Date of this Version
Rats are now found in the majority of poultry houses in Nigeria. They usually inhabit roofs, interior of cupboards, electrical and gas appliances, holes in the soil and in walls and rubbish dumps. Extensive rat trapping yielded only two species, the cosmopolitan roof/ship rat (Rattus rattus) and the multimammate rat (Mastomys natalensis). The most outstanding types of damage, resulting in much economic loss, were the killing of chicks by decapitation and the infliction of deep wounds on adult birds. Breaking of eggs became a serious problem in a few cases. Damage to containers, bags and feed consumption was usually of small proportions. Relief from damage in well-proofed and partially-proofed premises was obtained with the application of 5% alpha-chloralose in 95% milled maize or poultry feed or with Tomorin (a coumarin-derivative anticoagulant) applied at the ratio of 1 g. Tomorin in 19 g milled maize. Reinfestation within a few months was common in partially-proofed and unproofed premises, indicating a need for proper rat-proofing of poultry houses.