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Rats are destroying my garden and I don't know what to do.

 
Alex Ojeda
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Hey everyone. I have a keyhole garden that is flanked by two Hügel beds. One has a slope and the other I built so that the sides are built up with sticks. It's more compact and has sheer sides. The rats (I've seen them) are destroying my garden looking for worms in the soil. They chewed a hole in the side of my worm tower and ate all of the red wigglers. They have dug holes in my sloping hügel to the point where everything looks like a war zone! They uproot so many plants going for worms!

I'd like to note that the rats have not bothered anywhere that I have oregano or Aztek sweet herb ground cover nor have they gotten up to the tall hügel with the sheer sides.

Does anyone know of a permaculturey way to manage this?

I've attached a few pics for you to see. These pictures are what the ENTIRE place looks like.

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Tyler Ludens
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Is getting a cat or a small terrier possible?
 
Ken Peavey
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Sometimes the problems are handled better with technology.
Consider the technology of rat traps. They cost about a buck each. Mousetraps can be had for about a quarter each.
Your garden is under attack. Aggressive and immediate measures are warranted. You don't have to use poison, just a whole bunch of traps to knock down the rat population quickly or suffer the loss of much of your garden.

I use peanut butter for bait. With cheese or solid bait, the beast has a chance of grabbing and running. They have to hang around to lick the peanut butter, better chance of catching the varmints. I place several traps together. If one trap goes off, I might get a critter by the tail or set off another trap from the bounce. It's a kill zone.

 
Ivan Weiss
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Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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I feed my three cats solely on crunchies and water and send them out to hunt their meat. They are good boys and they do their jobs well. I see rodent parts everywhere. Their reward is a spot by the wood stove, an always welcoming lap, occasional catnip, and plenty of love.
 
Alex Ojeda
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Ken Peavey wrote:Sometimes the problems are handled better with technology.
Consider the technology of rat traps. They cost about a buck each. Mousetraps can be had for about a quarter each.
Your garden is under attack. Aggressive and immediate measures are warranted. You don't have to use poison, just a whole bunch of traps to knock down the rat population quickly or suffer the loss of much of your garden.

I use peanut butter for bait. With cheese or solid bait, the beast has a chance of grabbing and running. They have to hang around to lick the peanut butter, better chance of catching the varmints. I place several traps together. If one trap goes off, I might get a critter by the tail or set off another trap from the bounce. It's a kill zone.



Thanks for the suggestions. Here's my problem. I've tried rat traps. Four in total all over the place and ALL of them are either sprung and no rat or they have been licked clean and not even sprung. It's depressing. I'm going to try what you said about the kill zone. That sounds promising. I'm just thinking there has to be a way to get this to end and FAST.

Oh, I have a cat and he's a pretty good ratter, but lately at 13 years old he's backing off on his rat kills.

Thanks again for the input!
 
Ken Peavey
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If you can determine a frequently used path, thats the place to set the traps. A trap here and there wont do it. I'm talking a half dozen or more (more is better) side by side or surrounding some tasty morsel. Give them a reason to walk through the traps or remove the possibility of going around them. How bad do you want them gone will determine how many traps you want. You'll need to check the traps regularly, at least a couple of times/day. You won't get them all overnight, but you can probably get one or two each night.

Good Luck
 
Alex Ojeda
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Ken Peavey wrote:If you can determine a frequently used path, thats the place to set the traps. A trap here and there wont do it. I'm talking a half dozen or more (more is better) side by side or surrounding some tasty morsel. Give them a reason to walk through the traps or remove the possibility of going around them. How bad do you want them gone will determine how many traps you want. You'll need to check the traps regularly, at least a couple of times/day. You won't get them all overnight, but you can probably get one or two each night.

Good Luck


Thanks for the info. I am going to try 8! I've tried building a box so that they have to approach the trap from the kill end, but that trap has gone unused. I'm going to try a wider version of this idea and see it that works. I've also been thinking of building a box where when the trap goes off inside the box it actually pulls a string that closes a door and traps the rat inside. That way even if the trap doesn't get it, the box will be closed and I'll have food for my cat!

I'll put my progress on here.

I'd actually like to do something that doesn't kill rats, but makes them go away, but I have no idea what that would be and I'm desperate!

Thanks again!
 
Christian McMahon
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These work great and you do not need to reset the trap. Make sure it won't fall over,
Youtube trap video

You can fill it with some water so they drown or keep it empty and release them miles from your location.
 
Morgan Morrigan
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Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Saw somewhere that mint oil will actually get rid of moles and gophers, you might try it around the edge of the beds.

Look for wasp and hornet spray that is ONLY mint, there is still some around.
 
Anne Allison
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Easiest rat trap in the world. Take 5 gallon bucket. Lean it on a fairly steep angle, say 45 degrees. Make it possible for a rat to enter at the top. It could be propped on a hillside, for instance. Put enough water in the bottom to drown a rat. Go away. Come back, find drowned rat(rats) in the bottom. Dispose of rat. Do this again. Rats can't climb back up the slick side.
 
