How to Get Rid of Rats in a Barn

Various types of rats, including the brown rat or barn rat (Rattus norvegicus), are often found living in barns. Rats are a nuisance to many farmers because they eat grain and animal feed and carry diseases. In some cases, barn rats will attack livestock, especially poultry and juvenile animals.

Take immediate steps to minimize your livestock and grain losses by killing or removing rats in your barn.

  1. Set up rat traps to trap and kill the rodents. Place the traps in areas frequented by rats. Focus on common hiding or traveling areas such as along barn ceiling beams or behind trash containers. Set the traps up in the evening and put them away in the day time to minimize the chances of catching other animals, such as squirrels or birds.

  2. Use rat poison to kill the rats. Rat poison can come as chunks of poison or as granules. Place the poison in areas that you've noticed rats or near common rat attractants such as feed storage containers. Exercise extreme caution when using rat poison if you have livestock or pets in the barn.

  3. Build a homemade humane rat trap if you don't want to kill the rats. Set up a bucket in your barn at dusk. Lean a piece of lumber against the outside of the bucket, forming a ramp from the ground to the bucket's edge. Scoop a large spoonful of peanut butter into the bottom of the bucket. The rats will smell the peanut butter and scramble up the piece of lumber. Once they jump inside the bucket, they will not be able to climb out. Drive the rats several miles away from your barn and release them.

  4. Turn on an ultrasonic rodent repellent device. These emit a high-pitched screech that is inaudible to humans but intolerable to rats. Place the devices throughout your barn. This option may cause stress to other animals and should be avoided if you house livestock in the barn.

  5. Spray rodent repellent solution around your barn, especially on areas like feed storage bins that attract rats. The sprays mimic the smells of predators and will scare the rats away.

  6. Get cats. Barn cats are a popular method of both rat removal and rodent deterrence. Train the cats to stick around the barn by keeping their food and water in the barn. Feed the cats only as much as they will eat in a sitting to prevent excess cat food from being left out, which may attract rats.

  7. Tip

    Discourage rats from taking up residence within your barn by securing all grain and feed items in sealed storage bins.