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Mrs Blue Sky


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I'm pretty sure I've got rats in my compost. I have made compost by the manky heap method for years, but have noticed for the first time that there are sizeable holes/tunnels in it. Also, the concrete base which the shed (next to heap) sits on has been eroded, and there are quite big gaps under it now.


We planted a willow on the opposite side of the garden 3 years ago to soak up excess water from our heavy clay, and last year we noticed that something is tunnelling under that too.


I feel I should call the council to come and set traps/lay poison or something, but the hens and the dog use the garden, as well as the children, and I wonder if anyone else has any experience of this problem?


I'm planning to change from a compost heap to a wormery, and this would involve upending the heap, and anything living in it would be tipped out - Muttloaf could have some fun catching them I suppose as he is very interested in the smells around that area - would I have to dump the compost if it smells of rat? Would it just attract more if I used it on the garden? If they are living under that shed, how would I get rid of them? I'm all for living alongside nature, but draw the line at rats...


Any advice would be very welcome!


Thanks all


Heather x

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:twisted::evil: You need to get rid of them. I have them too :oops::oops: ,(there, I've told you!) exactly the same thing...holes in compost & then burrows in run. I'm very reluctant to use poison, in case of harm to other animals, not least chooks. Poison will be effective though, as they will even drag a little bag of it back to share :lol: I'll save it as a last resort.

Please no one read this if you love rats, but really as far as I am concerned if they are too near humans or chickens, they need to be treated as vermin, ie killed. They can pass disease to our poultry.

I looked for methods on Practical Poultry, it's a common problem!

I now am very strict about taking all food in by dusk, although water will attract them for a drink too.Yuk.

We have used rat traps like large mouse traps (I think OH caught one with those, I'm not sure I could do it :oops: ) Then a live bait box...you put food inside & trap live rat, then have to kill it (another OH job) but they haven't taken yet.

Then a zapper unit...battery run, a baited box that will zap them. I think we may have the 1st victim there today, but haven't checked.

Whatever trap you use, take the best care to hide it from other animals & birds, placing it where the rats run.

By the way, OH springcleaned our garden refuse dumping ground :roll: and found the nest...about 6 rats shot out.

You've definitely got them & the only thing to do, I feel, is kill them until no more come, and make the area less fun for rats. We are going to have plastic, lidded, compost bins on concrete or similar when we get sorted. It's tricky as we like a wildlife garden for hedgehogs, newts, etc but need to tidy it to deter rat nests.

Act quickly as they can breed faster than we catch them!

Rats are very clever & wily and will not go near new objects so be patient.

Good luck!

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Sheila I totally agree. They are vermin and full of disease. They can pass on Weils Disease to humans and that can be fatal. You don't want rats!


We've used poisoned bait positioned where nothing else can get at it and it's worked a treat. We found where they were coming in (we had one very cocky blighter who used to come right up to the back door *shudder*!) and baited under the shed which they used as a rat run. Within a few days, the trays of poisoned bait had gone and so had ratty.


We tried baited traps but as rats are neophobic, they just ignored whatever delicacy I'd put out for them. We even borrowed Dad's air rifle to try taking pot shots at the varmint but the poison had done it's job by then and ratty was no more.


Good luck getting rid of the blighters, Mrs Blue Sky.

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We keep pet rats! but if I saw one in the garden I don't know what I'd do :oops:


Try the council they are obliged to come out and sort the problem out for you I think. I keep the girls pellets in a black bin with a lid with two handles that swing up and lock the lid on, just to make sure!!



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Where we live in the country rats are common Fortunately we have only had one a number of years ago.


But we do not ever put any food down on the ground for birds - always in containers. Only have compost in a plastic bin with a bottom so they can not dig into it - but even that is going up the allotment in the spring.


The council came out to next door when they had a big rat problem - they left lots of bread out etc for birds. The council use special sort of tunnels that no animal can get in to eat the poison. They are really good at what they do, and ensure that your domestic animals or birds can not eat the poison bait. They came back several times. They are also good at spotting a rat run - (their route).


So do call the council they are the best people to deal with a problem. Here they started to charge £5, before that it was free.


They say for every rat you see, there are another 10 around that you don't see.


With lots of rain they are forced out of their flooded holes, etc. With babies they are forced out to find food especially in the winter.


Compost bins, wild bird seed, chicken food in runs, even leaves all attract them. But they would come anyway. When you walk past fields around here with heaped piles of pig muck - and I mean huge huge piles, you see lots of rats in and out of them in broad daylight - and they still make me shiver!


Good luck - with the right person dealing with rats you soon get rid of them.

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I second the cat method. My littlest cat only weighs just over 3kg and she catches rats. We back onto railway lines and had them before we had the girls. There's no way we can get rid of them all but we find we've had no evidence of rats near the house, they are clever creatures and will mainly stay away if they smell a predator

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I found holes popping up in my girls run. thought that I had some strange chickens at first that liked to burrow. Then I saw one of the blighters run across the patio. That was it. I called the council the next day and got the rat catcher man out. Very helpful. Told me that the stuff you buy that is non poisionious is "Ooops, word censored!". it will never work if there is a food source around as they way it works is via the starvation method, the rat killer has no nutrients but tastes nice. the rats eat it get full but get no energy and eventually die. bit too cruel for me. So down the bait boxes went. the chooks cant get in and other birds and squirlls are really attracted by it and leave it well alone.

