Author Topic: Rats?  (Read 2781 times)

Digeroo

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Rats?
« on: February 26, 2022, 09:18:26 »
I planted various broadbeans and snow peas under bottle cloches but when I went to check on them the bottles are still in place but the peas and beans have gone. 
I think what is happening is that there is a mole and then the rat follows the mole along the tunnels under the bottles and then pops up and eats the peas and beans. 
I had put chili powder in there as well.
I think that the wretched beasts have now learned that a bottle means there will be a goody underneath.
Has anyone got any solutions.  I am thinking of putting a wire mesh below the bottles but then I will have to ensure that I dig them all out at the end of the year. 
I have also got some of those ultrasonic devices, they have got rid of moles in the past.

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Rats?
« on: February 26, 2022, 09:18:26 »

Beersmith

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2022, 12:24:42 »
Even plants like broad beans that will survive very harsh winter weather need reasonable temperatures to germinate.  I think the expert view is 7 degrees Celsius.  So starting them in autumn while it is still mild works as does spring sowing from March onward as the weather gets warmer. January or February sowing in a greenhouse or somewhere else with some extra warmth can get things off to a successful early start

Much depends on when you planted them.  You don't say exactly but even with the aid of bottle cloches I'd be astonished if anything direct sown in January or  February would germinate yet.  In most parts of the country it is simply too cold.  It certainly could be pests but they might have rotted or might just still be there waiting for milder weather.
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JanG

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2022, 06:15:50 »
Digeroo wrote ‘planted’ rather than ‘sowed’ so I assumed these were module grown plants. If so, it’s really frustrating and I don’t have any solution.
Rats do burrow without the help of ready made mole tunnels but are usually deterred by bottle cloches in my experience. Rat activity is pretty random so I can only suggest growing some more plants and planting them out when they’re well established and about 6” tall. Better luck second time.

Beersmith

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2022, 21:05:39 »
Digeroo wrote ‘planted’ rather than ‘sowed’ so I assumed these were module grown plants.

You make an excellent point. I think I have got this wrong.

Nevertheless it is highly puzzling.  Why would rats bother to tunnel underneath rather than gnaw at the cloche and push it over?  Rat tunnels are pretty obvious.  Could there be another explanation?  Slugs?  Getting cooked by sunshine?  Humidity causing damping off?
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JanG

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2022, 05:25:02 »
I’m still not quite sure of the picture. Did you plant out plants of a few inches high and now the plants have completely disappeared, top growth and seed, and there’s no sign of a hole anywhere?
Mice or voles are just as likely as rats, and make smaller holes

gray1720

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2022, 20:14:55 »
We have an excess of Siberian Hamsters on our plots at the mo - I saw at least 8 of the buggers this evening whilst mowing the paths.

And enough bunny huggers that the committee are going to have to be handled carefully... Me, I'm for going medieval, especially as they are under my compost heap, which will have to be moved when I get back from holiday. Grr!

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Beersmith

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2022, 16:50:40 »
We have an excess of Siberian Hamsters on our plots at the mo - I saw at least 8 of the buggers this evening whilst mowing the paths.

And enough bunny huggers that the committee are going to have to be handled carefully... Me, I'm for going medieval, especially as they are under my compost heap, which will have to be moved when I get back from holiday. Grr!

https://memegenerator.net/img/instances/67668383.jpg

You need a response on three fronts.  If there are heaps and old sheds where they can safely nest, and a regular source of food then it is difficult to get rid of them even if you can keep them under control with traps and poisons, which is tricky anyway as they are remarkably wary.  Does your site have chickens?  If so I fear Basil and all the little Basil's are going to be more or less permanent fixtures.
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gray1720

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2022, 21:22:53 »
No chickens, luckily - plenty of heaps, though, and houses close enough that it's getting harder and harder to burn rubbish without trouble from somewhere, which I'm sure leads to extra heaps. We do have outbreaks every few years, despite the excess of foxes and cats locally, which historically have been dealt with by poison.

To my startlement, it looks as though the agreed solution this time  - which appears to be supported by the no poison faction - is going to be to get *truly* medieval on Basil and his pals and get terriers in! It's certainly faster than poison, but I'm more than a bit surprised that no-one seems to have objected yet. Maybe rats truly get no sympathy from anyone? They've never got a great deal from me, least of all when they are on my plot, but given the pinkness and fluffiness of a fair few plotholders.....................................
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Beersmith

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2022, 22:46:46 »

It looks as though the agreed solution this time   get terriers in!


My word that triggered some memories of long ago.  I was just a lad of ten when my old pap had a rat catcher call to help clear his hen houses.  Would you like to watch?  The rat catcher was frightening to behold with a scar on his cheek.  He arrived with ferrets in addition to his terriers and went to work.  Everyday stuff for him but I was captivated and terrified at the same time.  Pap kept me at a safe distance but I don't think I slept for a week afterwards.

Back on topic I don't think terriers will do much without a method to flush Basil out of their runs.
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gray1720

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2022, 09:45:50 »
Oh dear...

Basil, Basil, and Basil succumbed to the Jack Russells. Given that I saw 8 while I was mowing, and if they are anything like moles that's just the tip of the iceberg, 3 is a pretty poor bag. Traps will be going out next... I'm just waiting for them to fail and poison to be resorted to to see what the objectors make.

Unfortunately I wasn't fast enough with the fork to get the one in my compost heap...
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Beersmith

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2022, 21:39:15 »
Studies have established that rats are  neophobic, and  very suspicious of  anything  new especially of  foodstuffs.   This is pretty surprising but means that  once poisons have been tasted  and accepted rats will  begin to eat them readily.  It just means it may take a long time before rats will overcome their caution and  try a nibble.   Rats are very  good at avoiding traps.   Worth trying but  no guarantee of success.
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gray1720

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2022, 08:28:15 »
It's a decent survival strategy, though. Hopefully the disturbance from the dogs, compost shifting etc will help to persuade them to foxtrot oscar...
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Vinlander

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Re: Rats?
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2022, 13:54:52 »
I must point out that rats can fight back, so they are bold and therefore often very visible, but they tend to go for bigger targets - especially food waste in compost heaps (cooked or uncooked). Foxes are their enemies in theory but in practice foxes prefer high street fried chicken-in-a-basket-of-litter (and the occasional pigeon or mouse) to killing rats - I suspect most rats killed by foxes were rivals at the same half burger in the gutter.

OTOH mice are very stealthy, you'll hardly ever see them, and for them a nice pea, bean or sweetcorn seed is a good meal.

Despite the rats in and around my plot (and no visible mice), there's a mouse-sized hole over 99% of my missing seeds.  Since they eat my food before I can grow it or get to it, I regard them as worse than rats. A crop failure caused by a mouse actually denies me much more food than what a rat (or a pigeon) can take later.

You can have both on a site and usually do, though they are supposed to avoid nesting near each other - eg. in my polytunnel I get rats or mice every year - never both.

Cheers.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

 

anything