Rats in Yard

SteveK364(Z5)February 1, 2003

I have been feeding the birds in my backyard for about 2 years now. I have about 3 or 4 feeders out there. Over the last couple of weeks, I noticed a dead rat under one of the feeders, and I've seen one or two others running around.

Does this mean my birdfeeding days are over? Has anyone had a similar experience? I'm very disaapointed because I truly enjoy feeding/watching the birds.


Steve z5

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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

Encourage raccoons and 'possums. Mine kill and eat any rats that dare come into my backyard for spilled bird seed.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2003 at 4:10AM
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I've had the same problem off and on--it's something I really have to keep an eye on. A flyer I got from the County pest control advises to only put out what the birds can finish in one day. It also suggested hanging a pan or something similar under the feeder to catch dropped/fallen seed.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2003 at 12:14PM
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After the drought ended and the rains came in late autumn, I saw a rat near my bird feeder. I have not seen it recently but have noticed lots of red-tailed hawks. Three weeks ago I saw something running around and thought it was a rat. With binoculars I saw it was a chipmunk. Why it has come out of hibernation I don't know but I have fed it daily, even at 20 degrees it appears. I know I will regret it later when it digs in my containers and seedling pots and rips off all Cornus mas fruit forming.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2003 at 6:37PM
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Don't give up on the bird feeders. You will get a great deal of pleasure from feeding wintering birds and learning to identify their favorite foods and spring nesting habits. Why let one dead rat spoil your pleasure?

I checked my personal library, and although most books dealing with feeding birds mention squirrels, only one discusses other "Mammal Problems." "Feeding Winter Birds in the Pacific Northwest," by Bob Waldron, Mountaineers Press, 1994, discusses the first line of defense - good seed storage. Second line of defense is making sure that your buildings are secure. Check for burrows and close them off. My third suggestion is to make sure there isn't a lot of spilled seed on the ground.

If worse comes to worse, you can set traps or summon outside help - e.g animal control or a private firm. Please don't discontinue feeding in the middle of the winter - there are birds that have altered their migratory patterns because humans provide food during the winter.

On a lighter note, squirrels are a nuisance in Oregon. My husband and I have spent a number of years trying to make our bird feeders "squirrel proof." Recently I walked onto our back deck just in time to see Ms. Squirrel leap off a conifer onto the deck railing and then to our "guarded" bird feeder. She missed the top protector, latched on to the cylindrical feeder, and rocked it until it spilled enough on the ground -fifteen feet below - to satisfy her. Then she bailed to the ground to feast.

Squirrels are just rats with fluffy tails...

Good luck with your feeders. If you want a great bird book for identification, try "The Sibley Guide to Birds." If your interest is piqued, and you want more information, "The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior" will give you more detail.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2003 at 4:42AM
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I too had rats at my feeder. Initially I figured "no big deal, they're outside, what's it going to hurt?" Then I found the weather stripping at the bottom of my garage door had been chewed. Upon further investigation, I found that things had been chewed INSIDE my garage (which is under my house) as well. I called an exterminator. The first words out of his mouth were "stop feeding the birds". I have a large boulder (ledge rock) right next to my feeder, which has plenty of nooks and crannies under it. I also have a brook running thru my yard that leads down to a large pond. With all those elements in place, he said that I had a "Club Med" for rats. My solution (after ridding my garage of them) was to, of course, stop feeding the birds. I also released two very large rat snakes (from a former neighbor and snake enthusiast), right under the feeder. They went right into the hole in the rock where the rats had been living. This winter, being as bad as it's been in the East, I decided to begin feeding the birds again (after a 2yr hiatus). I've decided to ONLY feed the birds in the winter now, at least as long as I don't see any rats. ItÂs nearing the end of my feeding season now, IÂm just waiting for all this @#$%*! snow to melt.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2003 at 10:05AM
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You could put out rat poison. If I have to use it I put in in a wooden box with small holes only the rats can get into--so that dogs and cats can't get at it. I only leave it out for a few days and then remove it. Used correctly it might solve your problem--but do take care.

