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Rat Control

 
                            
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Ever since I converted 90% of the lawn on my 9800 sf lot to gardens, rats started showing up.  They burrowed under my hugel beds and could occasionally be seen in broad daylight.  Since they weren't eating too much of the garden, I didn't worry too much about it.  They even began to lose there fear of people and stopped scurrying away when we went outside.  The neighbor's house became vacant for awhile and that added to the problem.  Then the numbers seemed to drop.  After awhile, the cause of the population drop sadly showed up dead in my dog kennel.  It was a weasel.  Unfortunately, one of my Alaskan malamutes had dispatched my rodent control.  Last spring, we added chickens to our urban farm.  They free range most of the yard, but I still feed them chicken feed inside their run.  I don't mind buying feed for the chickens, but I don't like sharing it with the rats.  I've tried to make the inner chicken run impenetrable, but rats are determined.  After reading about their ability to reproduce, disease issues, and the fact that as an introduced species that lives around human habitation and typical lack of natural predator controls (unless you are lucky enough to get a weasel), I decided I needed to do something before I was overrun by them.  I tried live trapping them, but they were so fast, they could make it in and out of the live trap before the door snapped shut.  I finally resorted to the snap traps.  These kill quickly and effectively.  Using three traps, I have probably killed over 20 rats.  There seems to be an endless supply of them.  I don't want to resort to poison, but I want to get rid of them.  Anyone else have any good ideas?
 
Emil Spoerri
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LOL! First I would like to point out that there are magically 3 pest company websites listed in the add section at the bottom of this thread!

One magical way to get rid of varmints is to have a rather deep container with oats or corn and water on the bottom. Vermin jump in to get the grain and drown. Chickens can jump and rats can climb. Perhaps you could build some sort of small structure above a kitty pool of water. You would have to figure out a way for the rats to think they can get to the food, but can't quite make it (or perhaps make it back?) and drop off into the water.

Actually I discovered this because I soak oats to feed my goats and poultry. Let me tell you, if I had a dollar for ever dead mouse I used to find in it before I started using a lid...
 
                            
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Location: Abilene, KS
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I'd suggest getting a kitty or two.  Give them some straw in a sheltered area, food and water and they'll take care of your rat population.  Please feed them a little, especially in winter!  They are obligatory (sp?) carnivores and it's their nature to hunt.  They will be better hunters for you if they are healthy. 

I was told by several farmers in our area that females are the best.  The males tend to wander and then eventually don't make it back home.  If you don't get them 'fixed', you'll have the kittens to deal with.

Our mouser moved in under our pole shed.  We aren't sure where she came from, but hey!  She's a great mouser and she can stay.  She has snagged rabbit (eeek), rats and some varmint that I still can't identify, too.  She also does not bother the hens.  We kept one from her first litter so they could help each other keep warm in the winter.  We stacked straw bales, made a little tunnel, then put lots of loose straw inside for their hidey hole and they like it.

Good Luck!
 
wesleyds Smith
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Location: Northwest Lower Michigan
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The small terrier breeds of dog were developed specifically to reduce rat populations in Europe.  One of the breeds is actually called a rat terrier. 
 
                            
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I've been thinking about getting another cat.  We've been cat-less for about 6 years since our last two passed on.  I'm also trying to decide whether its cheaper to feed the rats some of my chicken feed or cheaper to feed the cat.  When we had cats, we bought the higher quality food, so it wasn't the cheapest.  You also have to be lucky enough to get a cat that is a great hunter.  I've had a number of cats since my childhood, but none were much good at hunting compared to my childhood cat, Radar.  Radar killed a mouse when he was 3 weeks old and from that point on we rarely woke up and didn't find the remains of something all over the front porch.  He would bring home rabbits half the size that he was.  My sister's cat, on the other hand was useless in the hunting department.  I don't know if Radar would have bothered ducks and chickens if he'd had the opportunity, but I'm sure he would have gone after ducklings or chicks, so a cat that's worth its salt for hunting would potentially be a problem in other areas...
 
