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will this ever end? or am I just being a silly city girl to think I can run them all off once and for all......

so, we bought our new place this summer. much, much more rural than we had before. the ww1 rodent wars came for us many years ago, at our old place, when we got our first hay eating livestock. after many serious campaigns on their part, we prevailed and the problem settled down. but, those were really just mice. in a pinch we could kill those buggers with a fly swatter.

ww2 is now upon us. and, these corn fed ky rats have really brought their a-game. they came to play. it all started when the prior owners basically let the house sit undisturbed with lots and lots of stuff they were leaving behind that was very rodent edible for like 3-4 weeks.

we actually moved in weeks prior to our original plan because we realized they were taking over and we needed to be on top of it. got it under control for awhile. then, the fields all around us got harvested. that stirred up every wild animal around. and the buggers have come back with a vengeance.

I've got good stuff to catch them with. and, in a couple of weeks we're going to overhaul the perimeter of the basement and exterior pipes because it needs it and that seems to be the only traffic areas they can come and go through.

but, will this ever end, or am I just kidding myself? do yall who homestead in rural areas just have this as an ongoing problem? I got a thing about rats and mice. can't stand em. but, am I being unrealistic?

it reached a fever pitch last night. we actually found out that the rats have been going into a hoosier cabinet on the first floor - halfway up the cabinet under the sliding tray. then, climbing two drawers down to pull out these big granola bars back up through the way they came in.

then, dragging the bars through the dining room, kitchen, hall, under the door to the basement, down the basement stairs, across the floor to a narrow space between a cinderblock wall and some old shelves, and then eating them and leaving the wrappers behind. like I said, there must be something in the water. smart, determined varmints!!!
 

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The only way to win over rodents is to remove all food and keep it away. That being said you will not be able to do anything but live on a piece of property with no food.
 

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We've only ever had rat problems living in town! We've lived in old rural houses that got overrun with mice, poison finally did the job.

You're not being a silly city girl, rats or mice in the house are nasty, creepy and unsanitary. You shouldn't have to live them with. Closing off any route in and everything edible in indestructable containers will help.
 

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You need to find where they are coming in and stuff it full of steel wool. Even then, unless your house is built out of cinder blocks or something they can't chew through, you will still have problems. I have a mouse problem almost every fall. My solution is two fold - traps baited with peanut butter and chocolate chips placed in areas that Sassy won't get caught, and Sassy Cat - my Siamese (house cat that also goes outdoors). She is hell on mice, gophers, and moles - no rats around here that I know of! If it were me, I would also be looking into getting a couple of fixed barn cats that came from proven hunting lines(not all cats are good mousers), but you will need to feed them a cup or so of a fairly good dry cat food so they have the strength/health to hunt.
 

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Barn cats, or if you can stomach their noise and personalities, rat terriers.

You have a double whammy because rodents are now looking for a place to overwinter AND they are hungry.

Mix up some plaster of paris and oatmeal flakes, stick a cup of it in the middle of a section of 2" or 3" pipe and set it outside. Make a dozen of them. The rats eat the mix and the plaster of paris hardens inside the gut. The corpses are not harmful to the natural predators, so you don't kill those off with rat poison.
 

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As with most defense of a combat base you need a concentric defense forcing any attacking enemy to fight through several layers.

Starting inside.

Cut off all the food supply you can. Put any inside critter feed in metal cans and only feed them what they will eat at once. IOW, don't leave food in their bowls. Any food good not in a metal container needs to go into one.

Go on the offensive with traps and/or poison. The best rat trap I've found is a #1 steel trap.



I've had rats drag off the oversized mouse traps most people call rat traps but I've never lost a steel trap.

A critter in the house also works but make sure your critter and the trap are kept far apart.

Next is outside around the house. You need to have as wide of a killing field as possible. Clear out all the clutter from around your house to as far away as you can and mow the grass down low. Mr rat may not be looking to overrun and hold your command post he may merely do hit and run attacks to gather supplies to take back to his bunker. He doesn't like to expose himself for long runs. He will but if there are other options he will take those.

You also need patrols along your outer perimeter. Almost any critter that will chase a rat will work; dog, cat, ferret, small children. Be advised the latter usually don't like doing 24/7 combat patrols. You want to run a harassment and interdiction operation. Your critter doesn't have to have to kill them to keep them out of your house only make it so its not worth their effort.
 

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Can't believe I didn't mention cats! For long term defense cats are priceless. And chickens love to eat the remains the cats don't eat :) I used to keep our cat in a night as we have so many predators here, then we discovered if she stayed out she spent the night in the garden killing gophers and voles! We've never had a house with mouse problems when we had cats.

Rat terriers are not a bad idea either, a little pricier.
 

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Our 2 fixed male cats are on on mouse overload right now. I can believe how many mice are so close around the house. We let a cat out and 2 minutes later he is meowing at the door with his treasure!

There was a time at another house that we had 17 cats.... our storage shed and all it junk never had any rodent damage. Those cats worked all the time.
 

