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I am so frustrated!
So discouraged! Ah!
We are just overrun with rats on our farm!

Most discouarging is the fact that I think they could be responsible for eating my turkey poults but I will lament about that on the poultry forum.

Rats have ruined all of our buildings. Our chicken coop was so destroyed, my husband dragged it away on its skids to become a loafing shed for sheep becuase it was so useless! I even put up insulation last year and when I pulled it out this year, it rained rats on me.

But they are everywhere, ruining every building- in fact, nowhere is safe for baby poultry except in rabbit wire cages. I have so much poultry that free ranges and I have poisoned with bait packs where I could without killing poultry or dogs and the dogs killed 38 the day we moved the coop. The cats kill some. I see them constantly though. These rats are hardly afraid anymore and nothing can keep them out.

We nailed wood over every hole and they chewed through but worse is that they tend to chew on corners or joint where you need to nail 3 pieces of wood to cover one small hole- it is very arduous. I guess I could close up one small brooding house and put out feed and a tasty dish of anitfreeze and maybe another dish of antifreeze in a barn room but am I going to get them all?! They are everywhere!

I had poultry in Missouri and we had no rats. Found a snake in a nest box once in the pitch black but no rats. Are some farms just cursed everymore with rats and you have to move away to be free? Metal chicken coops are not recommended but good grief! If I continually have to trash my wooden buildings, I don't understand what sort of future I can have?! Should I move?

The barn was afflicted with woodchucks too though I think they are dead but it made it sort of rat heaven.

I don't know what to do. This gets more and more discouraging and raises my feed bills.

kirsten
 

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Do you keep feed locked up safely? Locking garbage cans seem to work well for it.
You say the dogs killed 38... what if you try scaring as many out as possible with your dogs waiting? Not a long term solution, but maybe a dent at least. I have never thought poison to be the answer, but in this case I'd be very tempted... that's just not healthy. I'd do it in an enclosed area where the rats can get in but not out, so your pets are safer, though. Perhaps even a couple "coop-cats" or trusted terriers for the time being... still have to lock up small fowl and babies, but maybe a constant predator presence will help.

I assume you're letting non-deadly snakes live in peace, yes?
 

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I have rat bait stations placed around the farm. I keep them full 365 days a year. We never had a problem until my neighbor stopped dairy farming ! I have cats also and have never had a problem with a cat being poisoned from a dead rat.


Patty
 

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Have some fun with this...high powered pellet gun or .22 shorts it would be like an old shooting gallery if you have that many running around. Maybe shotgun with 7s or 8s...

Seriously, we have about 15 cats and we never see mice, rats, snakes, and moles except what they leave on the porch dead for us to step on.

All the food that isn't being fed should be in tightly closed containers. Prevents rodents and ants. If you compost do that away from the house and buildings. From there trap, poisen and kill till they get under control. Just be careful with poisen so the dogs or cats don't get secondary effects.
 

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kirsten find an old freezer to put in the barn and store feed in. One thing that really helped us was our huskey/shepard mix she was so much better at killing moles/mice and rats than any cat any type of husky will hunt rodents.
 

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We had rats really bad one year and they had made their way under our house and were tunneling around under there. We continued to put out bait bars and finally they either all died out or left the area. No problems since and I continue to keep a supply of bait bars under the house. It's a dirt crawlspace.
 

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I really do feel for you and know first hand your frustration. I've found, baiting, snap traps, 10 cats a couple or terriers keep them mildly under control. I have to feed 3 times a day and keep all my feed in a large unplugged deepfreeze as above mentioned.
Someone in my area used to raise food rats, well he and the fellow mink farmer one day decided to call it quits and release everyone...be free....be free...AAACCCKKK!!
corry
 

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There were some fantastic threads in this forum about places with THOUSANDS of rats! They had 55 gallon drum traps set up that were catching dozens of rats per day. I can't remember the details, but I think it involved drowning them.

Do you have pigs? If not, it might be time to get a few. When you catch the rats, feed them to the pigs.

And when you catch a rat, feed it to your dogs.

Chickens need their protein too, but the rat would have to be cut up (yuck!)

Once your barrel traps have cleared out 99% of the rats, switch over to the bacon grease and sponge technique: Warm the grease and let a cheap sponge soak it up. As the grease cools, smash it flat. Cut or tear into pieces. Put in a bait station. The rats eat this stuff, the sponge expands and they are no longer hungry.
 

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As stated above, keep your grain in tight containers, we use aluminium garbage cans and snap the lids tight. Only put out as much grain at any one time as the poultry will eat in twenty minutes. This means you will need to feed them four or five times a day, but you won't be feeding the rats. If you are putting food out once a day for them to graze on throughout the day, the rats are getting a fair share of the goodies, and a well fed rat is going to be a prolific reproducer. Unless you can keep the poults in a rat safe enclosure, don't get anymore until you are rat free.

I would also follow the suggestion of scaring the rats into the jaws of your very good dogs. If you poison the rats, you will have rat carcasses decaying in places you can't get to. Ick.
 

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We didn't have a rat problem until this year. I think the dry weather is bringing them in from the fields. There is no way you are ever going to eliminate all of them. I see rat holes in my paddocks and hay fields.

I think the best you can do is keep the area picked up and store feed in metal containers. Limit water sources to just what is needed for your livestock.
 

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The "rat wars", I've been there.

This place was rat infested when we bought it. The previous owner did not have any animals so there was no feed storage. I don't know what the rats ate, but there was signs of them everywhere. When I first moved here the only animal I had was a little house dog.