Emerson White
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More adult cats are eaten by adult rats than the other way around. I have made a pretty extensive effort at researching rat ecology and control and there is little to be done. Securing any source of feed is the first step, mason jars are pretty rat proof. Second is control and erradication. If you live in an area where rats are likely to reintroduce (like a rat infested city) then you have to continually deal with them, if this is an isolated population you might be able to take the whole thing out. There are a number of non-permie poisons that you can put in baits. A terrier is the correct animal for rat control, or a sight hound if they are coming out in the day (which is a sign that the colony is so large that they cannot all get enough to eat at night). There are a number of multiuse traps that will work, but I'd steer clear of the water bucket, since they are underground it's a safe bet that they are Rattus norvegicus rather than Rattus rattus which also means that the adults can swim for hours and hours. If you are okay with that then a trash can is the appropriate sized bucket.
Fortunately the rats will not eat your veggies, because rats eat what people eat, and americans don't eat veggies.
 
                            
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Location: NSW, Australia
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I remeber a really cool solution from the sepp holzer workshops. There is one condition though: you would need to have a good presence of predators.

Sepp explained that you take a (small) bale of straw or hay. Use a pole of something simular to create a hole from 2 sides (top and sides) to the center of the bale simulating the most comfortable rat or mouse house. For the cherry on the pie, add some grains and nibbly things in the centre hole.  Next, place the bale outside, uncovered and near where the rats of mice are located. Predators such as owls, foxes and the likes, will very soon realise that they can find something of their liking with minimal effort in the straw bale...

Good luck,

Pascal
 
chip sanft
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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Emerson White wrote:
A terrier is the correct animal for rat control...


Check this out: http://www.terrierman.com/ratdog.htm
 
                            
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Location: Abilene, KS
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We have a packrat that moved into our chicken coop.  I have finally named him Ernie as it seems like we'll never get rid of him.  Agh.  We have torn down his nest several times (gobs and gobs of scratch grains stored in there!), and have three rat traps in that area, baited with peanut butter/grains/oatmeal.  He's pretty adept at getting the bait and not getting nabbed.  He even moved one trap (already tripped) into his nest.

I have a couple of cats, but the young one was chasing the hens around, so the hens are staying in the chicken run or coop.  They're molting and it's been too cold to lock them outside for the most part.  I did yesterday for a couple of hours, removed the traps, opened the coop, but cats didn't get the rat (they were sure looking for him).

Unfortunately, we built the coop walls using pallets, and I stuffed straw into the cavaties.  I'm sure Ernie is in there somewhere.  I guess my next course of action is to pull out all that straw...
 
                            
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Location: Abilene, KS
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And it continues...I went out to the coop early, sure enough, two traps sprung, the third was wasn't, no bait on any of them.  I'm pretty sure my 2 molting hens aren't getting up there, and we put the traps out when they're roosting.
First I put the hens into the run and closed their trap door.  Called the cat in, got the garden fork, raked down the beginning of the nest, stabbed the straw in all the walls (eek).  Nothing.  I started pulling down all the straw from the walls in the area where the nest is being rebuilt.  Gobs of scratch, bread scraps, apple scraps, you name it, it was in there, but no rat.
My next course of action is a live trap.  We got a rat one time that way, accidentally.  We were aiming for a weasel.  Actually the cat got the weasel eventually.

I don't suppose putting soda pop in some lids will do the rat in, like it works on mice?
 
                            
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It's definitely a challenge.  The rat terrier would probably make a huge mess digging up the place.  The cat would work if you had a good hunter.  The cat I had as a kid eradicated mice & rats from our whole neighborhood.  I even found him ranging as far as a mile away from the house where he would find rabbits.  Of the 20+ rats I've seen and trapped, none has been large enough to eat a cat, the bodies of the rats have maxed out at about 8" long.  I've heard of huge rats living in the sewers, but so far none have grown to those proportions in my yard that I know of.  The weasel would be the best predator for the job, but you don't find wild weasels at the local pet store.  My back yard might attract some owls or hawks, but no foxes since its fenced and in a suburban neighborhood.  We have coyotes in the greenbelt a 1/4 mile away.  Securing the food is the challenge.  I have a 5 gallon bucket feeder in the chicken/ duck run.  The rats find ways to get into the run and raid the feeder, but chickens need access to the food, so if I secure it...
 
