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Old 6th January 2007, 03:49 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Somerset
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Default Hello - and rats

Hello, this is my first posting; it has been interesting reading through forums.

Problem - I have been feeding birds for very many years and doing Garden Bird Watch for several. This year for the first time I have had rat problems. The Council have been twice but the only solution has been to drastically reduce scope of feeding. I now have 3 stand alone, high hanging feeders - 1) squirrel proof seed feeder 2) simple peanut feeder and 3) fat cake basket.

Has any one else had problems? What have they done? Thanks
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Old 6th January 2007, 04:37 PM   #2
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Welcome, Lesley!

You have my sympathies and yes, I've seen more rats this year than before but suspect this is partly due to a lot of building work in the area and waterlogged ground flooding them out of their normal homes.

Has your Council gone to fortnightly collections and if there's been an increase in flytipping in your area - this has happened with some friends down south?

Have you got new people anywhere near you - I know this sounds nasty but some folks can leave out stuff that attracts rats and everyone near them gets the hassle!

Also, if you've had prolonged wet weather like us, some of the rats have been forced out of their normal homes and into ours. If they're in your house, get yourself some of the pest deterrents made by the same company as Catwatch and invest in one of those electrical ones you plug in - they send pulses down the wiring that deter the little darlings from chewing your wires! Check round your house for possible entrances - rats can't squeeze through the smaller holes like mice and plug them up when you're sure you've got rid of the rats - the mice will find other ways of getting in/out! Check your compost bin (if you have one) for chewed bits and your compost pile if you have one for holes. I also move stuff in my sheds about regularly - this disturbance seems to discourage them.

Like Lesley, I'd welcome ideas, too! Jenny
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Old 7th January 2007, 11:42 AM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Harrogate (previously Kent)
Posts: 78

hi lesley and jenny

we've had indoor and outdoor rats periodically because rats are endemic on the beck (so yorkshire wildlife trust tells us), so here's how we've had to adjust and deal with them:

people say, 'rats in the cellar; mice in the attic,' but being on the beckside we have no cellar, and having solid stone walls the rats should have no entrance. however previous owners added a cavity-walled extension in 1991, and several holes were left for rats to get in and climb to the attic (behind gas meter; near the foundations etc). the rats chewed holes in the roofing felt at the end of a gable, causing major roof-leaks down the window. they are said to chew babies' faces at night, apparently, and we have a young granddaughter. so, much as we love wildlife, we have had to do a shock-and-awe job. a bucket of rat poison from homebase (the warfarin sort that looks like greeny blue corn: as used by councils for decades) does the job in 4-5 days (mice) and in several goes of 4-5 daysworth for rats. then you block up the holes and wait for the next batch to find/make new holes. they tend to die under floorboards next to hot water pipes and stink the place out, by the way. enjoy.

even if you don't see the rats, you'll see their holes in the earth nearby. we can never get rid of rats here (a foot from the beck) of course, but we've adjusted enough so that we don't get them much, now:
(a) no ground food left out at night at all. we use removable feeding trays.
(b) a squirrel dome (inverted) under the seed-feeder which is on a pole. it's over a foot across and catches most of the black sunflower seeds and husks.
(c) regular sweeping under the feeders.
(d) rat-trap baited with cheese in a hole that hubby constructed out of large stones. this is fun, as i get to go in harrogate's specialist cheese shop and demand trap cheese which they've never heard of. they give me bits of cheese to taste, but i say it's wrong as it doesn't taste of soap. 'trap' is a southern expression for very cheap, rubbishy cheese.

i don't object to rats out of doors - they're cute and you can watch them play - they're only beck rats being opportunistic - but the neighbours get hysterical if they see one, and we must play ball.

good luck
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Old 13th January 2007, 01:41 PM   #4
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Location: Bristol
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I haven't seen a rat, but a 2 inch diameter hole has appeared in the top of my compost heap so I am not ruling them out. I am tempted to ram a garden fork into the compost but being rather squeamish I have bottled-it so far. I remember the sickened feeling I had when a frog jumped into the path of my mower before I could react
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Old 13th January 2007, 02:38 PM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Default Ratty and Friends

I too have noticed an increase in the rat population this year. I suspect the warmer winters are encouraging them to nest more successfully. Of course the wetter weather could also be flooding storm drains too which forces the rat outside. Please folks - be careful if you do put out poison as other animals could be harmed if they find the carcase of a poisoned dead rat and eat it. I'm talking about cats, foxes etc. It may be better to phone the council if you have a problem and let the professionals deal with it. My cats have brought in several rattlings this year (live, presumably so that I can practice my hunting skills) and I've donned thick rubber gloves as they bite HARD and let them go again much to the disgust of the cats!

Turn your compost as that does discourage them from nesting and never put cooked food or table scraps on your heap.

Incidently, rats make great pets being friendly and intelligent but maybe its best to stick to the ones you buy from a pet shop.......

Good luck with your guest

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Old 13th January 2007, 06:21 PM   #6
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Hi all! Just had power back after latest gale - heard that one of our ferries had two of its' lifeboats take off in the wind yesterday - perhaps that's why the relief boat upanchored last night! Never a dull moment, though plenty of dull skies!

Mealworm, if your rats were anything like our Warwickshire country rats, get motorcycle gauntlets! Even the babies could get through the tough rubber gloves!!

Personally, and only if it's a serious problem, I'd call the professionals. I don't like poisons and where I live (with a dog and many neighbours' cats), I don't feel safe about using them!

BTW, our pest operative informed me that chocolate, not cheese, is guaranteed to increase mouse traps' effectiveness. Apparently same works for rats chocolate smelling flavoured poison is more effective! Was told this when I lived down south, too - anyone else been given same into?

Decades ago, we lived somewhere where we had both brown and black (ships) rats. My Labrador would chase the former but he would go for a kill with the latter. Same Lab would bring us baby birds who had fallen out of the nest/rescue baby rabbits from the creek and allow hedgehogs to eat from his dinner with equanimity! The dog's best effort though was (being used to ducks) to lie down full stretch across the middle of the road whilst mum, dad and 11 ducklings crossed it. I didn't see it, but the local copper did!
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Old 15th June 2012, 08:31 AM   #7
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Rats. Well you can put poison down for the rats keeping it in bait boxes to stop birds eating the seed which the poison is on. BUT!! if you feed peanuts to the birds which we all do, these peanuts act as a antidote for the poison you put down for rats making them immune. Just to let you no.
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Old 16th June 2012, 10:10 AM   #8
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In reference to Jenny's remark about chocolate being used as bait. We've had a problem with a lot of mice recently and I found raspberry jam works very well. I've nothing against mice in particular but there were loads of them. I even see them in the middle of the day climbing up ono the suet feeder.
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Old 16th June 2012, 07:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Peggo View Post
In reference to Jenny's remark about chocolate being used as bait. We've had a problem with a lot of mice recently and I found raspberry jam works very well. I've nothing against mice in particular but there were loads of them. I even see them in the middle of the day climbing up ono the suet feeder.
Know how you feel Peggo. When my partner and I lived in Scotland in a farmhouse we had numerous mice especially in winter and they liked to live in the garage.

One day, my partner was sorting out his things, and the little devils ruined a lot of his sports gear by chewing on various items including ski-pole handles, bike tyres and the worst one the electrics of his car. They have no boundries to what they chew for nest material as that is what they where after in our case.

We use a humane trap, and add Nuttell Chocolate Spread which they like, and we dispose of them a good mile or two away from the house so they do not return.


Last edited by ScopsOwl; 16th June 2012 at 10:18 PM.
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