Continuing Rat Problem

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Shanti Permaculture Farm, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. Shanti Permaculture Farm

    Shanti Permaculture Farm In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2018
    I posted here a while back and utilized all of the recommendations from you kind souls. Now I am trying to tweak the new gadgets and need your help again.
    1) I got an electric rat zapper. The one that got the best reviews. I have had it set with peanut butter for about 10 days. No rats were killed so far. In fact, the rats seem to be having a jolly good time moving around my zapper. In their latest escapade, they even turned off the zapper somehow as there is no red light on it anymore. Any suggestions about tricks to set up the electronic zapper? I followed the directions on the box.
    2) I got a feeder that only opens up when a chicken steps on the bar and activates the weight. So far in one week none of the chickens have figured out how to step on it to get food. Can the weight be adjusted?
    3) I put garbage cans over my round red and white feeders and large potting trays under them for a tight seal at night. This seems to be working.
    4) I dispense all chicken pellets into large heavy duty garbage cans with lids to keep out rats. This seems to be working as well.

    Yesterday night I went in the coop after dark and saw probably 30 rats! The last time I counted 12. Any suggestions for getting rid of them? I have some regular traps I can try as well. They are smart about the electric zapper, so I hope they aren't so smart about regular wooden snap traps as well. Please help!
  2. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Crowing

    Jul 29, 2013
    Cleveland OH
    Bait boxes. Here's some advice I'm copypastaing from a post I made in another thread. This is largely from the professionals dealing with my rat problem.

    Secure your feed. Don't leave food out or in the coop. Only feed as much as the chickens need each day, pick up excess at night and keep it all in metal bins when not actively being fed.
    Start elimination by determining where the rats are traveling. What walls are they using, where are they being seen. This is where you want your removal methods to be.
    Set bait boxes. Bait boxes are secured in ways that the chickens can't get into and are safe to use around them. I do suggest walking the run every day to make sure no rats died where a chicken can get at them to eat them, but 99% of the rats will return to their nests underground before passing away so the risk is minimal.
    If you choose to set snap traps make sure they are secure from the chickens first as they can break small bones. Then start by putting the traps down baited but unset for a week, renewing the bait whenever it's taken before you set the snap trigger. Then after the trigger has been set for a week or two after that, move the traps somewhere new and start over again.
    If you can find their burrows you can use a powdered poison called tracking powder that they walk through then later lick off of their paws. You just dust the opening tunnels to the nests with it.
    Rats can fit through gaps the size of a half dollar, sometimes smaller so make sure you're filling in gaps in your walls with 1/2" hardware cloth or just straight up concrete or thick wood. Try to seal every wall so that it's solid. Rats can get through plywood given a bit of incentive.
    Track down areas of debris in which the rats could be nesting and clear them out, whether natural or just clutter in a garage. Lift bales of bedding material off of the floor by 1' on cinderblocks, pallets, etc. opening up air underneath them. Pull plywood or tarps away from walls or make sure they're completely flush and compressed to avoid creating gaps for rat-only travel that keeps the rats safe.
    Cut grass and shrubs low to the ground and clear out the fallen plant matter. Rake your lawn regularly to prevent the buildup of thatch that rats could travel under. Make the area unhospitable and exposed for them.
    Don't grow vegetable plants that rats enjoy eating like corn. Only grow vegetables that are rat resistant like alliums, spices or hot peppers.
  3. Skippersnh

    Skippersnh Songster

    Oct 14, 2019
    Bucket with water in it then put peanut butter around the inside of bucket they will try to get the peanut butter and fall in and drown
    Cull those rats lol
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

    Feb 18, 2016
    So zappers don't work? Expect the same with traps.

    #2: Was this the rat proof feeder from Oklahoma? If so, did you follow the install instructions exactly? I repeat......exactly?

    If not, which one is it?

    Process remains....
    1. Sanitation (eliminating sources of food, water and shelter)
    2. Restrict access......rat proof the structure

    and if those two fail.......

    3. whatever means you can handle. Poison bait blocks work the best...(if you follow a strict process).....but not everyone is open to that.

    A word to the wise.....trapping alone will not put a dent in the population of a thriving rat colony. They are too smart to be caught........and will reproduce is such numbers as to make up for any dumb ones you do manage to catch.
  5. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

    Nov 12, 2017
    Western Ohio
    Have you tried poison yet?
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Great Horny Toads

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    We always need to use bait boxes with poison here. Nothing else works on our Wisconsin rats.
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Only poison in safe bait stations will work! You will need to change out the type of poison after a week or ten days too.
    Rats are just too smart to have any trap eliminate all of the colony. One or two, or a couple more, may be caught, and the rest learn and avoid the trap.
    Dogs, ferrets, and a very few cats will kill rats, but again, not eliminate a colony.
    Rats do carry bad diseases that we can all catch, they eat eggs, and will kill birds ar night while they are roosting.
    If you see one or more, likely you have zillions!
    Most poisoned rats will die in their tunnels, so will be unavailable to poison other critters.
    Sometimes you just have to act, and do the best you can to minimize secondary poisonings, but get those rats gone!
  8. The Moonshiner

    The Moonshiner Professional Chicken Tender

    Nov 17, 2016
    Couldn't agree more with poison being the only answer.
    I'm in hillbilly land so doubt our rats are all that smart compared to the more urban rats but we tried everything known to man before trying poison.
    Even our redneck rats were too smart to fall for anything beyond the first couple that were trapped.
    By the time I figured out everyone's brilliant advice was failing us we were over run and beyond an infestation.
    Also agree you need to switch the types/brands. That really help us.
    Honestly by the time I moved to poison our issue was beyond bait boxes. I didn't have nor could afford 2 or 3 dozen buckets after buying poison by the bucket.
    I used what I could to keep it out of reach of everything but the death carnage looked like a battle field for a couple weeks.
    IDK how many died in tunnels or out of sight but I could walk around the barns and find dozens of bodies and so did our dogs. I don't think they ate any but did play with them.
    We didn't lose anything to second hand poisoning.
    We use bait boxes continuously now. It's a cheap solution that works compared to failing with all the other solutions and then letting them getting out of hand until you have to buy it in bulk.
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Domestic rats are great pets and very interesting critters, by far the best 'pocket pets' out there!
    Have you all seen the video of the rat driving the little 'car' in a lab? It's amazing!
    Wild rats, on the other hand, carry bad diseases (think plague!) and are too smart to fall for any trap after one or two are taken by it.
    Sometimes poison is the only real option, and it's too bad.
  10. The Moonshiner

    The Moonshiner Professional Chicken Tender

    Nov 17, 2016
    I raised rats for years. They are interesting creatures.
    As for pocket pets I've had them all. My favorite was a flying squirrel I had named Flip.
    My new thing is hedgehogs. Ever seen a day old hedgehog? They look like a cocker burr.

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