                            
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Location: Abilene, KS
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We lost hens to weasels, I hate those things!  We didn't know weasels were around here and couldn't figure out how anything was getting into the coop at night with a totally enclosed run.  Chicken wire over the 2x4 welded wire took care of that.
I like Sepp's way of dealing with rats, but my rat already has an abundance of straw and grains in the coop, so he probably won't move out willingly.
Jamie, you have already trapped over 20 rats Wow...you must have great hugel beds! 
I read that if you install something 6' tall for an owl to perch on, they'll visit more often.  We have an old clothesline pole ( T shape) out front where the original house used to be.  We have seen an owl perched on that several times, and occasionally have seen him dive down to the ground.  Maybe you could plant a couple T shaped things in your garden, use them for pole beans, etc during the gardening season, and hope that owls visit during the night?  You might need a flock of 'em! 
I mulch heavily w/ straw in my veggie garden.  Had a rat out there, too...could see him move under the straw when I watered.  The cat finally got him, too.  Predators are the most eco friendly way to deal with them, I guess.
 
                            
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I just read that vitamin D (plus D2 and D3) could help w/ controlling rats.  Oh, could it be as simple as dropping Vit D tablets near their homes

I also found some good info on a UK page: http://www.gardenaction.co.uk/techniques/pests/rat_green_control_owen1.asp

 
                            
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Location: Abilene, KS
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Yay CATS!!  I think the rat is gone from my chicken coop.  I locked the hens in the run for a couple of days and called the cats in the coop.  I left the door open so they could come and go as they wanted.  Two days now and no new packrat nest rebuilt, and no evidence of rat activity.  Either the cats got him or their scent was enough to make him move on. 

 
                            
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Boo, rat.  He's still in the coop.  I'm sure he's tucked down in a corner that has a small opening and I can't get to it (we built side walls w/ pallets and 2x4's to beef it up, but that spot is going to be a trick to get in to....and the thought of cramming rebar in there trying to kill him just freaks me out.  So does the thought of tons of rats in the spring when I get chicks.....
Nasty cold weather is on the way, too.  Since I'm down to just two hens, I'm thinking about locking them up in another building with some straw if I can get it fast enough, then leaving the coop wide open so maybe the cats can get him at night when everyone is out roaming.  Cats know he's in there, they are really interested in getting in that coop....
I hate rats........
One thing for sure, every living creature needs to eat and breathe.  I really hesitate to post this, but for rats in the hugel beds, what about as a LAST resort, taking a bottle of propane, like used on your gas grill, attach a tube and gas the suckers.  The propane will go up (exhaust and other gases go down) so it will get most of the tunnels. I personally don't want to do this, but some farmers around here do it when critters like that get out of hand.
 
                    
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One approach to consider is a bait made of plaster of paris, oats, and vanilla. It solidifies in the guts of squirrels, mice, or rats and kills them, but is not a big hazard to predators (like owls) or carrion (like buzzards) compared to coumadin and other toxins.  It can be put in plastic pipes or other containers with small holes to make it unaccessible to dogs and other animals.
 
                            
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Now that's pretty interesting.  I'll have to see if we can come up with a good 'delivery system' that I know the hens can't get in to.  I'm such a worry wart about such things.

Thanks for posting!
 
                            
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I've read this topic and have a suggestion that will really work.
Go to www.ratzapper.com and your rat problems will be well on their way to being resolved!
I started out buying one device a couple years ago. I now own 5 of them. Two are on loan to my sister.
This is a truly ingenious invention and it works!!!
I have eliminated the chipmunk population that had taken up residence in my walls as well as rats, mice, voles.
Check out this website and be sure to read the testimonials.
If you purchase this product you will not be disappointed.

Kacij

 
Charles Kelm
Posts: 170
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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I've had good luck with Critter Getter traps: Critter Getter Rat and small animal traps
 
Nicolai Barca
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In the first post I noticed a source for the problem: that habitat in the yard changed to favor rats. Unfortunately, rats reproduce quickly and can often keep up with predation or kills by traps and poison. So long as there is good areas for them to burrow and bed and food to eat, they are probably not going away. So... things you can do to keep your rat population at acceptable levels:

1. Get some good ratters. Cats or small dogs will do so long as they actually can catch rats proficiently. Most do not. Perhaps some wild critters might even chip in. Most cats are low maintenance. Try not to get too attached to a bad ratter. Next cat...