Roger Merry
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OK I trap rats too, but you've got to be really careful using them outside because birds can get trapped aswell. I'd check where the rats are living - if its in the beds I'd reckon they're not wet enough - its more likely to be in / under a nearby building. tbh poison, carefully used, is probably more effective and safer than traps in the open. Put a cupful of poison in a plastic bag or wrapped in clingfilm - this keeps it dry and away from birds etc the rats eat through the plastic and go off and die underground. If you have that many rats I'd say it was the best way and certainly more humane than drowning or catching by the tail etc.

If you're going to trap as well then they must be covered and only really work if you can find the rat run. Rats are smart too so if you trap just a few the others get wary about the traps for a few months.

Roger
 
Brad Davies
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Anne Allison wrote:Easiest rat trap in the world. Take 5 gallon bucket. Lean it on a fairly steep angle, say 45 degrees. Make it possible for a rat to enter at the top. It could be propped on a hillside, for instance. Put enough water in the bottom to drown a rat. Go away. Come back, find drowned rat(rats) in the bottom. Dispose of rat. Do this again. Rats can't climb back up the slick side.


+1 to this and the youtube video of the same thing, also +1 to the cat idea.

My parents had a problem with chipmunks tunneling everywhere in there garden, digging up all of my moms bulbs and pretty much just over running the place. I mean they were in the garage, made their way into the house, I even kicked one up when I was getting my stuff from my old closet. The neighbors big fat cat, Hammerhead, had kept the population in check for many years but once he died the population exploded. My dad setup a 5 gal bucket filled about 2/3 with water with about 1-2" of sunflower seeds floating on top. He set this next to a rock retaining wall and left it over night. The next morning there was 6 chipmunks in it, 4 more before I left in the evening. So a very effective trap if you don't mind letting the little buggers drown.
 
Chris Gilliam
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You don't have a .22 or a pellet rifle?
 
George Collins
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I've had good luck with a different kind of trap that I recently invented.  I noticed some time ago that rats and mice will often utilize an old piece of siding or roofing tin to call home.

I've had a bunch of rodents hanging about my house lately thanks to my 11 yo son being in charge of feeding the hogs and the resulting spillage.  So I strategically laid an old piece of roofing tin down nearby. After a few days waiting, it was time to spring the trap. I came home from work one day, walked over to the edge of the porch and jumped off the porch, landed on the tin and started stomping like hell. 

Killed three. 

Fed em to the chickens. 

They looked at me like I'us plumb stupid. 

I said, "Well don't blame me. Paul Wheaton said chickens eat hell outta mice. Down rite cavernous y'all are."

They looked at me like I'us plumb stupid. 

Trying to think about how to set about getting a patent on it - the trap that is. 
 
Ken Peavey
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Outstanding use of resources!
 
Pedro Moss
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Chris Gilliam wrote: You don't have a .22 or a pellet rifle?


Lead and gardens don't mix well. Though I suppose there are non-lead pellets available.
 
              
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i've had nearly 100% kill with this one,

http://img3.prosperent.com/images/250x250/feeds2.yourstorewizards.com/3201/images/200x200/victor-rat-trap-m201.jpg

bait with PB but UNDER THE TRIGGER TAB. to get to pb, they have to push their snout under the tab, lifting and triggering it. geometry is perfect since they can only access from front or side, they are deeply entrenched in digging for food so cannot jump, and necks are squarely placed in kill zone.

toan
 
Ken Peavey
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Food grade bullets have been on the market for years. Stainless steel, zinc, nickel, and the like.
 
Ken Peavey
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PB UNDER!
That's beautiful. I've been putting it on top.

 
Alex Ojeda
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toan tr wrote:i've had nearly 100% kill with this one,

http://img3.prosperent.com/images/250x250/feeds2.yourstorewizards.com/3201/images/200x200/victor-rat-trap-m201.jpg

bait with PB but UNDER THE TRIGGER TAB. to get to pb, they have to push their snout under the tab, lifting and triggering it. geometry is perfect since they can only access from front or side, they are deeply entrenched in digging for food so cannot jump, and necks are squarely placed in kill zone.

toan


I'll have to try this. The tin can on a coat hanger suspended over water has not worked no matter how I adjust it. They either ignore it or lick all the peanut butter off. I've gotten a new kind of mouse trap that doesn't work at all. I'll have to try this and see if it works. Thanks for the info

Also, I have a pellet rife, but you have to be up all night to see them come out! They are sneaky!
 
Dan Huisjen
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Some days I wonder what I could do with the flame weeder torch and a barbecue piezo spark igniter on a long wire.
 
Alex Ojeda
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Well, I've tried the bucket with the tin can and they licked the peanut butter off. I adjusted it so that the can was a teeny bit further away from the ramp and they ignored it. Then I moved it to a larger bucket (a plastic tub). That never worked either.

OK, so I have six traps set up in a circle and they sit there day in and day out with no attention. I've even baited the area with turkey bones. No takers.

Nothing so far. I'm still looking for ideas.
 
Nicholas Mason
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I had rats this last spring, they eat up most of the nitrogen in my compost pile ( i was getting alot of extra food from work) and eating stuff up in my garden. I moved my goats to the blackberry patch they seemed to hide in during, and just let the coyotes move up to my garden and start picking them off up there. I figured the coyotes and I could be friends as long as they left my goats alone.
 
