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Rats In my Aviary?! Mysterious deaths!

Diveks

Walking the driveway
Joined
6/16/19
Messages
180
Hello everyone, for the past month I’ve been having problems in my aviary and I have a feeling rats or mice are the cause. It’s the start of the breeding season for some of the finches and softbills and I am loosing both babies and adults.

I have seen grass skinks around the aviary (probably squeezed through the tiny gaps in the door) but I don’t think they really kill babies or adult birds. I’ve been doing nest checks and found that 4 babies that were healthy had suddenly gone missing (all from more open/wooden type nests as the plastic nest boxes seem to be safe).

Now this is where it gets graphic (a warning for those who are sensitive to this topic), i also have around 8 birds that are being introduced into the aviary in 4 different cages. To condition them, I usually keep them in cages inside the aviary and open the door after they have acclimated. Well last night I lost 4 perfectly healthy birds. One has scars all over, one has a scar on the neck, while two lost their necks! Some of them seem to have been pulled to the corners of the cage (I’m guessing the rats were trying to pull them out).

I’m devastated and I feel lost, I’m worried about the other birds, especially with some babies fledging this week, they will be on the ground for a while. The aviary can’t be dug into as under the dirt is fully concrete. I had cctv’s although the wires were chewed. No holes or anything in the aviary, I’m not sure how they went in. How can i safely get rid of them fast.
 

Shezbug

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Rat traps can be made. I will see if I can find the footage of one in particular I saw the other day that I thought would be wonderful in a chook coop.
 

Diveks

Walking the driveway
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180
Rat traps can be made. I will see if I can find the footage of one in particular I saw the other day that I thought would be wonderful in a chook coop.
I’m guessing they should be placed on the outside of the aviary?
 

hasanul

Moving in
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Hasanul huq
@Diveks


I understand your devastation and the urgency of protecting your remaining birds. Dealing with predators in an aviary is definitely a stressful situation. However, before taking any action, it's important to approach the situation calmly and strategically. Here are some initial steps you can consider:


1. Seek expert advice: Instead of resorting to immediate pest control, which can be harmful to your birds if not done carefully, consult a professional avian veterinarian or a wildlife management specialist with experience in bird aviaries. They can help you identify the exact culprit (rats, mice, skinks, or even other birds) and recommend the safest and most effective way to deter or remove them.


2. Enhance aviary security: While the concrete base restricts digging, examine the entire structure for any potential entry points, especially near the roof, doors, or gaps in the mesh. Seal any openings securely with appropriate materials like metal sheeting or rodent-proof mesh. Consider reinforcing areas around nests with additional protection.


3. Modify introduction process: The open-door acclimation for new birds might be attracting predators. Consider alternative methods like gradual cage integration within the aviary, providing more cover within the cages, or introducing them during the day under your supervision.


4. Monitor and document: While CCTV is currently down, continue close observation of your birds and the aviary. Note any suspicious activity, including potential entry points, predator sightings, or bird behavior changes. Documenting this information will be helpful for the specialist when they assess the situation.


Remember, the key is to prioritize the safety and well-being of your birds while employing humane and effective solutions. Avoid resorting to harmful methods that could be detrimental to both your precious birds and the ecosystem.


Sending you strength and hoping for a swift resolution to this difficult situation.
 

Shezbug

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I’m guessing they should be placed on the outside of the aviary?
First up you want to find evidence of what exactly is coming into your aviary- poop, scratches or footprints, entry/exit point will all help you work out for sure what you have- Knowing your areas native and local known pests will also help.

There are quite a few rather inventive traps which eliminate the need to use any poisons (if you do indeed have a rat problem) - I don’t have rats but mice are a huge issue in my area and I will be upfront and admit I have no time or respect for live catch traps as I believe they are actually crueller than fast kill traps for a few reasons. I choose to use snap traps placed under things (ice cream container with a small hole in the side) in my aviary or bucket traps with a cover to stop my bird getting in the water but I have a large bird so it’s honestly really easy for me to keep him away from any trap I choose to use to catch mice.

If you employ a professional to do your pest control as suggested by the other poster then I suggest you get them to sign a guarantee of no danger to your birds and also I would want a step by step description of every thing planned to be done so you can weigh up the safety of the method being used... I lost a massive flock of chooks after employing a professional specifically to help me safely rid of some pests without harming any of my pets so I will never again allow one on my property to rid of things I can easily and safely take care of myself.
 