2. Clean up yard to reduce potential nesting areas and protective cover. (We had this issue in my own yard.)

3. Traps. Snap traps, bucket traps, cage traps ...there are many many types of traps.

4. poisons. Probably the most efficient means of quickly killing many rats but you need to worry about other things that might eat either the poison, or poisoned rats.

Traps and poisons are more temporary and don't usually address the root of the issue (low predation and favorable habitat).
 
Stefan Pagel
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Cats all the way. We had hundreds of rats running around the place destroying feed, hay bales etc
Our cat couldn't keep up so we let her have a litter of 3 kittens and kept them. They get a handful of dry food each day, one year down the line and we haven't seen a rat and had to double the feed of the two remaining cats (one got killed by the neighbours dog and one went missing).
I even feed them quail when I have too many males to keep them going as the rats population has declined dramatically over the winter.
I'll be surprised if I see any in the spring. So far I don't see any evidence of them being around.

If I knew how to add a video on here.... I have one from last summer showing the blighters running around under our feet!
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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Marianne McCoy wrote:I just read that vitamin D (plus D2 and D3) could help w/ controlling rats. Oh, could it be as simple as dropping Vit D tablets near their homes


It did exist years ago
it works well
I had a dog who ate a box of this bait without even being ill...
And they stopped doing it!

What then would be the doses of VitD?
How to find this vitamin in the right amount?

One approach to consider is a bait made of plaster of paris, oats, and vanilla. It solidifies in the guts of squirrels, mice, or rats and kills them.


i heard this several times and it looks logical! Someone tried it?
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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jamie Hatfield wrote:I finally resorted to the snap traps. These kill quickly and effectively. Using three traps, I have probably killed over 20 rats.
There seems to be an endless supply of them. I don't want to resort to poison, but I want to get rid of them. Anyone else have any good ideas?


Well, this works! So go on!
You will never get rid of them as some more will come to the opened territory when the first settlers will be dead...
No niche stays empty long!

I suggest to use the meat... It is edible by humans and all carnivores of course.
endless supply? Well super!

My problem is to catch lizards with the trap!
 
Erin Zosu
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Location: Texas
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Hello,
Has anyone tried using an automatic feeder for their chickens?
Check them out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q4W9_n8Iq4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb4otSRqHCQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1FLVnWxDwM

Rat on one of them.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVDR4Eqziyc
Goodluck!
 
cristy vilog
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why not try to purchase a rat proof chicken feeder? if your interested, here is a link where you can go http://thecarpentershop.net/mediumplywoodchickenfeeder.html
they sell low cost and well made feeder. i just got one and it works great!!!
 
joan britos
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Hello,

I'm interested in purchasing a feeder. a saw this link http://thecarpentershop.net/mediumplywoodchickenfeeder.html but not sure if it will work as what they say in their page,
Does any body tried this feeder?
does it work good?
 
Tim Fikse
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Fortunately the rats will not eat your veggies, because rats eat what people eat, and americans don't eat veggies.


Oh, that his statement were true! Roof rats are decimating my garden in Tacoma, Washington this summer. First, they ate the beets and carrots out from under the tops. Then they climbed the pea vines ant ate the small pea seeds out of the pods. Next, my precious plot of 20 tomato plants had every tomato eaten as it approached the light green stage. They also ate every apple off of my espaliered Jonagold. They're eating the Blue Lake beans now and also gnawing the tassels off the corn stalks. So far, they've left the pumpkins, cukes, garlic, and onions alone.

How do I know they're roof rats, you say? I see them scurrying along the top rails of the fence. They leave their droppings halfway up the corn stalks and pea vines, on the leaves. I've caught a few on sticky traps in the garden.

Since I've retired, my vegetable garden is my primary avocation, and I'm so disappointed and frustrated. I even paid a pest control firm over $400 to stop the problem. That made zero impact. If the rats were just a nuisance I could accept them getting their share, but they take it all.

Can ANYBODY out there give me a glimmer of hope?
 