I put out bar bait, lots of it. I put it in the barn, in the attic of the house, and in each storage building. The first few weeks I had to keep replacing the bar bait cause they were eating it like candy! After a couple months the bait started laying there not being eaten. That was pretty much the end of the rats.

Every fall the field mice started moving into the house. I started buying sticky traps, live traps, etc. and every trap would have a mouse or two every morning. I finally got bar bait again. I didn't even open the packages, just tossed them into the attic. The mice ate them and it cleaned out the infestation.

The good thing about bar bait is that it doesn't kill them until they drink water. As long as they had no source of water in the house, they had to go out for a drink. That kept them from dying in the house so I didn't have to deal with finding their stinking little bodies around the house.

There's almost always going to be more try to move in. The secret is to keep putting out traps and bait even when you don't see them anymore. That will wipe out the population before they have time to breed up again.

Some of the other things I've noticed that helps is to get peafowl. Peacocks are meat eaters and they love eating baby rats, they also eat full grown mice. In the years that I've had the peafowl I've had very few field mice make it into the house.

Cats are no match for a full grown rat and may in fact become a meal for the rats. Once the rats are under control, a cat can help keep them under control, but I wouldn't count on a cat to fight an infestation, unless you acquire an army of very large cats.

A teenage boy with a shotgun can make a heck of a dent in their population. DS used to go out every night after dinner and pop a few rats that were attempting to get into the metal feed barrels. He eventually learned that only the largest ones can jump or climb out of a 55 gallon barrel. He set one up with a scoop of feed in the bottom to lure them into the barrel.

You can wipe them out, just stay vigilant and don't give up or they will win the war.
 

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Yep, got rid of them all. I limit-feed and take up any leftovers. That includes the dog/pet food. I store my feed in 55-gallon drums with lids. I encourage stray cats who come by to hang around for awhile. I keep rat poison around the barn in places where farm animals can't get at it. I have not seen a rat in a couple years now. I am sure there still are some, but not like before. I can spill a bit of feed now and it will stay there for days.
 

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I do not have a rat problem, I do have the occasional mouse in the outbuildings. I am not a cat or dog owner. To cope with the rat problem you must understand their life style. First, rat must have a place to live that they sense is safe. This is usually under a concrete slab or under piled wood or trash. Rats must have food. Rats/mice leave a scent trail wherever they travel. This scent trail allows them to roam at will and to return to their safe place. The scent trail attracts other rats to follow to the same safe place and to food. The scent trail will exist for more than 6 months. You kill the existing rats and shortly you have replacement rats. You must control the rats for a period of time in excess to the life of the scent trail existence! As Jim S stated above, control the feed to starve the rats away. Remove all possible hiding areas. Put washed stone around the perimeter of buildings and concrete slabs to prevent the rats from burrowing under. Keep bait out constantly for the rats that drift in to prevent them ever getting a foothold. You may never get rid of them entirely but you will get them under control to where you will seldom if ever see one with these efforts. This is my second time of posting on this subject this week. You cannot take the easy way out and have success. Persistence and adherence to the task will rid you of the problem. Do as suggested and come back and tell me if I am right or wrong. I know I am right. : )
 

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I had tons of rats around here. None of my baby chicks or anything else baby size has been safe until this year and I'm not sure I still feel safe yet. However, rats do not come around much anymore. We do have 3 full time cats out there now, but the silly rats kept running into our german shepherds pen and he killed them. My muscovies even killed a couple of them.

Mostly though I put out ropax. I didn't leave them in whole pieces. I cut up the chunks and threw them down the holes I found all around my buildings everywhere. It took 3 buckets of it cut up before I could even make a dent, but this is the third year, going on 4 that we have lived here and finally have gotten rid of the rat population, mostly.

I think the biggest reason is that the bunk in top of the big corn crib is finally empty, so they no longer have a ready food source and they have just moved on to their next victim.
 
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If you have that many, I would go on a severe baiting program and stay with it until I saw major results. Beer will kill rats easily too, especially if they have limited drinking sources. Pit it around about dusk in jar lids at frequent locations. It has to be changed often because it will not kill them after it goes flat. Or, enjoy the beer yourself as you sit in a lawnchair with a spotlight and a 22. I honed my rifle skills as a kid by shooting rats at our town garbage dump.
 

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Corn and rat snakes will clear out the critters in no time. That's all they eat: mice and rats. A Jack Russell terrier will do you wonders. They're bred to hunt and kill the rats/mice for a living.
 

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Well, we have lots of mice. Several years ago, we put bait/poison in the shed because the traps in the house just weren't doing the trick and that seemed to take care of them.

This year they are really bad again. There is a large colony living under my chicken coop. I keep the feed in a large rubbermaid type trash can and only put out what they will eat quickly, but the mice will run up and steal food while the chickens are eating.

We have 4 barn cats and a dog who used to catch alot, but now they don't seem too interested. :shrug: They will chase and catch them but then let them go!

We have traps in the house and have caught 5 in the last week or so. We have to change trap locations and bait every few days because they seem to catch on pretty quickly!

My husband bought some more bait yesterday. We will be putting it in the shed this afternoon. Hopefully that will do the trick again.

Beth
 

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Poppy - that's a sacrilege - what a waste of beer.

I second Ted's suggestion of the JR Terrier - or Rat terriers. Guineas have been reported to reduce rodent populations (if you can stand the racket).
 

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Take you pick, terrier, feist or cur. Probably in that order although I have a black mouth cur. If I were just looking for a rat dog, I'd pick about any terrier or cur, probably a freebie if I could find one. Good luck. The idea about scaring them into the open for the waiting dogs is a good. In fact, that even used to be a "competition" sport with terriers to see how many each dog could kill in so many minutes, or something like that.
 
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