Last edited:

Pixiebeak

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Skinks can take birds , especially small ones .
I hope you can eliminate the predators . So sorry for your losses
 

Diveks

Walking the driveway
Joined
6/16/19
Messages
180
@Diveks


I understand your devastation and the urgency of protecting your remaining birds. Dealing with predators in an aviary is definitely a stressful situation. However, before taking any action, it's important to approach the situation calmly and strategically. Here are some initial steps you can consider:


1. Seek expert advice: Instead of resorting to immediate pest control, which can be harmful to your birds if not done carefully, consult a professional avian veterinarian or a wildlife management specialist with experience in bird aviaries. They can help you identify the exact culprit (rats, mice, skinks, or even other birds) and recommend the safest and most effective way to deter or remove them.


2. Enhance aviary security: While the concrete base restricts digging, examine the entire structure for any potential entry points, especially near the roof, doors, or gaps in the mesh. Seal any openings securely with appropriate materials like metal sheeting or rodent-proof mesh. Consider reinforcing areas around nests with additional protection.


3. Modify introduction process: The open-door acclimation for new birds might be attracting predators. Consider alternative methods like gradual cage integration within the aviary, providing more cover within the cages, or introducing them during the day under your supervision.


4. Monitor and document: While CCTV is currently down, continue close observation of your birds and the aviary. Note any suspicious activity, including potential entry points, predator sightings, or bird behavior changes. Documenting this information will be helpful for the specialist when they assess the situation.


Remember, the key is to prioritize the safety and well-being of your birds while employing humane and effective solutions. Avoid resorting to harmful methods that could be detrimental to both your precious birds and the ecosystem.


Sending you strength and hoping for a swift resolution to this difficult situation.
thank you so much! i've rooted all the ground plants to find the skinks and rats that might be hiding in them or the dirt. I'm trying not to disturb the larger plants that the birds are nesting in as some of the species are sensitive to change and might abandon the nest. This does not look like a bird attack as the parrots are on the other side of the house and the finches shouldn't have been able to pull a larger softbill to the point of it getting stuck on the bars.

They might've gotten in from bags of dirt or the hole we had awhile back from a fallen branch, the aviary is fully metal so no chewing through wood. I think I will take down all the wooden nestboxes and use only plastic ones as predators seem to have a hard time with the slippery surface (the nest attacks are the birds that built their own nest in the plants and the nestboxes). I think Ill implement a shelf system for the nestboxes that is ant and predator proof as i was hanging them on the walls. I guess for the trees I have seen some photos on how to deter squirrels and rats. For a change in the acclamation method I think I will use those slippery poles and use cages that can be hung from them.

I think because of the abundance of rich foods I've been feeding the birds, the mice and rats seem to be loving those.
First up you want to find evidence of what exactly is coming into your aviary- poop, scratches or footprints, entry/exit point will all help you work out for sure what you have- Knowing your areas native and local known pests will also help.

There are quite a few rather inventive traps which eliminate the need to use any poisons (if you do indeed have a rat problem) - I don’t have rats but mice are a huge issue in my area and I will be upfront and admit I have no time or respect for live catch traps as I believe they are actually crueller than fast kill traps for a few reasons. I choose to use snap traps placed under things (ice cream container with a small hole in the side) in my aviary or bucket traps with a cover to stop my bird getting in the water but I have a large bird so it’s honestly really easy for me to keep him away from any trap I choose to use to catch mice.

If you employ a professional to do your pest control as suggested by the other poster then I suggest you get them to sign a guarantee of no danger to your birds and also I would want a step by step description of every thing planned to be done so you can weigh up the safety of the method being used... I lost a massive flock of chooks after employing a professional specifically to help me safely rid of some pests without harming any of my pets so I will never again allow one on my property to rid of things I can easily and safely take care of myself.
Oh no, ill be careful with the professionals and make sure to ask questions if I do go with them. I also have chickens here and I know they love eating every small creature that run past, I wouldn't want them to eat a poisoned mouse. I've been looking into those bucket traps, not sure how good they are but they seem to be able to catch a lot in one night.

Skinks can take birds , especially small ones .
I hope you can eliminate the predators . So sorry for your losses
They might've been the culprit to some of the missing chicks! I'll look into skink proofing the place as they seem to be slick little buggers.
 

AndyLisa

Checking out the neighborhood
Joined
2/3/24
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2
Real Name
Andy O
Check the spacing between your door frames. A small rat or mice can squeeze between gaps that are 1 inch or larger.
 
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