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As with most defense of a combat base you need a concentric defense forcing any attacking enemy to fight through several layers.

Starting inside.

Cut off all the food supply you can. Put any inside critter feed in metal cans and only feed them what they will eat at once. IOW, don't leave food in their bowls. Any food good not in a metal container needs to go into one.

Go on the offensive with traps and/or poison. The best rat trap I've found is a #1 steel trap.



I've had rats drag off the oversized mouse traps most people call rat traps but I've never lost a steel trap.

A critter in the house also works but make sure your critter and the trap are kept far apart.

Next is outside around the house. You need to have as wide of a killing field as possible. Clear out all the clutter from around your house to as far away as you can and mow the grass down low. Mr rat may not be looking to overrun and hold your command post he may merely do hit and run attacks to gather supplies to take back to his bunker. He doesn't like to expose himself for long runs. He will but if there are other options he will take those.

You also need patrols along your outer perimeter. Almost any critter that will chase a rat will work; dog, cat, ferret, small children. Be advised the latter usually don't like doing 24/7 combat patrols. You want to run a harassment and interdiction operation. Your critter doesn't have to have to kill them to keep them out of your house only make it so its not worth their effort.
The steel traps work great, bigger ones can be used as body grips in the right situation.

I have a small hawk hanging around right now. I'm sure I seen him carrying a rat the other day.
 

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It looks like you have gotten plenty of good advice from our great HT members! Don't give up, you will get a handle on this situation. It takes time and determination, but you will get there. We have mice around and I place traps when I need to. We also have big old field rats! Yucko! We trap them also. One year it was the year of the rat, I guess. We could hear them coming in the evening!!! We got out our hunting lights and .22 pistols. From Friday evening to Sunday evening we shot 124 rats! I finally stopped when my elbow got to hurting too much to keep shooting! I am sure you won't have to go to these measures, at least I hope not. Just hang in there and never give up!!!
 

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Since you know their route, you have an advantage. Place traps between their entrance point and the "target" of your granola bars. We have had really good luck with these electronic traps:
http://www.victorpest.com/store/rat-control/m240

When DH first brought one home, I scoffed and called him a crap buyer. But I soon changed my tune. We had a field mouse infestation in the garage, they had made a buffet out of some grass seed stored out there in the garage attic. The electronic trap was getting several a day, as often as we could check it and reset it. [When there is a dead mouse in the trap and the bait is gone, that means his "friends" crawled over his dead body to eat the bait. Ewwww.]

We have had the most problems with mice. But a few years ago, we discovered we had rats coming in the chicken coop and stealing feed. It took a combination of the electronic trap and an enclosed bait station with poison to clear them out. And we had 2 barn cats, too. Rats aren't just a "city problem", there are species that live about everywhere. The locals call ours "river rats", we are in the Missouri river bottoms. I never looked to see exactly what species they are, just know they are better dead than in our buildings!
 
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6 years and it's not stopped, just changed. The oil boom sent a new kind of rodent to us. It seems never ending. On that end we are adopting 5 feral kittens after their mom was hit by a car. I was pretty anti-cat but I really think we need them because we are losing.
 

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You can drop the current population baiting them with a warm place with food. Use whatever traps you can get and go on a killing spree. Don’t use poison because they will die in the walls of your house. Ask how I know this.

Find a good terrier to kill any ones you didn’t destroy and to continue killing new ones that dare to cross your boundaries. A rat terrier is actually a very nice dog. Other terriers may also work. Bostons often have a high prey drive, but with their deformed muzzle I wouldn’t use one. Cairn terrier possibly. These dogs will kill with a strong work ethic, not for for food. Cats often stop after one or two mice because they see them as toys, or if they eat them, they are fed and stop. If you leave dog or cat kibble in the barn you are indirectly feeding the rodents as well as ‘possums and raccoons. Again, ask how I know this.

We always have kept grain in metal garbage cans. As long as you remember to put the lids back on, the rodents can’t get it. Reconsider feeding your livestock grain. Do they really need it? Hay helps warm up an animal, grain does not. Do they need it year round?
 
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Can't believe I didn't mention cats! For long term defense cats are priceless. And chickens love to eat the remains the cats don't eat :) I used to keep our cat in a night as we have so many predators here, then we discovered if she stayed out she spent the night in the garden killing gophers and voles! We've never had a house with mouse problems when we had cats.

Rat terriers are not a bad idea either, a little pricier.
The problem is cats destroy much more than mice (and they aren't much against full sized rats). They will wipe out any quail you have in the area, take out lots of your song birds and reduce the rabbit population.

I used to keep outside cats but after seeing the damage they did to the local wildlife I decided not to go that route anymore.
 

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The steel traps work great, bigger ones can be used as body grips in the right situation.
Bigger traps will work but they are harder to set (I can set a #1 with one hand), harder to put into some of the small spaces the rats live in and they present a lot more danger to larger critters who stumble on it.