I do not usually kill or poison any animalas, but sometimes rats present such health problem, it's necessary.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2003 at 3:04PM
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Let me tel you of an experience I had with the rats and the bird feeder. I knew that I occasionally has rats at the feeder but I did not worry about them to much. On night my dog "a mixed breed about 40 pounds> was asking to go out the sliding glass door. I opened the door and the dog took off at top speed to the bird feeder which was at the edge of my deck. A rat jumped out of the feeder and the dog caught it in mid leap and ran back to the house. Before I could figure out what was going on the dog ran into the house and jumped on the sofa nest to my WIFE to give her his kill. The rat was dead but bleeding and still moving.
Needless to say that is when all hell broke loose. My wife was screaming and the dog did not want to give up his prize. I finally got the rat from the dog and quit feeding the birds the next day. Two days later I went out and turned on the gas bar-b-que pit and there was a lot of noise inside the pit. I opened the lid and found a rat rosting on the burner."boy did that stink> The next day I declaired war with poison and traps and got them under control. Paul

    Bookmark   April 13, 2003 at 12:52PM
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dsr1993(z7 BC)

We live in a townhouse complex that will not allow bird feeders "because of rats".

How valid is this argument in denying the opportunity of having a bird feeder, when there are other things that might attract rats.

I am looking for some rationale to reinstate bird feeders so all suggestions are welcome.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2003 at 8:34PM
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animas(z5-SW Colo)

I live in a townhouse complex, too, and I would raise holy hell if they didn't allow bird feeding. I know my activities attract mice (no rats out here in the cold Southwest). So I trap them and dispose of them.

If you Homeowners Association is fearful of rats, they should prohibit all garbage and trash. No garbage means no rats. Of course, this is absurd. Greasy trash and kitchen scraps are far, far more attractive to vermin than detritus from a silly little bird feeder.

If you have rats already, then all dry goods (pasta, flour, breakfast cereal, raisins, rice, etc) in the cupboards should likewise be prohibited to discourage rats. The trash-collection practices of your neighborhood are WAY more important than a bird-feeder ban.

A large seed tray, like the ones you can get for Yankee Bird Feeders, will solve much of your spilling problems.

And finally, does your homeowners association prohibit barbecue grills? There again is another outdoor rat attractor!

Good grief! Next thing you know they will prohibit afternoon picnics to minimize the ant problem and ban any outdoor activities as to not attract mosquitos to the complex. Thanks for letting me vent. No bird-feeding is a selfish and petty rule. Amend the law to allow feeders will spill trays.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2003 at 1:56PM
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Another safe way to poison the rats is to use a pvc pipe and a t at the end so that cats can't crawl in but rats can. It is really amazing what they can squeeze their fat little bodies into. We've watched them in the barn go through some amazing places--when they get to a certain size and number, they don't care if you are standing there shining a flashlight on them. UGH! I'm hard hearted now!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2003 at 9:15AM
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My Mom had the same problem, and her solution was to stop feeding the birds too. She first tried different kinds of feeders, and called the town health dept for recommendations, all of which failed, and because she has pets she did not want to use rat poison. Perhaps you could use roosting boxes instead of bird feeders to help the birds, as far as I know the rats have never gone into the boxes, though I suppose they could/might.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2003 at 4:59PM
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MNature(z6 TN)

Well, I'm finally glad to see this post. After we had been feeding the birds for a time, in autum mice would come in my house. We used sticky boards to catch them and I had no problem disposing of them. We had been overfeeding. The squirrels and blackbirds were notorious for dumping the feed which contributed to the problem. My solution was to get oudoor cats. My back garden used to be a haven for birds. Parent birds would bring there little ones and leaved them while they foraged for food. We had to find a happy medium. We feed less so all is eaten and cleaned up. The cats keep a check on squirrels and mice. There is a possum that appears every now and then. He patrols the neighborhood. We live near a park. One feeder hangs on a shepherd's hook. I move it around so the feed is not in the same place all the time. It's more in the open so the birds can keep an eye out for the cat. Another is higher in a tree. A nice balance and no mice in the house. By the way, the reason I was so motivated to find a solution...mice attract snakes. I have too much border grass etc in the garden to have to be concerned with that.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2003 at 8:12AM
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steph_va(7 VA)