Dale Hodgins
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I like snakes. They eat rodents, but without causing the same problems that cats are known for. Mine live under hugelkultur beds. I bury meat scraps there, in the hope of attracting rodents. Rats are pretty smart. I doubt that they would choose to feed near a snake den.
 
Burt Harrison
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Location: Shorpshire, UK
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I've read this thread with interest. Over the past few months the rat population has increased dramatically, we have the same problem as Tim, the rats have had our entire crop of carrots, sweet corn, beetroot, many peas, many dwarf beans, kohl rabbi, brussel sprouts and many of our tomatoes, two beds of potatoes and the list goes on (I'm sure there are more that we've lost to the rats that I haven't listed).

I have noticed that the population has increased since I built the Hugelbeds and started to hot compost. We have 5 very large hot compost heaps and every time I turn them I count 8 to 10 rats coming out of each one (on the plus side at least they are aerating the compost heaps ), there are 5 rat nest in the base of the Hugelbeds and 3 or 4 nest under the chicken house, and this is just in the garden, they are even moving into the new beds as we make them! Yes we've made 30 new beds this week and 5 or 6 already have rats holes in them, I pretty sure that there hundreds around the cow barns. We have 11 cats on the farm most are good at catching mice and voles but rats... nope! The presence of the cats in the polytunnel has kept the rats out of there for now, but the weather is starting to turn cold and I fear that the rats will become braver as the temperature drops.

I'm at my wits end as what to do, we put so much effort into growing these veggies to lose so much in a couple of nights.

I appreciate that being on a farm we are unlikely to eradicate the problem completely and it could be that we need an on going method of control. I really didn't have a problem with them being around, and when they started eating the tomatoes we moved a couple of cats into the polytunnel (they live there permanently now) and that solved the issue and all was good for a while then as the carrots started to mature; bang! The rats ravaged the garden, eating pretty much everything, they have even 'tasted' the cabbages and cauliflowers but seem quite happy to eat everything else for now.

Reading this thread I am now thing about move the compost heaps out of the garden, to eliminate one popular residence and a source of food (as all our kitchen waste is composted) but due to the combined volume of the heaps it's going to be a couple of weeks work even with everyone chipping in and then where do I move them too? It seems totally impractical to move them too far from the garden as lugging garden waste across the farm and compost back is just... well a lot more work. Then there are nests in the Hugelbeds and other raised beds, these are not really moveable! The chicken house issue can be solved with several rolls of chicken wire and lining the floor of the chicken pen.

It looks like we're going to have try a multi-pronged approach to the problem before it starts getting really cold. I'll keep you updated with how things go.
 
William James
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We use live traps and then send them to rat heaven in the woods far, far away.
We tried a barrel and bait, but it didn't work. Certain cat species are extra good at catching mice, not sure about rats.

Import a snake and give it habitat? Or a dog?
Personally, a snake would be preferable to a dog. Dogs are clingy and actually expect you to feed them.

http://www.permies.com/t/416//snakes-rats

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/04/27/3805742/ask-a-scientist-davidson-college.html

William
 
Chris Knipstein
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When I was a kid the neighbor had a problem with rats in a chicken coup. They kept the feed in a blue plastic 55 gallon drum in the coup, with some plywood over it for a top. The rats could get into the barrel rather easily it seemed. It was in a corner where they could climb the wall to get in. Eventually when the feed level got low, the rats couldn't get back out even with the lid off. The plastic was to slick for them to grab onto, and the barrel to high to jump out of. Sometime there would be several stuck in the barrel. In the end the feed was moved, but the barrel left with some feed in the bottom and it made a good trap from then on.

If there is a garden I'm not sure what they would prefer to eat. I would put a 55 gallon drum somewhere close to their burrows with some larges sticks or boards for them to climb to the top. Put some grain around the outside for a few days or a week, then only place it inside the barrel after that. In the coup there was no other food source around so they were more than eager to jump in. Out in the open with other food sources you might have to find something they really like to eat to get them to want to jump in for it. Putting it in a place, or making a place around it that feels safe for the rats would do a lot to help as well. They don't want to expose themselves to predators anymore than needed. Predators would definitely be a better choice as trapping will just create a vacuum letting more move in, and not every rat will get trapped. However trapping could help reduce the numbers a bit.