Well 2 weeks went by and the rats hadnt touched the poison. then one day they found it. only a little nibble. the next night loads of the poison block had gone. next night the rest of the poison went. i got the rat man back to rebait the boxes and that night all of the poison went in 1 night.


Well today i was out tidying the garden ready for the spring, Moved a cloche to plant some early peas, and behold, a huge (over 1 1/2 feet from head to tail) rat. it made me jump as it was not what i had expected to see.

No more of the poison has been taken, so it may just have been one rat. but you never know.


I say if you have rats, gt rid of them. The council usually bait for free, get something back from your council tax bill and use their free service.


To all you rat lover out there, I too am a rat lover, I have had pet rats in the past and recognise that they are very inteligent and cunning animals. However, if i wanted a new pet i would go and buy one. I dont want wild ones running in my garden spreading disease.


Releived Chook and Rat lover



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I've got in touch with the council and they're coming on 26th of this month, the earliest they can do. I can't believe how stupid I've been over this - the holes under the willow tree, holes in the compost - and it took the eroded concrete base under the shed to make me realise the extent of the problem :roll:


Anyway they should be gone fairly soon. I'm not using the compost heap anymore, not until the rats are gone, except to put the straw and poo from the hens in. I'll treat myself to a wormery in the spring, and I suppose I should dump the compost they've been living in; I don't like the thought of spreading ratty-smelling compost of the garden.


Thanks for all the input and advice everyone - I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one with a rat problem...



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We had rat holes appearing in the big run last November with fresh soil each morning and eventually we had to put poison in bags and pushed it right down into the holes, covering the whole lot with bricks.


All activity stopped and there was no more fresh soil and holes appearing.


This morning though, there was a very large, very dead, rat in the run :shock: It didn't appear to have been pecked to death but just looked as if it wandered in overnight and died :?

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Please bear in mind that if you have chickens, you have chicken food. Rats can chew through plastic bins in one evening. the best thing to keep the food in is a metal sided container. You can get a metal dustbin or, as we have, a metal dog food bin from any good pet food supplier. We got ours free - just ask as they often have freebies from the folks who make pet food.Takes just a sackful of mash/pellets :D

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Hi piggyonemoon


My problem is still being dealt with - I was just discussing it in another thread - the council have been once and are coming again on Friday to lay more poison. I did find that they (rats not the council) were in the garage - stupid of me not to have realised that they will get anywhere they want - and so we have to have another box of bait put in there. I don't know how long it takes to get rid of them though - I'll let you know. At some point I will upend and dump the compost heap which more than likely brought them in, and that's when I'll know for sure if they're gone or not, as they were making lots of tunnels in the heap. I don't feel that keen to do the job, as I don't want to see lots of little rat babies squirming in there :shock: - if I see them I'll have to deal with them :evil:


I think your friend should speak to her council if they are getting too near the house. They don't make good neighbours!

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Since my grandparents moved in with my parents they have had a rat problem. They love to feed wild birds but what they did not realise is that the rats were eating most of the food! You could actually see them from the kitchen window in the trees :(

Eventually the only thing that seemed to work was Dad hanging out of the bathroom window with a gun shooting them!! :roll: (i think it made him think he was a hunter or something!)

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It's awful! It makes me feel funny just thinking about them-I hate the way they move!

I have suspitions that there may be mice in my shed as the dogs have been sniffing more than usual. :( I know they are small but they are still creepy.


Do you think those things you plug in would upset the chickens? I know they don't affect dogs and cats. I was thinking of getting one. I don't want mice eating my chicken food!

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We saw a rat who was as bold as brass coming onto the middle of the lawn in the middle of the day. I was very surprised at the size of them!! The farmer who I bought one of my chickens said that there are rats living 200m from every person, but ecause of the chicken food etc that we use we get to see them - lucky us!!!


A few days later it turned up dead one morning in the middle of the lawn with its head pecked to pieces( not by my chickens as they were in their run). Sorry about gorey details!!!!

Not sure what killed it though think it might have been an owl!!??

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My mother-in-law will kill me for telling this story.

A few weeks before Christmas their oven started to smell really bad when they turned it on. I went round there to have a look and took the oven apart. Between the hob and the oven is a gap and I could see mouse droppings (old ones) but in the middle was 2 big droppings- obviously rat. As I was about to put the oven back together I noticed a thick tail at the front - he was still in there :shock: Worse to come - when I prodded him he moved :o I couldnt get him out so they called in pest control who said he could see no evidence of a rat. The next evening they saw him run across the floor.

Anyway - oven unusable so Christmas dinner venue changed - new oven arrived last week - rat left via the cat flap when cat food was moved off the floor.


I know someone who contracted Leptosporosis (weils disease) - rats are not a good thing. It takes time for them to get used to a trap or bait box before they will approach it.


Good luck all you rat hunters. We have rats around the pond near our house but have only seen one in the garden. I fancy one of the zapper boxes - on ebay for about £40

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