Thank you for suggesting the pipe trick for rat poison..I have thought about setting poison out but I'm worried about my neighbor's cat..I don't want to poison him! My neighbors leave food out for him and their dogs all the time, and I started noticing a rat eating their food. Now I'm seeing two at a time and yesterday I found them in the yard, checking out my bird seed. Ugh! Maybe I need to feed less until I take care of the rats as well.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2003 at 11:41AM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

One thing I haven't seen in any of these posts... hot pepper. Get a container of powdered cayanne pepper and mix it in with your bird seed. The birds won't mind, they can't taste it. The furry critters will.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2003 at 11:05AM
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animas(z5-SW Colo)

Garden witch... Will cayanne pepper work to deter racoons? I have an ongoing battle with 'coons. Any experience with 'coons and cayanne?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2003 at 5:44PM
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keyapaha(z9 FL)

Rats are one thing. Cats are worse. If you have irresponsible neighbors that have outdoor cats, then you should not be feeding birds until you solve your cat problem. You are simply serving dinner to the cats and decimating your bird population. It is remarkable how seemingly nature-sensitive people fail to make the connection. See the attached web site to learn of the millions of birds killed by irresponsible cat owners.


Here is a link that might be useful: outdoor cats and birds don't mix

    Bookmark   January 5, 2004 at 8:59AM
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MNature(z6 TN)

The natural world is one big food chain. Introducing a predator to control or curb overpopulation is quite a respectable, responsible practice. Many things other than cats prey upon birds....even other birds.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2004 at 11:09AM
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keyapaha(z9 FL)

MNature you have a serious problem connecting dots. While it is true that Man has attempted to intervene in what he saw as "overpopulation" by the importation of exotic predators for eons, there is NOTHING responsible about the practice, and very seldom is the outcome as predicted. Many a native species has been decimated by such reasoning. And its happening again with many migratory birds. Read a bit rather than preach and you'd learn that outdoor cats are a SERIOUS problem. Fortunately the biologists in my state of FLorida are going after them with a vengeance. Whoop de do, birds kill a few birds what does that have to do with anything???

    Bookmark   January 14, 2004 at 6:08AM
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ScottReil_GD(z5 CT)

Keyapaha, do you drive an SUV or pick-up? Do you fertilize with water soluble nitrogen? Water with waste water or do you just crank on the hose? Any one of these things does more ecological damage than all the cats combined but because you have chosen to focus on birds, suddenly cats are criminals. Spare me.

I have to hear this rhetoric from the bird lovers up here everytime I try to rip out multiflora rose on public land; "But the birds eat it!" . Mean while the few birds that do eat it regularly (Mostly european invaders themselves) are pooping seed all over creation, so that this weed can crowd out all the stuff the native birds here used to eat before it became so scarce (Swamp rose, Smooth rose, Pasture rose; I get so excited when I find one of these now, but they're dissappearing). And as easy as it is to wipe this weed out, the town won't back my play because of bird lovers. So in my book you bird lovers are doing far more ecological damage than cats. Bird lovers were thge ones who let a dozen sparrows loose in Central Park in the late 1800's. Now there's tens of billions. Hows that for ecological disaster? Guess it's a matter of perspective.

I feed the birds myself and love when I get my sharp shinned hawk hanging about the feeder or when the towhees stop by on the migration through. Cats do predate on birds, but they get darned few around here; I have set pasture rose all around my feeder area, and even the dreaded cat cannot compete with that. Don't come down on animals for their behaviors, figure out how to deal with it. In the Hansel and Gretel story who gets the bad rap? The kids for eating the gingerbread house or the witch for tempting them with it? Feed responsibly and the cats can't do anything.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2004 at 7:30PM
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mairenn(7-8 GA)

We have rats, but we also have cats and a terrier. My cats are not very good hunters, having been inside cats until they were more than three years old, so they can't catch squirrels or birds, just ground rodents, and not if they're very fast:) Maybe if other cat owners kept their pets indoors until they were older, they'd be less a burden on the outdoor ecology? And the terrier's fenced in, so she can only hunt in my yard.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 2:37PM
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MTM--Good idea! Any particular size of PVC pipe? I take it one end has to be closed? I've no problem with setting out rat poison smeared with peanut butter, but I don't want my dogs to get a hold of it. Please e-mail with your method. 'Tis a never ending problem.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2004 at 3:56PM
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ScottReil_GD(z5 CT)

Your dogs getting hold of a poisoned rat is an issue as well; poison doesn't just dissappear.

