Rats feeding on bird food! What to do?

Have made a contract with the wide range of birds in my garden to make sure food, fresh water and nesting boxes will be available every day.

unfortunately rats occasionally appear on the scene to enjoy the regular facilities.

I make sure that food is hung in difficult areas for the rats and remove at night after a good sweep up.  All our wildlife food is kept in a large metal dustbin locked away in a shed.  However Mr Rattie and family visit food area during the day and pick up bits fallen from feeders.

i love all wildlife including Rattie & friends but told by environmental health we Must report these problems and have bait boxes to get rid of them.

Any views please?



  • Ive seen the odd rat in my garden, its inevitable really. I put traps and bait boxes out and after catching and killing a few I haven't seen anymore.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,523
    LeadFarmer wrote (see)

    Ive seen the odd rat in my garden, its inevitable really. I put traps and bait boxes out and after catching and killing a few I haven't seen anymore.

    I did the same when we saw a rat in the garden three years ago.  The bait boxes did their job and we've not been troubled since, fingers crossed. image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,915

    cover the seed in the hottest chilli powder you can find, the birds wont be effected (they don't have the taste receptors for capsaicin) but the rats will find their food source inedible!

    every time its wet you'll have to re apply for maybe two weeks, then once dose a month for a couple of months and the rats (and any squirrels or foxes that eat it) will learn its a BAD idea.

  • That's a brilliant idea Treehugger! And even if the birds eat some of the chill, it really doesn't harm them?

  • We had a problem a few months ago  and the little blighters were even coming out to play in broad daylight!

    I hung a plant saucer underneath the squirrel proof feeder using cable ties and that catches any dropped food. In addition to that I added an inverted long flower pot and small washing up bowl to the pole. This stops the rats from climbing up (not the squirrels though). Also bought some Rat Repel on line and sprinkled it under the sh





    eds and we've not been  troubled since.

  • we did the same as you Lulu - attached a very large plant saucer (even bigger than yours) under the feeders but we actually sat the feeders on the saucers.  Before attaching them we cut out 2cm diam. holes and covered with mesh to allow surface water to drain and keep the seed dry.

    These days the pidgeons clear up anything left by other birds that manages to reach the ground.

  • Sounds harsh at this time of year but most "Rat" people suggest not putting any food out for a few weeks.  If there is nothing to attract the Rats, they will give up and move on.

    Has to be said tho.......if you have a constant Rat problem, you probably need to call in the local council.  If your neighbours persist in leaving food and/or general rubbish around, whatever steps you take to eliminate the problem won't really work.

    GG is right too............Rooks, Jackdaws, Starlings and Pigeons will usually clear away the detritus from the bird feeders before the Rats get a chance.  Instead of trying to keep these particular scavenging birds from your garden, let them clear up for you. 

  • I sat and watched a rat climb up the post of my bird table, haul itself over the edge, stuff itself with bird food then hang over the edge of the top, until it was only holding on by its back feet, then drop approx. 4ft to the ground.

    Resourseful or what?I couldn't help but admire Ratties determination.

    I just put out poison at regular intervals because my neighbour has chickens, where there are chickens there are rats. Local councils now charge around £25.00 per visit when all they do is put down bait.

  • Daisy22Daisy22 Posts: 15

    Well thank you fellow gardeners, lots of useful information there for me to consider.  I agree they are resourceful little creatures and quite endearing in their way.  I absolutely hate harming them but as the Pest Control Officer told me they are multiplying in such large numbers (breeding every 6 weeks) it is important that the public notify them and therefore now provide a free service to encourage reporting.


  • Who do you report to if you have rats? 

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