I've never thought of this until just now but it just might work. What if you got some good sized fake rubber snakes and put them out in the garden areas and kept moving them around? Fake owls scare other birds (for a while). My dad once kept geese out of a small pond by submerging an un-inflated, blow up alligator float toy at the edge of the water. From the air the geese thought it was an alligator in the water and never landed there again, while the fake alligator was there. Maybe rats would avoid rubber snakes if they were moved around often? I suspect they might not fall for them for long, but maybe just before things were ripe they would work for a week or so. If all the best places seemed suddenly infested with snakes perhaps they would go check out the blue barrel with food all around it instead lol.
 
Charles Kelm
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Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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Tim Fikse wrote:

Oh, that his statement were true! Roof rats are decimating my garden in Tacoma, Washington this summer. First, they ate the beets and carrots out from under the tops. Then they climbed the pea vines ant ate the small pea seeds out of the pods. Next, my precious plot of 20 tomato plants had every tomato eaten as it approached the light green stage. They also ate every apple off of my espaliered Jonagold. They're eating the Blue Lake beans now and also gnawing the tassels off the corn stalks. So far, they've left the pumpkins, cukes, garlic, and onions alone.

How do I know they're roof rats, you say? I see them scurrying along the top rails of the fence. They leave their droppings halfway up the corn stalks and pea vines, on the leaves. I've caught a few on sticky traps in the garden.

Since I've retired, my vegetable garden is my primary avocation, and I'm so disappointed and frustrated. I even paid a pest control firm over $400 to stop the problem. That made zero impact. If the rats were just a nuisance I could accept them getting their share, but they take it all.

Can ANYBODY out there give me a glimmer of hope?


Tim, I'm not sure if this is legal in your area, but if it were me and I could see them, I would shoot them with an air pellet gun. Be mindful of where the pellets would go if you miss (neighbor's windows?), if it is legal (if you care), etc. Be sure to practice with the pellet gun first, making sure it is properly sighted in for accuracy. Also, you may want to see if there is someone you can borrow a pellet gun from rather than spending the money on what may not work out. Pellet guns are going to work much better than BB guns. If I had it to do all over again, I would get a .22 caliber air gun rather than .177 - it's a little bit bigger pellet and has more killing power (which is even more humane).
 
Tim Dickinson
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Location: Englewood, CO
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I'm currently experimenting with possible solutions for my city location. Had a couple rats move in this fall and set up housekeeping under a scrap woodpile near the coop. The wood is now "hugeling" under a new garden bed and the underground portion of their lair is thoroughly decimated but the blasted critters still think my place feels like home. I tried a baited rolling drum over a bucket setup that I found on YouTube. The peanut butter was a big hit but they meticulously leaned over and slowly rolled the can so as to get every last lick of peanut butter without falling in. Having watched exactly how they work, I may try a deeper bucket or barrel and place the drum just out of reach from the rim. I'm certain they couldn't stay balanced on the drum if they had to stand completely on it to reach the food. From there it's straight into the drink where they are free to swim around till their heart's content until I find and dispatch them.

Rats getting in the feed barrel also gave me an idea. Smear peanut butter on the inside of a bucket/barrel out of reach of the top but theoretically within reach from the 1" or so thick layer of foam beads or other tiny floatables floating on the water (which the rat can't tell isn't a solid mass). Another rat swimming around in it might trigger suspicion in a second but I suspect it would actually (and amusingly) provide reassurance and/or intrigue.


A word of caution about pellet guns. I mysteriously misplaced my old pump kiddie air rifle which I have successfully and famously used indoors on mice and, in honor of the rats, upgraded to a high power spring piston number with interchangeable .22 and .177 cal barrels. Turns out the smaller caliber pellets break the sound barrier. When the shock wave catches up, it knocks the pellet off course. Also, the intense air pressure inside the gun causes any oil (manufacturing or otherwise) to "diesel" (explode) which, again, throws the pellet off course, not to mention the almost firearm level sound effect which isn't a bonus when shooting at night in the city. Some people do this on purpose for more power but they must be shooting at bigger targets. A well tuned scope doesn't help if your shooting 6" groups at 10 yards. One manufacturer said the out of the box dieseling should be gone in "as little as 200 shots." I'm about 150 shots into my new air rifle and it's a little quieter and I'm down to a fairly reliable 2" grouping (at 10 yards) but the barrel still smokes a little after each shot and a 2" spread doesn't necessarily hit a rat, much less fatally. This performance is from the fairly highly regarded and recommended Beeman Kodiak.