Everything we do in the garden impacts nature at some level, so of course our pets impact the environment as well. If we really want to get rid of rats the answer is stop feeding them. Birds can be pretty well fed by planting plenty of the things they eat in the wild. Of course then the garden begins to look like the woods; native plants aren't as neat or showy as the ones we have in our garden. The dividng line between environmetally sound gardens (and pets) is a fine one. Ask someone who does water quality testing and they'll tell you that dogs are huge contributors to the fecal coliform levels in run-off. Outlaw dogs? Many of the plants we still use are known invasives. Outlaw plants? If we find new ways to garden (read "Noah's Garden" by Sara Stein), we can fortify nature, most every thing else we do outside is innocuous at best, and often very harmful. Find where your comfort zone lies, tell others what you know, and let them sort it out for themselves. Setting good examples carries more weight than anything else...

    Bookmark   February 8, 2004 at 12:31PM
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GoJennyGo(NW Florida)

I am a new member and found your site by searching for rats and birdfeeders on Google. I am very happy to have found this nice forum. Here is my advice...I live in NW FL and have multitudes of squirrels, opossums, raccoons and other varmints to contend with when thinking of feeding the beloved birds. I have tried a variety of feeders and become disgusted at how they do not deter the pests as advertised. About 10 months ago I purchased a Rollerfeeder online and it has changed my entire yard and birding experience! I know that this forum doesn't want ads, but this is more of a testimonial for this amazing feeder. I won't go on and on, I just suggest that you google Rollerfeeder and go to their site and read it for yourself. The squirrels have completely given up on even attempting to eat from it and I think it has paid for itself in birdseed savings! I mention this specifically for the people who posted on this thread about being frustrated with their feeders and the man who couldn't have one at his condo due to rats. This feeder keeps all unwanted animals out, even large birds. Hope this helps and thank you for your other rat suggestions for the rest of my yard!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 9:06PM
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Our exterminator told us that in addition to bird seed, one of the biggest rat attractants is pet food left out in a dish, spilled on the floor or in large bags. It has to be stored in plastic containers with a tight seal. If possible, do not leave any food out overnight (rats are nocturnal) in dishes. Wash them every evening and clean up the floor area. Apparently, the rats can smell this highly nutritous stuff from outside and will try to get to it through walls, basements, crawlspaces, etc.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2005 at 11:01AM
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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

CindyBelle said:

"Perhaps you could use roosting boxes instead of bird feeders to help the birds, as far as I know the rats have never gone into the boxes, though I suppose they could/might."

I destroyed a dozen bird boxes last week because rats had moved in. The critters built a nest under the hood of my wife's car (you should have seen the mechanic's face when she brought it in for service.)

This means war,

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 2:31PM
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to deter rats???? Or even mice for that matter??? I hope you're not paying this exterminator a lot of $$$, because he's a first-rate idiot. Both rats & mice can chew through ANY plastic container - tight lid or not - in one night. Metal is the only thing that will deter them, & even then, a determined rat can eventually get through that as well.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 4:51PM
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John_D(USDA 8b WA)

Pay an exterminator? No way. I'll take care of the critters myself.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 3:35PM
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This is an old enough thread that I hope SteveK worked his rat problem out, but I'm thinking that if one sees rats under their bird feeders, they've already got a big problem. This happened to us at a previous house. After many older apartment buildings were knocked down for newer housing, we were left as the only wooden building on the block (aside from a few garages), and all the displaced rats came to live with us (easy chewing). I can't even explain how disconcerting it was to take a bath and hear rats scuttling around inside the walls. By the time we saw rats eating bird food in broad daylight, it was already abundantly clear that we had a big problem. First we tried to trap 'em (they would just artfully remove the bacon, which my spouse had very thoroughly tied onto the trigger thingamajig). Then we tried poison. Then we moved.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 1:52AM
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Also make sure that you wear a mask and gloves when handling any dead rodent. They can carry and spread diseases....

