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The best free way I know is to buy one of those 5 gallon home depot buckets. remove handle and drill a small hole in the bottom. put twine or rope thru hole and make a few knots to keep it there. if you can, place feeder on an 18" cement block. if your chickens are messy, make a 2x2 foot square, 3 1/2 inches tall and nail together. close in with plywood on one side and hardware cloth on the other. stand feeder on it. close with bucket them at night.

the whole and rope is something I use as a pulley so I can cover the feeders out the pens.

to keep mice and rats to a minimum, you have to lock and clean up all the feed. adding a bait station works great with that.
 

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Treadle feeders are great. My silkies were fast learners.
I did have a few rats that did start at 5pm, so I close up early. And then the bait stations work great because all other feed is gone.

I had a shed that was a holy mess, and full of rat $**** thanks to my neighbor's sloppy feed habits. I could see the rats running into the shed. I spent a few days cleaning out all the stuff that was not being used, stacked things, hung a lot, and used Rubbermaid tubs. I put a bait station in there and problem resolved. neighbor had no more chickens. I find no more poop.

before and after
 

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it's definitely ongoing. Algerhart how long have you had chickens?

CQ, I don't do cats. For 19 years I had a horse or horses and never had a rat. I guess it just was not a rat area. I did have mice. they liked the house. so that was maintenance problem.
 
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