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Rats nibbling my veg :(

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by JWK, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. JWK

    JWK Gardener

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    I thought things were going too well this season, apart from having to water every day all my veggies are growing like mad. Until a few days ago. I though it was squirrels to begin with but saw the culprit this morning, a big rat has taken a liking to my produce. Gnawing at courgettes and picking off the lower hanging tomatoes and peppers:
    IMG_20180711_070602945.jpg

    IMG_20180711_153709597.jpg

    I've set up a couple of ultrasonic animal scarers in my greenhouse and veg patch. Any other tips on how to discourage the pesky blighters?
     
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    • martin-f

      martin-f Plant Hardiness Zone 8b

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      Personally i would kill them John.
       
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      • ricky101

        ricky101 Super Gardener

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        Hi,

        You can get various types of traps, so think if you used that veg as bait you would soon get a hit.

        Avoid poisons as it takes time to work and until it does their droppings contain the poison which can be deposited on your veg plot, not something you want as its quiet persistent.

        Have you got a compost heap ? if so its likely they are living in that, best way I found was to get a metal spike and push it down into the heap in many places and then push the hose pipe down the holes to really flood their runs.
         
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        • shiney

          shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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          My thoughts are similar to those of ricky.

          Although there are some members who would disapprove of killing them (which I can understand) there are also considerations to take into account about the rat population in your garden spreading and the spread of possible disease.

          Rat traps are normally the best way and you can easily find proper instructions for them. Poison is not so good unless there is no chance of it being accessed by other creatures.
           
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          • Tetters

            Tetters Total Gardener

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            The brown rat can breed throughout the year if conditions are suitable, with a female producing up to five litters a year. The gestation period is only 21 days, and litterscan number up to 14, although seven is common. They reach sexual maturity in about five weeks.

            I kill rats - usually with poison and use containers for the poison that are easily obtained on line, which protects other creatures.
            This is approaching the time when the crops will all be harvested in the surrounding fields here and the rats will, as always , make the way to our gardens and sheds, they nest under decking, and search out any food supply they can find including bird feeders.
            I have no qualms at all about their extermination as they can spread disease like billyo (whoever billyo is)

            If I had a gun I would shoot them - have managed to drown a couple - whatever works! :paladin::stirpot:
             
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            • Scrungee

              Scrungee Well known for it

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              We have hens which normally attract rats unless their food/run is protected, as is ours.

              What we find causes a rat problem is neighbours putting out great chunks of breads bits of meat, leftover chicken pieces, etc.

              Have a look around for disturbed soil near compost heaps, sheds, etc.

              Most rats are wary of traps, poison normally works much,much better. If you can locate them on your own property try using glue traps.

              Keep poison and traps innaccesible to pets, birds, hedgehogs, etc.!!!

              Never managed to shoot one, but did manage to skewer a rat in the hen run with a short handled hay fork.
               
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                Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
              • Liz the pot

                Liz the pot Gardener

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                Horrible pests, my companion had them in her garden and she went to see her friend who is the local lord of the manor and she uses his pest control chap.
                Met up with him and he was great, knew his stuff and and went about his business.
                It’s taken a year to get on top of them and he used several different types of poison set up in boxes.
                We now have just one box and he visits every 6 weeks to check it’s contents.
                When he first appeared we chatted about seeing them in broad daylight which indicated a large number with many entrance points under fences.
                He did say this would be an on going problem so it looks like it’s a permanent setup.
                 
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                • Sally Parker

                  Sally Parker Gardener

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                  I shared a very sad post tonight on FB of a beautiful Barn Owl who was slowly dying due to consuming a rodent which had been poisoned. :sad: Please remember, when you poison 'vermin', you are very likely to also poison whichever animal eats that unfortunate creature.
                   
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                  • pete

                    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                    I've seen a couple of rats around here on a few occasions.
                    Both at separate times I've found dead.

                    Mostly killed, I'm guessing, by the massive local cat population.;)

                    Trouble is they kill the birds as well, although, some dead birds I put down to cats, are it appears, due to sparrow hawks.
                     
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                    • Scrungee

                      Scrungee Well known for it

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                      Which is why I only use traps under cover and avoid poison at my edge of village plot.

                      But the amount of nutty neighbours wanting to feed birds with stale half baguettes or chicken carcasses [1] that get picked up by birds and dropped all over neighbouring gardens is getting ridiculous.


                      [1] And those chicken bones that get dropped in neighbouring gardens are really dangerous if eaten by pet dogs .
                       
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                        Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
                      • CanadianLori

                        CanadianLori Ever Hopeful Canuck

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                        I use traps. I also have shot a couple but usually they are too fast for me to get my aim. I use the traditional snap traps and bait with peanut butter.. the smooth kind :)

                        I got another one some time in the night. I'll trap for about 5 days and about that time, they are much younger and not interested so I take a short 3 or 4 day break and start again. Seems like a nasty game of whackamole!

                        One of my friends thinks I'm a cross between tugboat Annie and Ma Kettle... :)
                         
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                        • pete

                          pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                          Tug boat Annie, I thought you reminded me of someone:scratch:;):snorky:
                           
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                          • martin-f

                            martin-f Plant Hardiness Zone 8b

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                            Its the best way to deal with them IMHO you can see what your shooting nothing else gets poisoned and its instant death if you know how to shoot, you can pick a gun up for around £60/80 you need one with good power to do the job.
                             
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                            • CanadianLori

                              CanadianLori Ever Hopeful Canuck

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                              Anything over 300mps will do the job. Mine's a little stronger. I use a 3x4 postit note with a target drawn on it to practice. I'm only about 20ft from it though so I guess that's cheating.. :)
                               
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                              • shiney

                                shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                                That's not very practical in an urban situation but in a rural situation it works OK if you can see them and they're in range.
                                 
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