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 8:43AM
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keyapaha(z9 FL)

Feed responsibly and the cats can't do anything.

Right!!! Cats are so rampant in the state parks and managed lands of Florida that biologists have esitmated that they are killing 11 million per year. More than all other predators and diseases combined. Cats are not a natural predator. Turn it around, if you don't drive an SUV or pick-up, don't fertilize with water soluble nitrogen, or do other obviously pernicious behaviors, how could you be so ignorant of the environmental impact of this ecological disaster: the outdoor cat.

The only comment of ScottRial that isn't completely erroneous is the notion that outdoor cats are not just dangerous for birds, but for all small mammals for which cats are not natural predators.

Here is a link that might be useful: mammals endangered by cats

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 2:20PM
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taffyj(8b LA)

The little old lady whose back yard abuts our backyard has three outdoor cats. We have a birdfeeder. Never have I seen these cats even hunt birds, much less catch and kill them, and I spend a LOT of time out in my yard. In fact, I see birds repeatedly dive-bombing the poor cats, who only stepped off the porch to poop. There are also two other outdoor cats that prowl our neighborhood. Despite all these EVIL cats, we have such an overabundance or birds at our feeder, I am considering getting rid of the feeder because of the bird poop all over everything in my back yard. And I'm not talking about just one or 2 species of birds. My husband identified 17 species of birds.

If we're going to talk about how bad outdoor cats are because they're not a 'natural' predator, then we need to talk about how bad every single species of non-native organism is. Are you trying to tell us that there are no species of non-native birds that are a nuisance? Or that there are no birds that spread West Nile Virus, or other diseases? If a bird is not quick enough to avoid the cat, that bird won't be added to the gene pool, and the offspring of quicker, more watchful birds will soon be the majority.

If I'm not mistaken, nature created cats a long time ago. They've been very useful throughout history. If not for cats, you might not be alive today, because your ancestors may have died when the rats ate all the grain. Or your ancestors may have died of the plague.

You don't sound like a very reasonable person when you hard-line on an issue, as if your way is the only way to be, and everybody should think like you. Some people love cats, some people love birds. Some people even love rats or snakes. They're all part of nature.

Why don't you soap-box about those irresponsible owners who let their pack of dogs out to terrorize my children in my own yard?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 8:38PM
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The rats finally found my yard. I have been feeding the birds for about 10 years, and I was constantly keeping an eye out for signs of rats. I was lucky and avoided them. That all ended yesterday when my neighbor informed me he learned he has a rat problem.

I assumed that since he does not feed the birds and I do, that it was me and my birdseed that was responsible for attracting the rats to the neighborhood. I do not feel too good about having to curtail my birdfeeding activity but this posting makes me feel some what better. Some one indicated that backyard barbeque grills are a rat magnet. Since my neighbor is a big yard griller -- three grills -- maybe he is also partially responsible for attracting the rats.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 6:09PM
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adchon(Ingham Qld Aust)

I like the pipe with a T section at one end, does that mean they cannot back out ?
Around here they have a neat trick. It involves leaving out a mixture of flour and plaster of paris with a small proportion of caster (icing) sugar added. The flour and caster sugar is the bait, the plaster of paris builds up in the stomach of the rat and finnis. Non poisonous and any animal that eats the rat breaks up the plaster of paris lump.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2005 at 4:53AM
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Common some of you people think that the cats should not attack other animals.All cats are born to hunt,that is if you let them go out.As cats get older they dont hunt as much.Why?They get their food from the owners.5 cats in this house 3 young ones that love to run after everithing that mooves.Many times i pulled a chip or a bird out of the cats mouth ,sometimes to late to save it.But that is life