Christian McMahon
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sunshine ax wrote:Well, I've tried the bucket with the tin can and they licked the peanut butter off. I adjusted it so that the can was a teeny bit further away from the ramp and they ignored it. Then I moved it to a larger bucket (a plastic tub). That never worked either.

OK, so I have six traps set up in a circle and they sit there day in and day out with no attention. I've even baited the area with turkey bones. No takers.

Nothing so far. I'm still looking for ideas.


The trap should spin when they start climbing on the can. If it's set to tight and can't spin it won't work. Give it a little time to work. They will be back when they get hungry.
 
Raven Sutherland
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the smallest hav- a- hart trap works great
but you have to set it up a certain way i've found.

you keep the straight bar end closed and keep a brick or rock
on top to keep the trap immobilized then you place the flat tabbed arm
that comes off the front entrance door just barely on (1/4 on ) the see saw
table flat ended arm because the rats don't weigh allot.

you place a piece of bread 1/2 is fine spread with peanut butter
think of it as glue...and push a half handful of black sunflower seed
into the peanut butter so the wind cannot dislodge it....
into the back end that's closed. Don't bother putting it on the
see/ saw trip table....put it past that on the floor of the trap.

This way the rat has to crawl over the trip table to get to the bait
and another thing i do is to weight the front door with a "small" stone
on the outside of the lock wire so it doesn't foul it up from closing
but it speeds it up and keeps the rats from easily springing the trap
when trying to figure out how to get in.
 
Tom Allyn
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The trouble I've had with rat traps is unwanted catch. I accidentally killed two Black-capped Chickadees before I gave up on traps. The Chickadees are my primary means of pest control. I ended up switching to rat bait. There's a water resistant type that can be placed outdoors. I'm careful to place it where neither mine or my neighbor's dog can get to it. It takes a few days to kill them but soon the rat problem is gone.
 
Raven Sutherland
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the problem with poison bait...
is that other "wild" animals like foxes
the best mousers-rat catchers ever
will eat the drunk like staggering poisoned rat
and then be poisoned same as a hawk or owl.

Anyone setting traps needs to just check them often.
Rats typically are nocturnal.
 
George Lee
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Cat on a string, in your garden.
 
Jordan Lowery
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i learned about the bucket with water on accident, actually it was a vase. it was winter, the rains were coming down all the time. the vase was tilted at such an angle and filled with so much water anything that fell in couldn't get out. one day i found a dead mouse, emptied it thinking nothing. put the vase back in its little soil depression it had made. again another mouse, and another, about the 4th or 5th time i realized i was onto something.

since i don't really like drowning them on purpose so i just use a very deep metal bucket, a small amount of water in the bottom to keep them from jumping not to drown them and with slick walls, put food in the bottom on a tray and bury it to ground level. i do this once a month usually and take the mice/rats to my friend who rehabilitates captured snakes. he thanks me and i get a good show of nature and providing food for another creature(s).

 
Raven Sutherland
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Living Wind wrote:Cat on a string, in your garden.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
over in China you see cats tethered to an iron ball

the proverbial ball and chain...

in my garden i have a metal barrel with no top or bottom
resting on the top of the barrel is a square of plywood

it is my MAINE coon Cats favorite ambush spot
and strangely enough he has zero interest in our feathered friends

He can see the mice but they cannot see him so easily.

right now i have a friggan field RAT inside my bedroom wall
just above our heads and that little bastid is rolling a bolt back and forth
non- stop at 3 am...or chewing on wood... waking us both up

i hate to do it.... but i will use poison for this pest because
my cat can't do the job.

Every day i have to clean maple tree seeds
off of my van battery as they try to prepare a nest on top of it

same thing with the wifes volvo (i'll have to go pop the hood soon)
they build a nest on top of the engine block , so i have absolutely no
hesitation about killing them in any way possible!
 
George Collins
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Speaking of rats building nests on motors:

One of the Cajuns that deer hunts on my daddy's place was storing his ATV in Pop's barn. He came up to hunt about a month ago, opened up the barn door, mounted his 4-wheeler and drove it outside. He got outside just in time for his ATV to catch fire and for him to dismount and run like hell without setting fire to all the loose, old hay that covers the barn floor wall to wall.

The reason his ATV caught fire?

Rats built a nest on top of the engine block.

So, where rats are concerned, terminate with extreme prejudice.
 
Raven Sutherland
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could it be wild turkeys ? or other game birds?
only because it looks like the dirt (soil) is really being
flung a distance and frankly i'm not convinced a rat digging
could do that.

I looked closely at the pics for tracks but saw none.
 
Stacy Zoozwick
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I agree with all the cat people on here. Not only do they eat rats and mice, they give you lots of love too. But don’t over feed them to much they get lazy. I’m one to go for the time tested or tried and true.
 
Zenobia Quambush
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My parents chickens chase each other all over the yard if one has caught itself a mouse. The other day one caught a gopher! They may not be as efficient as cats but they get their fair share.
 
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