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Critters eating my cover crops

 
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Location: British Columbia zone 9a
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Last year I had wonderful success with my crimson clover cover crop, other than birds (white crowned sparrows) munching a few small areas down to the ground. This fall I broadcast and raked in a blend of crimson clover, phacelia, bachelors buttons, daikon radish, California poppy, calendula, and field peas. I was so excited to have a beautiful meadow in spring - but goddamn rats ate all the seeds, every last one!

I tried again covering the area with plastic bird netting, and the rats chewed through. I used snap traps to kill 6 rats, but they kept coming. I tried soaking the seeds in Bittrex and neem oil, but they ate them anyways.

I mostly just want to vent, but I’m also looking for advice for next year. My current plan is to start trapping for rats weeks before sowing, try to rake the seeds in a little deeper, and then cover with a piece of hardware cloth that is held in with landscape staples, and then cover with the bird netting.

As for where the rats are coming from, I live in the city, and my stupid neighbour piles birdseed and peanuts on the ground to feed pigeons and squirrels, which show up in the hundreds. Unfortunately there are no bylaws against this practice in my municipality.
 
Posts: 383
Location: On the plateau in crab orchard, TN
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A similar situation puzzled me last year, I plant beans essentially in two areas, not one comes up in one area but other area comes up.  We have field mice running around, no deer, but squirrels?

One method I used was to plant what ever seeds, then cover them with a 50 lb bag of compost or solid board with no chance at tunneling.  Check underneath about when you think seeds will sprout then remove barriers.  Then wait for birds to decimate seedlings :(

Look for rat traps, but for mice I have a 6 foot board they can walk up to a plastic bucket filled with water, then see a spinning 2 liter cut up bottle with peanut butter in it, they go for that and fall into water, then eventually drown.
 
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with rats like that you need to be breeding outdoor/ barn cats
 
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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Actually I would recommend a very territorial small dog.  As  you recognized your neighbor has created a feeding station and critters assume what you put out is the same.
Cats hunt for food  but do not stay on duty at all times. Dogs will persist in telling other critters this is mine stay out.
 
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Hans Quistorff wrote:Actually I would recommend a very territorial small dog.  As  you recognized your neighbor has created a feeding station and critters assume what you put out is the same.
Cats hunt for food  but do not stay on duty at all times. Dogs will persist in telling other critters this is mine stay out.



Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier was breed specifically to take care of small rodents around farms. Kind of expensive but get a pair.
 
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Rat terriers are a good option.
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