How to Store and Rat-Proof Your Goat Feed

Raising goats is part of a green lifestyle. Always make sure to store your hay, grain, and other feed in a location that your goats can't reach. You also need to keep grain, opened bags of chaffhaye, beet pulp, and other supplements out of the reach of rats, mice, and other vermin.

You can store hay in a loft, in a closed stall with a goat-proof latch, or in any other area that goats can't reach. To keep it from getting moldy, make sure to put down pallets instead of storing it on the ground. Galvanized metal garbage cans with secure lids make the best storage facilities for other feeds. Rats chew through plastic and wood, which makes these materials less useful.

You have several options for getting rid of rats:

  • Barn cats: Cats make good mouse and rat traps. Keep a couple of them in the barn and feed — but don't overfeed — them and they will work for you. Older cats are best because they're bigger and more experienced. Kittens can spread toxoplasmosis to goats, so make sure that you neuter or spay your barn cats.

  • Live trap: This is the most humane method. The Havahart XSmall works for rats and mice. You can buy one at a livestock supply store, a hardware store, or even Amazon.com.

    Set the trap with some bait; peanut butter works best. When the rat goes for the bait, it steps on a part that causes the door to close. When you get to the barn in the morning, a fearful or annoyed rat is waiting in the cage. You then take the rat out into the country away from human civilization, let it out, and start over again.

  • Snap trap: Set the trap with some peanut butter. When a rat springs the trap by eating the peanut butter, the trap kills the rat. Bury or burn the dead rat and re-set the trap.

  • Rat poison: You can purchase One Bite rat poison at any farm store. Break off a piece of the poison and put it in a rat hole where goats, dogs, and cats cannot get access to it. Watch for dying rats over the next few days. When you find a dead one, bury or burn it, and put out more bait.

    This poison is lethal to other animals that eat the dead rats.

  • Garbage can: Leave a little dog food in an open trash can. After rats jump in, they can't get out.

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