Back in the stone ages when I was a kid I once caught a mouse in a steel trap. He ran over the trigger and the jaws caught the hair on his back. About the strangest thing I ever seen happen with a steel trap.
 

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colony traps

steel traps

metal cans to put anything that they could eat in , this is popcorn can season let every one you know know you want their metal cans to put your dry goods in , label them with tape

metal garbage cans or 55 gallon metal drums for feed

de-con out every where you can , put it in boxes with 1 1/4 inch hole drilled to keep dogs from it

get a bag of tootsie rolls and pack them around the trigger for bait an roll will bait a few traps , on the steel traps put a sheet metal screw into the pan leave it sticking up a bit 1/4 inch and remove all pan tension pack the tootsie roll around the screw make them work for that bait and step on the pan

if you don't have cats or small dogs you can use 110s for rats with bait on the trigger or as a walk though , even if you do have dogs or cats you can make tunnel boxes that you place along walls and in their paths that the 110 fits into and catch them
 

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Bigger traps will work but they are harder to set (I can set a #1 with one hand), harder to put into some of the small spaces the rats live in and they present a lot more danger to larger critters who stumble on it.

Back in the stone ages when I was a kid I once caught a mouse in a steel trap. He ran over the trigger and the jaws caught the hair on his back. About the strangest thing I ever seen happen with a steel trap.
I catch a few mice in dog proof **** traps every year , just file the dog so that they fire with just a little pull ot wax them and they slide very easy , you can slo pu the dog only half in the notch when you set them all work ,you get a few it basically cuts them in half , I miss a lot more in this type some traps will be cleaned out every night , but I am going after **** and not mice with those

steel traps will cost you about 6-7 dollars each but last a life time http://www.fntpost.com/Products/Duke+Coil+Spring+Traps/+1+Duke+Coil+Spring+Trap

but always secure them down that is why they have a chain , one day it will be a **** and not a rat in the trap , it will hold if you have it secured down fence staples work in the barn into the wood , and re bar stakes outside the barn they are cheap and easy to make 3/8 rebar with a 1/2 inch nut placed over the end then beat the nut from a side with it on a anvil or vice and it will dig into the re-bar you won't be able to pull it off 13 18 inch stakes to the 20 foot section of re-bar that is about 4.50 and about 2-3 dollars in nuts , they will work so well you will be making these stakes for anything your trying to sake down
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm not allergic to all cats, but many. so having cats is a hard one for me.

we did have a cairn terrier during ww1. he was very determined to get at the rats. unfortunately he didn't have an off switch and was not with us for the duration of the war.

after eating through 5 couches/chairs that the mice jumped in and 2 walls that the mice were traveling through, I had to concede to my husband that he was a poor ally.
 

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I used to get mice in the house every year until I started using peppermint oil. I have forced air heat, so I squirt some down each vent every 1-2 weeks. I also put a bit in jar lids under the tub and in areas like closets that did not have heat vents. I have not had any mice since, and it has been 2 years. Prior to that I plugged all plumbing access with steel wool, used traps of several kinds, poison, etc., but still would get them. The peppermint oil works very well for me, but I also was not dealing with rats in the house. The only place I ever had rats was the barn, and barn cats, guineas, chickens and dogs have eradicated them.
 

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will this ever end? or am I just being a silly city girl to think I can run them all off once and for all......

so, we bought our new place this summer. much, much more rural than we had before. the ww1 rodent wars came for us many years ago, at our old place, when we got our first hay eating livestock. after many serious campaigns on their part, we prevailed and the problem settled down. but, those were really just mice. in a pinch we could kill those buggers with a fly swatter.

ww2 is now upon us. and, these corn fed ky rats have really brought their a-game. they came to play. it all started when the prior owners basically let the house sit undisturbed with lots and lots of stuff they were leaving behind that was very rodent edible for like 3-4 weeks.

we actually moved in weeks prior to our original plan because we realized they were taking over and we needed to be on top of it. got it under control for awhile. then, the fields all around us got harvested. that stirred up every wild animal around. and the buggers have come back with a vengeance.

I've got good stuff to catch them with. and, in a couple of weeks we're going to overhaul the perimeter of the basement and exterior pipes because it needs it and that seems to be the only traffic areas they can come and go through.

but, will this ever end, or am I just kidding myself? do yall who homestead in rural areas just have this as an ongoing problem? I got a thing about rats and mice. can't stand em. but, am I being unrealistic?

it reached a fever pitch last night. we actually found out that the rats have been going into a hoosier cabinet on the first floor - halfway up the cabinet under the sliding tray. then, climbing two drawers down to pull out these big granola bars back up through the way they came in.

then, dragging the bars through the dining room, kitchen, hall, under the door to the basement, down the basement stairs, across the floor to a narrow space between a cinderblock wall and some old shelves, and then eating them and leaving the wrappers behind. like I said, there must be something in the water. smart, determined varmints!!!
Nuttin better then a can-o-water with some bait just outta reach. They cain't swim long and cain't climb metal. Even a squirrel found that out at my place.
 
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