Do Rats Eat Chicken Eggs? How to Stop Them

Rats are among the predators that have been observed stealing and eating chicken eggs. They can also injure, if not kill, young chicks. Chicken rearing should not be tough or stressful, and there is no sense in having concerns about rats posing a threat to the flock.

Rats have hard and razor-sharp teeth that they use to break eggshells. They use their tongue to leak on the egg’s contents after it is broken. However, rats cannot eat an eggshell because they cannot digest it. If rats accidentally swallow split shells in large quantities, they will constipate to death.  

It is common to have rats and mice attempting to find their way into the coop as they are only after food. Usually, rodents do not target chicken eggs as the laying hens rarely leave their eggs unguarded. However, they may come across unguarded eggs that they may predate on within the coop.

Do Rats Eat Chicken Eggs?
Do Rats Eat Chicken Eggs?

How do rats carry chicken eggs?

Rats rarely take away chicken eggs. However, they can bite to hold and drag an eggshell with their teeth after breaking it open to a different location. They do this so that the chickens do not attack them as they eat.

In most cases, they often eat the eggs at their place of keeping. They do so by boring holes into the eggs using their teeth than eating up the egg contents. Identifying such occurrences is relatively easy as one would come across empty eggshells with sizable holes that allow rats to suck up the egg contents. 

Therefore, they may not carry eggs around, but there are cases where rats move eggs away from their original positions to areas where they feel safe. Success in moving eggs from where they were laid is mostly achieved by dragging or rolling them to safety.

If rats move chicken eggs out of their nests, there is enough reason to worry since huge rats are the ones that can only do the act. Tiny house mice and rats will find it difficult to push eggs around and may also not have the muscle to do so. However, they can break the eggshells and eat the contents.

Signs rats are stealing and eating your chicken eggs

Rats can steal chicken eggs by pushing them around using their heads to a different location. Wild rodents are generally huge and are capable of moving chicken eggs. Since they need all their four limbs to move efficiently, rats cannot carry chicken eggs around.

Rats that feed on chicken eggs are usually starved and desperate. Wild rodents attack eggs more often than indoor rats and mice in most cases.  The reason is that eggs are rarely their primary targets. Usually, rats exhibit opportunistic behaviors and would go for chicken feed first.

In most cases, rats do not come into a coop to carry eggs away. All they want is food, and they love easy targets. Therefore, the idea of rats feeding on chicken eggs could also mean that one has put in workable measures to ensure that they do not access food within the chicken coop.

If there are rats in a chicken coop, they will always leave urine and stools as they move around. It is therefore important to identify a rat’s poop since there are several other pests that leave behind stools with similar characteristics. For example, telling the difference between rats, mice, and roach poop can be very difficult.

How to Stop rats from eating chicken eggs

The first and best option to prevent rats from eating chicken eggs is picking all the laid eggs and storing them separately. Then remove extra chicken feed that lays around because that is what attracts rodents. After that, ensure that there is no excess water in the coop that rats can drink.

Just removing eggs implies an acceptance to house rats in the chicken coop. They are likely to find other options without eggs to eat. The wild rodents may go for the very young chicks if they lack food. Additionally, their presence is likely to aid in the spread of unwanted diseases.

1. Elevating the nets

Another way of preventing rats from reaching chicken eggs may involve elevating their nests. The nesting boxes can be installed on top of smooth metal stands to reduce the chances of the rats climbing to reach the laying areas where the eggs are kept.

Chickens can easily leap to moderate heights to reach their nests; thus, elevating them might not inconvenience them. However, rats may have difficulty jumping from the ground at certain angles or heights. Secondly, they do not like the hustle and will find alternative solutions to calm their hunger.

2. Creating barriers

A wire mesh may also help create a barrier to keep rats away. The mesh should be installed to cover the coop’s base. The reasons for doing so are that rats are good at digging underground tunnels and will most likely access the coop from below.

One of the most efficient solutions is to use a mesh with tiny holes since baby rats cannot break and eat chicken eggs even if they go into the coop. Fortunately, rats cannot nibble the wire mesh to enter the coop. It would also be necessary to check for any holes that may exist on the walls of the coop and block them effectively.

3. Regular coop cleaning

Regularly cleaning the coop is also an excellent way to keep rats away to ensure the eggs’ safety. It is essential to clean the coop to remove any spilled-over chicken feeds thoroughly. Such spillages are the most basic way rats get attracted to the coop.

It would be easier to prevent a rat infestation than to deal with an existing menace. However, losing eggs to rats indicates their infestation; hence, one may have to employ various elimination methods, including trapping, safe poisoning, and other means of killing or relocating the rats.

Can rats die if they eat chicken eggs?

Recent studies revealed that chicken eggs contain significant levels of toxicity. However, the toxicity in eggs has not been proven to harm rats. Therefore, it would be wrong to assume that eggs can poison rats.

Additionally, whether eggs are poisonous to rats or not is a debate a farmer would wish to engage in at such a time. Either way, they will destroy the eggs, which is what matters. You cannot sit back and hope that rats will die because they ate lots of raw eggs.

The primary goal is to boost productivity by improving the hatching even in cold seasons when the laying rate is usually low. In the case of egg sales, one would want to ensure maximum sales of quality eggs.

Therefore, allowing rats to feast freely with the hope that they will suffer poisoning is wastage. The best and only alternative is to eradicate the existing rat populations and prevent further infestation by all means possible.

Conclusion

Rats are among predators that may go around the chicken coop, stealing and eating chicken eggs. They can also seriously hurt, if not kill, baby chicks. Rats rarely attack chicken eggs because the laying hens rarely leave them unattended.

Given their body sizes, adult rats can move or even drag chicken eggs. They do, however, require all four limbs to move effectively. As a result, they may not be able to transport eggs with relative ease. Predator rats drag or roll eggs away from their original location.

Egg theft by rats is reasonably straightforward to detect since empty eggshells with large holes that allow rodents to suck up the egg contents will become common. Notably, rats rarely target eggs. Instead, they go for chicken feeds and water. Without such, they may opt for eggs, which they can also devour to supplement their food demands.

However, it is not common to find rats eating eggs, but they should still be eradicated to create a conducive environment for rearing chicken. The presence of rats and mice in a coop with a laying hen can stress the chickens and result in poor results and reduced egg production.