    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 9:02PM
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Jack Russells

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 9:13PM
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I keep my cats indoors, and I support the TNR programs endorsed by groups like Alley Cat Allies. I find it depressing to read of anyone rah-rahing the legal mass extermination of cats. Particularly since it's both inhumane and ineffective. The crowning irony of our feral cat problems in conjunction with this thread is that cats ended up in our former colonies because they were ratters aboard ships. To selectively target cats and not the often hyperbolic development of natural environments that preceeds their incursions into native bird territory (the same development that brings rats, BTW;Ask any poor soul stuck emptying the dumpsters at the local fast food joint) just strikes me as foolish. Let's be responsible, not vindictive, in dealing with birds and cats.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 12:58PM
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We never had rats until this year. The only different thing is that both sides or our neighborhood were clear cut and McMansions were built extremely close together. The creek and the trees along with wooded areas are now concentrated in my two street, 1/2 to 1 acre lot neighborhood.... I temporarily stopped feeding hte wonderful assortment or birds and have totally adn thoroughly cleaned all feeders. The only 'safe' feeder right now is the hummingbird feeder.

We saw rats on the feeders for the first time in June. Now, we found one in the attic..of course, we have sealed all visible entry points and have used traps..finally we have used poison. I have found only two dear rats so far.

Has anyone else noticed an increase in rodent activity after developers clear cut?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 11:07AM
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Just joined this forum due this problem.
I have an idea for a solution, that may work.
Do anyof you have any experience with this?
Suet has a "squirel proof" suit feed that has cayane peper in it. You can really smell the stuff! The bird seed store said that the birds can't taste/smell it, but the squirels can, and stay away. They have ! Wonder if this is a solution for rats too. I saw one near my seed, not suet. The rat was climbing up the small pole, to try to get to the seed. Sigh.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 1:05AM
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mrbash(z5 MI)

i had rats in my garden last year they burrowed under my tomatoe plants just when they were starting to be harvested so i picked all that werent eatin and were close and then put poison down the holes. never found dead rats anywhere and never took another veggie out of it now i want to know if it will be ok to replant in that spot since i put the poison in the ground they ate all of the bait but im still wondering if its ok to start the garden i havent done rat poison since 9th grade if ya catch my drift. good advice only please dont want to get the family and friends freakin out most are freaky enough

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 12:55PM
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There's at least one brown Norway rat hanging around between my next-door neighbor's garden and mine. I don't put out birdseed but I have many birdbaths. My neighbor, on the other hand, has a huge menagerie of birds living in her house, bags of birdseed in the living room, occasional spilled seed outside her house and on top of that she puts out food scraps for wildlife. Also, her vegetable garden is neglected and overgrown in a huge tangle, nice rat cover. Only very recently did she replace her garbage can that had a big hole in the top. I have been warning her about rats for three years and she has been ignoring me. I suppose they are going to her place for food and to my birdbaths for water.

Knowing the problems birdfeeders can cause, I rely on bird-friendly vegetation and water to support the feathered population. But a careless neighbor can ruin the best plans. I'm at a loss.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 8:59AM
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Personally, I wouldn't put out poison because we tried that once with mice- they were too smart for us and just spread it around, probably not eating it. In fact, unless it's a special kind, most rats will simply taste a little and decide not to have any more, being very cautious.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 12:55AM
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Hi.... Im in England and am having a problem with rats on my bird feeders. Also lots of little Green Finches have died or are dying which has been diagnosed as sollomenella(not sure how to spell). I am worried the rats are causing the disease in the birds. Someone mentioned mixing chilli powder with the bird seed and that would keep the rats away .....Is that true??

