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Bird feeder in quarantine. How long?

Three times in the last week, and in broad daylight, I have seen a rat rummaging below the bird feeders. I have now dismantled the feeding station and stored it in the garage. How long, do you think, ought I to deprive birds of their feed for the rat to forget the association between our garden and a soft life? Thanks.
Rutland, England
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  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,151
    Hi Ben, I waited at least a fortnight till I stopped seeing the rats nose about underneath and then put the feeders back up. Fingers crossed, I haven't yet seen the rat around.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,736
    In this garden it would be just as long as it takes for the rat to find the bait box I would put out, and for its contents to take effect.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.





  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,151
    We must have a different breed of rats down here Dove, I've three bait boxes down and they have ignored them all for months. Full up with bird feed presumably so obviously not hungry enough!
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    I should think the birds would be fine in your garden, Ben, with all the insect life available during the summer in your large garden.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,736
    @Lizzie27
    in that case I’d get the rat man/woman in … they can use baits that we’re not allowed to, but which are more attractive to rats. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.





  • BenCotto said:
    Three times in the last week, and in broad daylight, I have seen a rat rummaging below the bird feeders. I have now dismantled the feeding station and stored it in the garage. How long, do you think, ought I to deprive birds of their feed for the rat to forget the association between our garden and a soft life? Thanks.
    Rats out in daylight normally means you have quite a few nearby...unfortunately.
    See if you can find the hole. Rats are creatures of habit and occasionally just filling in the hole can dissuade. Sometimes. I don't like putting bait boxes out as it also targets mice which I can happily tolerate but last year I reluctantly did and it got rid of the rats - it also killed a number of mice which I was unhappy about.
    The other option you may want to consider is buying an air rifle and shooting the buggers! 
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,266
    edited June 2021
    I would have thought rats, if in semi-abundance, would be active at night but I have only picked them up once on the CCTV system. 

    Our two cats are pretty useless mousers, and would probably be through the cat flap faster than you could say woosies, if they saw a rat but I do not believe that part of the garden is rodent rich though in the wild, distant shores it is another matter.

    Also I am very reluctant to using poisons or traps. I don’t like killing wild life and even step carefully on damp evenings so as not to tread on slugs and snails on the path. In short, I’ll just hope that the rat(s) disperse through boredom. As Fire says, there’s plenty of natural bird food around at the moment, and ample feeders in neighbouring gardens, so I think I must just put the sunflower heart dividend towards a better use. Strong drink and loose women come to mind.
    Rutland, England
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,151
    I might very well do that Dove, when it next appears, although I have used the bait recommended by Lyn which I understood to be very good.


    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    Get a terrier.......or feed you cats less 😆
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,151
    Sorry @Mary370, we don't like dogs (heresy I know!) and we don't have a cat any more. There are plenty of neighbouring cats however.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
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