This is no Red Ryder! A high powered .22 air rifle will go through a lot before stopping. If you're in the city, you'll want to prepare a baited shooting range designed to contain angry pellets. A fairly comfortable blind is also in order because, unless you're completely overrun with them, rats will spook a bit with each shot (especially if your gun is still dieseling) so you'll want a place to relax without spooking them further while you wait for the next one to venture out.

You may balk at also investing in night vision attachments. Instead, ight the whole target area with red light. I started with the red setting on my cheapo head lamp and upgraded to a red CFL party bulb in a clamp on heat lamp fixture. Rats can't see red so they won't even know they're in the spotlight. So long as you don't amuse yourself with your smartphone while the rats are getting their courage back, the red light will be plenty bright to quickly sight anything within a 6' radius of the bulb.

Complications aside, shooting them seems to be the most effective method for keeping populations at the lowest possible levels (maybe zero).

I've seriously considered a terrier too. Our collie is getting pretty old and none of us want to be without a dog in the family. I prefer the companionship of a dog over a cat any day . However, they reportedly don't play well with chickens so it would have to be strictly a house dog specially trained to make good use of chaperoned trips into the yard.

Our cats (both born and bred barn cats) are useless and I don't feel like indefinitely collecting more until I find one or two who can do the job. Especially in the city where, technically, you're supposed to keep them indoors.
 
Burt Harrison
Posts: 20
Location: Shorpshire, UK
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Interesting...

William we are in the UK and none of our two types of native snake eat adult rats, although I'm sure that they may go for the young. The idea of rubber snakes won't work here as the rats are unaware of them a predator.

I do like the idea of the barrel with bait inside and it just so happens that I have a 55 gallon plastic barrel with a top that slightly pitches inwards, I think that this might just do the trick. BUT as has been stated all we are going to be doing is producing a void for more to move in, however in the short term it may well serve as way to reduce the numbers. I'll dig the barrel out and get some peanut butter to smear around the inside (although I fear that I may find some of our works head first in the barrel!!! ).

Cheers
 
William James
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Location: Northern Italy
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Burt Harrison wrote: I'll dig the barrel out and get some peanut butter to smear around the inside (although I fear that I may find some of our works head first in the barrel!!! ).


I saw a video where the person put a cylinder bottle on a stick through the center of the top of the barrel. Then he smeared the bottle with peanut butter. that way the rats can't get on it, and if they do, down they go. And it's far enough away from the edge that they'll be interested in lunging at it, so again, down they go. I wish I had peanut butter, it's sort of a luxury item here.

Or you could just watch the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PLO3a9QQQI
William

 
Burt Harrison
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Location: Shorpshire, UK
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Or you could just watch the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PLO3a9QQQI


I like the idea of the trap, although in a later video he showed that it didn't work because the rats could reach the peanut butter easily without having to stretch to the point of losing their grip. I do think that with a bigger bucket it work or with a 55 gallon barrel. I will have a go at something like this though.
 
Tim Dickinson
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Location: Englewood, CO
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William, the drum and bucket setup I tried was just what you described. I used an old holiday tin with a lid as the cylinder/drum. The difficulty is getting it far enough away from the rim to force the rat to lunge/jump. Since a small footprint and keeping kids out is critical, a bucket is what I'm limited to. However, it requires lowering the cylinder so the rat jumps down on it instead of across.

I might just try a bucket version of my false floor barrel idea and see what happens. I don't want to spend a lot of time on a partial solution.

The trouble with using bait of any kind is that you actually attract more of them.
 
William James
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Location: Northern Italy
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Supposedly if you can create odors that the rat doesn't like, they stay away. Mint is one.

In an open space, that becomes difficult, but it might be worth a try, especially if there are closed spaces where they hang out.

I'm on the rat attack too, so I'll share my discoveries.

William
 
Consider Paul's rocket stove mass heater.
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