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 4:35AM
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About a month or so ago I found a dead rat in my yard and then subsequently found all the burrow holes near my bird feeders. I've been feeding the birds for YEARS and this is the first time rats have been an issue. I tried trapping but only caught squirells. I hired a live trapping firm that set out about 4 have-a-heart traps and caught about 6 rats over a week's period. I then filled in all the burrows, screened up the holes they chewed in my stockade fencing, and removed all of my feeders. Not feeding the birds is breaking my heart. It's been about 2 weeks and I haven't seen any rat activity. Any advice on how long I need to keep the feeders away would be helpful. Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 11:36AM
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Just read these posts---I'm surprised the hot pepper suggestion didn't generate more interest! It's true---there are even hot peppers in pet bird food. I just saw a rat for the first time in the 3 years I've been feeding birds and I'm on my way out to sprinkle pepper. It's the easiest, cheapest, most humane, and most environmentally safe method discussed above!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 10:31AM
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How do I get rid of a behemouth grey rat outdoors without disturbing the squirrels, chipmunks, and oppossum? This is my parent's problem due to bird feeders, and they really enjoy watching the other critters. With the weather turning really cold for the next couple of months, I'm afraid he will make their home his home. He is truly about the same size as a oppossum.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 6:46PM
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Get a cat. Cats can't climb birdfeeders, but will get the rats.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 6:03PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

My house
Is a very very nice house
With roof rats in the yard...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 11:25PM
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I had a major mice problem and cured it easily and the solution just might work for rats as well...

Items needed:
5 gallon bucket
Thin rope 2 feet long
Empty beer can or pepsi can
peanut butter

Cut a small hole just large enough for the rope in the middle of the can on both sides.

Slip the rope through the can. ---()---

Tie the ends of the rope to the ends of the handle on the 5 gallon bucket (where the handle meets the bucket) Leave no slack

Put some peanut butter on both ends of the can. (where you drink from and the bottom side)

The can should now be suspended halfway inside the bucket and halfway above the rim of the bucket.

Fill the bucket 1/2 way with water.

Place anywhere there is a problem.

The mice will walk across the rope to the can and the can will flip upside down tossing the mouse in the bucket to drown.

I caught several hundred mice this way so I know it works. I do live where surface water is slightly rare though.

You might try this or different variation for rats?

I like this method because there are no chemicals involved and pets can't get hurt or killed.

After the bucket has several mice in it, you can either bury them or take the bucket to a field and dump it. The crows will love you for free food.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 8:32PM
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We had an unwelcome visitor in the form of a Norway rat; he showed up last fall, and nothing we did discouraged him to leave. Of course, why would he with my bird feeders supplying him with a constant source of food. I love the birds and did not want to get rid of the feeders, but I was also worried about the rat moving into the house. Then a friend of ours in NC told us to try putting Wrigley's gum in the rat's burrows - just a rolled up (unchewed) piece of Wrigley's (we used Spearmint), which is what he said they do on golf courses. I was skeptical to say the least, but much to my amazement, within days of putting the gum in the burrows, the rat apparently packed up and left. There has been no sign of him whatsoever for the last two months. Maybe it's just coincidence, but for anyone else with a rat problem, it might be worth a try.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 4:39PM
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My progress to date:
1. Ix-nay on the carbonated beverages. The rats didn't touch them. No specific flavor was mentioned, so I used cheapest cola. Perhaps these rats are soda-snobs.
2. Rat Terriers who know they are RAT Terriers might do OK, but the rats come into my yard from the R.T.'s yard. The R.T. also has three feline siblings. Ahem...
3. I hereby heartily endorse Wrigley's Spearmint Gum. The packaging is functional and attractive. The rats are cleaning it up and I am cleaning up the dead rats. Yippee. It is not an instant solution. Over the past month, it has taken about 60 sticks, rolled up into pellet shapes, placed directly into the burrows, and along their runs. We also have chipmunks (better-dressed rats) who do not touch the gum. Neither do the birds, or the recently-arrived rabbit. I haven't heard of people complaining about an attic full of bunnies...
4. Before the animal rights folks jump on me: I'm a 10-year vegan. What did you have for dinner last night? I no longer have animal companions because the pet food industry is just as bad as the human food industry. I use no chemical anything in my backyard. So a few dead rats don't bother me at all.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 1:59PM
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I am new to gardening as well as bird feeding/feeders. A couple of weeks ago I saw a rat climbing up the tree from the birdfeeder. I removed it and placed it somewhere else, but today I saw a rat devour one of my petunias! I couldn't believe it.

