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Rat Control

 
monty ali
Posts: 52
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I set up a 3 compost piles a few months ago, but i've come across a problem i thin they might be attracting rats. I saw one running about and about a month ago i noticed a burrow at the bottom of one of the piles i didn't think much of it at the time but now i'm sure it was a rat burrow. So the big question is how do i get rid of these things, i'm worried for 2 main reasons 1) the diseases they carry i don't want to risk it with my small children, and 2) i want to get chickens so don't want the rats getting at them. Plus i hate the look of the things they freak me out (also everyone in my family) Any advice is much appreciated thanks.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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bee chicken fungi solar trees
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Make the area snake friendly.
Buy a rat catching dog (terrier) and/or cats. The cat shouldn't bother the chickens. My chickens are currently stealing the cat's food.
 
monty ali
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Unfortunately we don't get many snakes in our part of the UK. My family don't want a dog I do have a cat but it's probably the softest cat in the world, it'll just about catch a mouse if you help it.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
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You need a cat or dog that is young and vigorous, lives outside, and is kept on the hungry side. Not sure about dogs for this purpose but with cats it's best to have a kitten from an experienced mouser for a mother....the mother teaches the kittens to hunt. The kitten should be at the age where the mom is not interested in being sociable with it before adoption......
Perhaps another solution would be to combine your compost with your chickens....just throw all the compostables to them direct. They will quickly eat most of what might interest the rats direct, and encourage the composting of the rest, while repelling other critters by means of their manure.
 
monty ali
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cheers mate, my cats a few years old now. the second idea sounds good, i'll try that once the chickens arrive, but that won't be until spring. I'm still looking for a solution for between now and then
 
Graham Bunting
Posts: 22
Location: SW Missouri
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Monty, I used to live in Somerset, and we had more than our fair share of rats. The best system I found was the traps that the likes of Rentokil use. They are plastic boxes with an entrance hole. Inside the box they use either poison or a large set of trigger jaws. I used the jaws myself. Bait the box and check it once a day. You just pick it up and if it's heavy you have one. If not just put it back in place. It's safe for kids and cats alike as they can't get in it. I used to burn the corpses in a barrel. Either that or a good air rifle if you like a bit of sport.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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I had rats in my piles last year and was able to get rid of them by doing the following.

Build a bin large enough to hold the pile. Better yet, build two so it's easier to turn a pile from one bin to the other. Line the inside walls and floor with metal mesh small enough to exclude the rats. I make mine out of wood shipping pallets and heavy "rat mesh". I leave one side of the bin free so that I can turn the pile or empty the bin. Once full I tie that side of the bin in place with wire or zip ties and lay a tarp over the pile. I hold the tarp down by laying another pallet on top.

As you move your pile into the bin you'll likely come across a rat nest or two. Dispose of them as you wish. I kill them and leave them in the pile to cook. If the baby rats are small enough, I feed them to the chickens.
 
monty ali
Posts: 52
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cheers guys. I really like the air rifle idea! i'm a bit squeamish when it comes to rodents ( i have a bit of a phobia) so i'm not looking forward to the idea of finding rat nests in my compost pile, i actually quite worried thinking about it. My compost piles are set up with in three segments made out of pallets with the front open so lining it with metal mesh sounds like a good idea. If you line it how do you avoid damaging it when you turn it?
 
Dave Miller
Posts: 409
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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I bet if you turned the pile more often, the rats would get annoyed and move somewhere else. Also be sure to bury the fresh stuff a bit, to make it less tempting.

Coyotes like to eat voles & rats. Here is a very interesting urban coyote tracking study: 60 Wild Coyotes Patrol Chicago
 
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