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Varmints in the garden?

 
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Varmints in the garden!

Ok, I live in an historical neighborhood. My house is an off-grade house built in 1922. I have chickens and the rats (which we've always had) seem to like bird seed, but the actually seem to like my soil best! They burrow into the ground and dig up my plants trying to get at the earthworms that I've spent so much effort trying to attract. Now, it's not all that bad. I'm sure that I have a few earthworms left The only thing is, I'd like to figure out some secret weapon to help me drive them away.

I've reduced their habitat around the yard and continue to do so. I'm limiting the places that they can hide under, etc.
I've learned how to bait traps, but that's a loosing game and they defeat the traps more often than not.

The chicken coop is now super armored with chicken wire going down 3 feet all around the base and the base is nothing but chicken wire across the ground as overkill. They have now chewed through the wood of the frame to make holes in. Sheesh!

Aside from trying to figure out Sepp Holzer's Bone Salve recipe, do you have any ideas?
 
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Alex --- Although I'm pretty sure a rat killed some baby chicks last year, we've barely seen rats on our farm. I suspect the reason is our hard-working farm dog, and maybe our lazy couch cats.

Are you sure they're rats, though? I could be wrong, but I haven't heard about burrowing rats, while voles do adore digging in the garden. Of course, my answer to voles is the same as above, so it might not make much difference....
 
Alex Ojeda
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Anna Hess wrote:Alex --- Although I'm pretty sure a rat killed some baby chicks last year, we've barely seen rats on our farm. I suspect the reason is our hard-working farm dog, and maybe our lazy couch cats.

Are you sure they're rats, though? I could be wrong, but I haven't heard about burrowing rats, while voles do adore digging in the garden. Of course, my answer to voles is the same as above, so it might not make much difference....



Well, I may not be able to identify voles, but I see rats all the time late at night. My cat gets the small ones, but he won't go after the big ones. They aren't wharf rats, but they can get big! We're thinking about a rat terrier this year, but now we'll have to feed it! Store bought dog food is NOT an option. Either it's toxic crap or it's WAY TOO EXPENSIVE!

What kind of dog do you have and what do you feed it?
 
pollinator
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there are lots of dogs that are good ratters..like terriers

also you can bury a pipe in the ground..you take a pipe and put a cross section of pipe so it goes side to side..and then you put some rat poison in the pipe and cap the top..put it in the tunnel areas..nothing else can get to it but the underground critters that way..
 
Anna Hess
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Alex --- Sorry, didn't see your followup question until just now....

We have a Chesapeake Bay retriever, and so far we just feed her dog food. (Well, and scraps from the deer we hunt and sometimes livers from the chickens we kill.) Definitely not all that sustainable, but she does pull her weight on the homestead.
 
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Norway rats tend to be messy diggers. They will have a big mound of earth at the opening of their burrow. Chipmunks and other small rodents tend to be less conspicuous about their burrow entrances. If you have a lot of dirt, you will usually have more than a few rats around. I have used traps and glueboards in our storage buildings, but there are still a few juveniles running around.

 
Alex Ojeda
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Jason Matthew wrote:Norway rats tend to be messy diggers. They will have a big mound of earth at the opening of their burrow. Chipmunks and other small rodents tend to be less conspicuous about their burrow entrances. If you have a lot of dirt, you will usually have more than a few rats around. I have used traps and glueboards in our storage buildings, but there are still a few juveniles running around.



I'm sure that's what I have. We get some small tree mice, so I can't say that I know for sure from one instance to another, but it's mostly the Norwegians!
 
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