                                                                                      
Lack of appetiteLow
bloody vomitHigh
stomach discomfortmedium
Incontinence and diarrheaHigh
 Nausea and  drowsinessmedium
loss of coordinationmedium
spasms and immobilityHigh
unconsciousness and death Very High
Chickens and rat poison

What to do if chickens eat rat poison?

Upon consuming rat poison, there is a need to ensure that the chickens get the best care to prevent death. No chicken farmer wants to lose his or her flock. Therefore, it is important to read and look for rat poison signs in chickens. There are various interventions that a farmer may implement to ensure that the chickens maintain their good health and productivity.

To treat a poisoned chicken, begin by isolating the affected birds from the others and placing them in a safe and comfortable area. Then provide them with lots of drinking water since rat poison makes your chicken extra thirsty. Ensure the poisoned chicken constantly supplies their favorite food to give them energy until the symptoms are gone.

Some of the most effective intervention strategies often include supportive and post-treatment care. Supportive care means that they have a continuous supply of clean water and food. The holding should have enough airflow to prevent the affected flock from losing heat through fever.

Ensure that the isolated birds experience minimal stress. It is also important to call an avian vet after taking all the said measures. If chickens show signs of poisoning within four hours after ingesting rat poison, it means that the toxins have been consumed in large quantities. Seek professional advice in such cases.

Severe cases may need the administration of activated charcoal. The charcoal absorbs most toxins and prevents further absorption within the gastrointestinal tract.

The porous texture of activated charcoal carries negative electrical charges. This attracts positively charged elements like gases and poisons within the gastrointestinal tract. The molecules’ attraction helps trap toxins and other harmful substances in the stomach to the surface of the charcoal.

Can rat poison get into eggs?

The outcome is an indication that there are rat poisons that can find their way into eggs. However, most toxicological substances rarely get into eggs, and the contamination of chicken eggs with rat poison is usually present on the egg surfaces if they come into contact with it.

The contamination may be due to contaminated rats contacting the eggs or the chickens causing the contamination. One research earlier conducted in New Zealand revealed the presence of brodifacoum in the eggs of hens exposed to less lethal doses. This poison is extremely harmful and should never be given to hens.

Even though you may have rodents may infest a coop in large numbers, see to it that your chickens are safe from the toxic elements.  Ensuring that they live healthy and happy lives can be challenging while getting rid of the invading pests. There are many different aspects of care to consider each day.

Always note that any poison that can kill rats can also harm your chicken. It is therefore important to use this with care if you have to. The best time to poison rats in a chicken coop is at night when all the chickens are locked up to sleep. This should be removed in the morning before you let the flock out.

Safety measures

You are probably wondering if there is any rat poison that is safe for use in a chicken house. Well, be informed that no rat poison is safe for use around your chickens. Some poisons are claimed to be milder on poultry but lethal on rats. Well, poison is poison, and as earlier mentioned, nearly all poisons that kill rats can also kill your chickens.

It is vital to take precautions when dealing with rat poisons within the coop’s surroundings. However, if you have to use poison to kill rats, make sure to use bait stations where the rats get trapped within the areas where they consume poison. That way, there will be minimal contact with chickens. This is best done when the chickens are locked up to sleep at night.

If it is hot and your chickens need water at night, ensure that the drinking containers are kept above the ground. Use elevated waterers so that any poisoned rat cannot get a chance to drink to cool down the poisoning effects.

One may apply other options during a rat infestation instead of poison. For instance, rats cannot pass air through farting or belching. The best way to kill them would be to mix baking soda with foods set as rat baits. Baking soda reacts with stomach acids and produces gasses. The gas build-up in the rats’ stomachs causes pressure that eventually kills them because they cannot pass wind, burp, or vomit.


Rat poison is the most preferred method by most individuals in controlling rat populations within their homes. It is essential to note the various risks involved in using poison to kill rats. Animal activists also advocate against using rat poison. They cite the chemicals’ slow action, which subjects the animals to a painful death.

A dead rat from poisoning can also rot in a hidden area in a coop. This can be identified by the sudden presence of maggots in the chicken coop accompanied by a foul odor.

Most rat poisons cause internal hemorrhaging, which is rather inhumane. As a chicken farmer, you should ask yourself whether you’d prefer to subject your flock to such conditions. Keep in mind that The action of rat poison on rats is the same in chickens. Any poison with the capacity to kill a rat will kill your birds.

Therefore, there is the need to observe utmost care when using rat poison to control an infestation in your coop. To achieve maximum safety, use other alternatives like traps so that the chickens are safe from any toxic elements that are found in rat poison.