Being a person who doesn't want to add toxins to the environment unnecessarily, here's what we intend to do: We read in an environmentally responsible book that rats cannot metabolize vitamin D and that having ingested it, they will die within a few days. Since the problem is (so far) outside the house, we are going to try the PVC trick using peanut butter mixed with ground up vitamin D powder. Will post results later.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 8:19PM
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I've been having the SAME problem, but live close to New Orleans, so we don't have small mice but huge RATS!!! And they will come out in broad day light, will not run when they see me. My solution is rat traps. I'm going to put out about 5 a night. The other night I saw 8 yes 8 baby rats eating under my birdfeeder. And have seen 5 at one time adult rats. I don't want to use rat poison because if my dog or neighbors dog attacks a rat dying from the poison they will be poisoned too.

1 Like    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 6:25PM
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The pasture behing my home was clear-cut and now we are over-run with rats! Norway & bigger black ones! VERY reluctantly took down all bird feeders. I tried the Bounce sheets; rats chewed it up. Am thinking about the Vitamin D3 approach but concerned about secondary poisioning of my dog. Anyone have any advice on this issue?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 6:36PM
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we live in an urban forest with a nearby creek. we've tried several ways to rid our feeders of squirrels & cayenne seems to slow them down but they dump seed on the ground looking for unseasoned sunflower they can crack. rat traps are everywhere here but seeing rats in my yard freaks me out. my hubby saw 3 rats on the feeders this morning inc the "squirrel-proof" so ALL the seed will be seasoned & we've wired bait to fence runs & put it in pvc pipe. they have LOTS of hiding places in our park-like yard. we'll let you know what works best.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 3:06PM
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I know this going to sound crazy but a friend and I went to visit old history farm. One of the things they had problems with in those days was mice and rats. So they would take little pieces of a sponge and roll in it in left over bacon grease. The sponge would expand in their gut and bye bye. I think it would work well with peanut butter. Then roll some bird seed it in. Worth a try.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 10:01PM
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I just had to post on this even though it is old. I'm a landscaper, and anybody that thinks they can feed birds and not attract rats, has their head in the sand. Almost every bird feeder I have worked around has rat holes near it. I usually tell the homeowner, and some don't take it very well (rats in MY YARD!). I just finished working on "rat exclusion" work for a dear client, but I'm not sure I can convince her to take down the feeder, so it all may be for naught. They are digging into the crawlspace and pulling insulation down (very common). The hillside nearby is pockmarked with rat holes, with sunflower seed hulls all around. Fruit trees aren't much better, if you don't clean up around them completely and often. It is well known that bird feeders are a primary attractant for rats. BTW please DO NOT use HOT PEPPER for anything, unless you want to watch squirrels try to scratch their eyes out until they go blind--not humane.

1 Like    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 11:21PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

This is unfortunate.

I'm lucky, here in Alberta we have the toughest rat control in the country, we have no rats for over 50 years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rat Free Alberta

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 11:36PM
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ok i'm just going to post this any way. make up a spray with a few tablespoons of chilli powder and fresh ground chilli, you want to release the hot oils,Add to a liter of water,(4cups water). you decied the concentration you want. pick the hottest veriaty, you can spray this around the base of the bird feeder. bird cages, hen houseswherethe rats are likly to run. holes. you can even use this in a oil burner. and slow burn in the house as a rodent deturant for possems mice rats. they dont like chilli..tone it down with 1 teaspoon of hot ground chilli for your vegie patch to deture aphis and catapillors. plant chillis around the garden. lots of them. as a bourder to keep rats out, and insectsaway from you flowers and vegies. great companion plant for all.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 5:32AM
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Keyapaha.....Humans are far more to blame for bird deaths than cats. Windows, pesticides, wind turbines, habitat loss are killing birds by the millions. Also it is irresponsible humans who let their cats roam or toss them out the door like garbage to become strays, so don't blame the cats. Typical, however, the animal pays the price for stupid humans. The only one you should go after " with a vengeance" are the stupid, irresponsible humans!!!!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:39PM
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