Rats

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outercircle

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Rats
« on: June 15, 2011, 14:48 »
Hello - we have five hens of various breeds in our back garden in south Birmingham, and have a problem with rats.

I know that rats are everywhere and virtually unavoidable, but I'm trying to keep things to a minimum. Feed is kept in a shed in a secure metal bin, we compost food waste separately in closed wormeries in the garage, patrol the garden regularly for hidey holes etc. Unfortunately, some of our neighbours' gardens have a range of ideal rat habitats such as dilapidated sheds, guinea pig runs etc.

Ours hens' run is completely secure from burrowing, with brick or slab paths around it, but the problem is rats coming into the run while it's open for them to free range in the garden and eating their food.

I'm thinking of suspending the feeder but am thinking that for it to be too high for the rats to reach up, it will be high for the chickens to reach as well. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks

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themagicaltoad1

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Re: Rats
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2011, 14:59 »
Even if you suspend it they will get to the feed, they are very acrobatic. Make sure you take the feeder in at night because this is when they will be most active. You can put traps down, poison pots or pieces of drain pipe with poison in so your chooks can't get to it to help control the numbers but you're unlikely to get rid of them completely.

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Raven81

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Re: Rats
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2011, 15:05 »
Do you have any cats? If so be careful with poison, obviously eating a poisoned rat will poison the cat. I don't have anything helpful to say tho I'm afraid  :(
The glass is neither half empty or half full - it is simply the incorrect size! Find a new glass!

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Beano

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Re: Rats
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2011, 15:25 »
Quote
problem is rats coming into the run while it's open for them to free range in the garden and eating their food.
Does this mean that you get rats in the garden during the day?
Find out where their runs are because they will be travelling along these. Then cover it with a couple of stales(like a makeshift roof) and put a trap under the slates with the trap at a 45 degree angle so that you can catch them whichever way they enter the tunnel.
I dont think I've explained it very well, sorry.

El.

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outercircle

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Re: Rats
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2011, 18:40 »
Thanks for your suggestions.

We do get rats in the garden in the day sometimes and that's the problem. When the hens are shut up in the coop it's OK as it's rat proof - when we had snow, you could see where they had walked around trying to get in but couldn't.

We do have cats, one an efficient hunter - we had a splendid live specimen dropped in front of us while we were watching Antiques Roadshow a while back and have had a couple more recent offerings. Even her hunting skills hasn't seemed to put them off, neither has the noisy terrier next door.

I don't want to put poison down for the reason raven81 gave. We did put down a trap but it was avoided. I'll try it under cover and see what happens - someone told me they can smell new things and keep away from them for a long time.

I hadn't thought about rats acrobatic tendencies the magicaltoad's message reminded me of when I saw one shimmy up our bird table and start tucking in. We've stopped feeding the birds now!

Oh well, I'll do my best. Thanks again.


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ManicMum

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Re: Rats
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2011, 19:23 »
I don't know where you live, but many councils offer help with this problem and they should be able to advise re what is safe to use around animals.

There were also some posts about Eradirat a while ago: it was supposed to be OK for non-rats as rats have a different digestive system (and not a risk for secondary poisoning either), but the response was very mixed about how effective it was.

ManicMum

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Helenaj

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Re: Rats
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2011, 19:27 »
You can get treadle feeders that a hen has to step on to feed, but they can be quite expensive. They are a very effective anti rat feeder, as rats are simply not heavy enough to activate the treadle, but if you have bantams or a very light breed, they may not be heavy enough either.

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otis pony

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Re: Rats
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2011, 20:24 »
Just a thought, when you are using traps leave them in position for a few days baited but not set.  Put them at right angles to a rat run (usually along a wall) so the rat has to run over them to take the bait. This way it stops them being suspicious ;)
...............happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want.................

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outercircle

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Re: Rats
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2011, 20:44 »
Good idea - we did put a trap out put they ran round it.

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Indiana

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Re: Rats
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2011, 08:57 »
we tried eradibait and found it wasn't particulary effective and now have a bait box in a secure place where the bait has to be eaten inside it as it is put on metal rods. This seems to be effective for a while but you have to keep putting bait in until it isn't taken any more and even then another one will move in so it's an ongoing problem.

Unfortunately the most effective way we have found of killing rats is in a three quarter filled bucket of water inside the stable at night, they get in but can't get out. This wasn't intentional as the bucket was put there for the chickens and not to catch rats but they still persist on killing themselves this way, perhaps less horrible than bait?


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outercircle

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Re: Rats
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2011, 18:51 »
OK - trap set, neighbour's garden partially cleared and cat has brought in three teenage specimens over the last couple of weeks so hopefully we can start to see a reduction at least.

Has anyone tried sonic repellants?

The trouble we have is that they are bold as brass and eat the hens food in broad daylight when the run is open and they are out and about. They don't bother running a way until I'm just a few feet away.

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Bev

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Re: Rats
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2011, 20:14 »
If you are seeing them during the day there are a lot there! The snap trap type things work quite well for me with peanut butter in. I have never seemed to be able to get rid of them completely though because there is too much food next door and at nearby pub!

Bev

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upert

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Re: Rats
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2011, 09:05 »
move to north Birmingham. no rats here!

alternatively, place rat traps in boxes - something to keep the birds off anyway - and prime with peanut butter or mars bar bait. leave them alone for a while so the rats get used to them then you'll start catching.

I have tried poison but you have to secure it so they eat it in situ rather than take it off to cache it in their burrow. the hard rat block stuff with a nail driven through the holey bit worked well.

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Lou65

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Re: Rats
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2011, 09:32 »
We tried and failed to catch rats in traps. We have terriers and cats and they got quite a few but they still kept coming back.

We now have a contract with a local pest controller who called every couple of days at first until the numbers reduced. He now calls once a month to keep on top of things. He sets traps in boxes because we don't want poison to be used and the traps are nearly always successful.

It isn't cheap but the experts know what they're doing at least we don't have a rat problem any more.

Hope this helps - good luck.

Louise

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outercircle

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Re: Rats
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2011, 10:45 »
Thanks for all the suggestions everybody. Unfortunately, until the disaster zone that is next door's garden is cleared, I don't think we'll ever be completely free of them so it's management.

Upert - I think you will find that there are rats everywhere, I just seem to have some particularly cheeky and persistent ones!



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