Will Rat Poison Kill Chickens?

Rats can be a real nuisance for chicken keepers, and that’s why chicken raisers need to keep these nasty rodents out of their chicken coops. Besides stealing chicken eggs and attacking baby chicks, rats also carry diseases harmful to your flock.

Although you can use several methods to rid your coop of rats, using rat poison isn’t the best option for eliminating rats. Rat poison is potent enough to kill your chickens.

Is Rat Poison Dangerous to Chickens?

Yes, rat poison is highly dangerous to chickens. Like it’s capable of killing rats, the poison can also kill your flock. Chickens can also die from consuming secondary rat poison by pecking at dead rodents.

How Much Rat Poison Kills a Chicken?

It depends on the potency of the rat poison your chicken consumes. Around 1.3 grams of the standard rat poisons in the stores can kill your chicken. A gram of highly potent poisons can kill a chicken hours after ingestion. Thus, any amount of rat poison is enough to kill your birds, depending on their potency.

Symptoms of Poisoned Chicken

Chickens can accidentally eat rat poison or eat some of the poisonous baits you use to poison rats. Poisoning is critical for chicken owners who use rat poison to eliminate rats from their coops.

Worse still, you might confuse the symptoms of a poisoned chicken with illness. Here are some signs of a poisoned chicken to look out for, especially if you have been using rat poison to eradicate rats and other rodents from your coop.

  • Weakness– Poisoned chickens show signs of weakness and lethargy. They can’t also eat or drink like usual because the rat poison is slowly taking a toll on their organs. Poisoned chickens become extremely weak as the poison continues to take effect, finally getting into a comma.
  • Greenish droppings– A chicken’s droppings are enough to tell you when you have a poisoned bird in the flock. Poisoned chickens usually have greenish droppings a couple of hours after ingesting rat poison. The chickens can also have greenish diarrhea if the rat poison is too potent for the birds.
  • Thirst– Extreme thirst is usually the first sign of a poisoned chicken. Although chickens drink water frequently, particularly in summer, poisoned chickens drink water throughout. If your chickens spend more time drinking water, it’s a telling sign. The bird will continue drinking water until it gets enough to flush out the rat poison from its system.
  • Depression– Poisoned chickens are ever in distress because of the severe pain and discomfort they experience as rat poison wrecks their internal organs. Normal chickens are supposed to be happy and active. If your chicken shows signs of depression, it could be the bird is poisoned, and you need to take action and help it get rid of poison from its system.
  • Rapid loss of appetite– A poisoned chicken will rapidly lose its appetite. It will not feed alongside other birds. Instead, the bird will rest and observe the other flock members as they feed. That’s why poisoned chickens become extremely weak over time because they can’t do anything.
  • Emaciation– Emaciation is a severe sign of a poisoned chicken. It’s the last stage before a chicken succumbs to poisoning. In their previous stages, poisoned chickens grow abnormally weak and thin. They struggle to stand on their feet and keep collapsing each time they attempt to stand.

What to do if Chicken Ate Rat Poison?

Your chickens can eat poison if you have been using rat poison to eliminate the rat menace in your coop. Nonetheless, your birds risk dying if you don’t take action swiftly to help your poisoned birds recover. Here is what to do if you suspect your chickens ate rat poison.

  • Stop feeding your birds for a couple of hours– Refrain from feeding your flock for a couple of hours after observing any signs of poisoning. Feeding your chickens, in this case, can be disastrous because their bodies will absorb the rat poison together with the food they consume.
  • Give your chickens plenty of fluids-Water will help flush out the rat poison from your chickens’ bodies. The faster you give plenty of water to your chickens after poisoning, the better because water will help flush out the rat poison from their bodies before it starts taking effect. Have many water containers in the coop and fill them with clean water to ensure every poisoned bird in the flock have enough fluids to drive out the rat poison from their bodies.
  • Probiotics can help chickens recover from poisoning, especially if they have been ingesting potent rat poison. Probiotics help neutralize the rat poison, enabling the chickens to recover quickly. However, it would help if you first talked to an avian vet before using probiotics on your poisoned chickens.
  • Allow the poisoned chickens to rest– The dehydration and weakening effect of rat poison can wreck your chickens’ systems. Allow the birds to rest after administering first aid to help them recover gradually from poisoning.

Will Rat Poison Get Into Eggs?

Accidental ingestion of rat poison can lead to death in chickens and other fowl. Rat poison is, however, unlikely to get into the chicken eggs. Nevertheless, rat poison poses a risk for the egg consumer because the eggs your hens lay can have residues from the rat poison.

It’s thus critical to wash the eggs before consumption to avoid such residues from getting into the yolks as you prepare them.

How to Keep Rats Out of Chicken Coop?

Using rat poison may seem an effective way to keep rats out of your chicken coop. However, the major concern with using rat poison is that you risk poisoning and eventually killing your chickens.

Here are other safe methods to help you keep away nasty rodents from your coop.

  • Clean leftover chicken feed from your coop
  • Eliminate any compost heaps that attract rats to the coop
  • Cover feed containers such that rats won’t access the chicken feed you store in the coop
  • Trim the shrubbery and grass around the chicken cage and run


While rats are a real menace for chicken raisers, using rat poison to keep the rodents at bay can spell doom to your flock. There are good chances your chickens will accidentally ingest poison rats if you are using it to keep away these nasty rodents from your coop. So try using other safe methods to keep rats out of your chicken coop.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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