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Rats...
Sun 19-Sep-10
8:47 am
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angiemay
London/Suffolk

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Having previously foiled the rats by nailing chicken wire to the underside of our compost bins, it now appears that they've moved in to the fruit patch...  I've just been weeding around the fruit bushes and have come across an alarming network of holes that run under the soil.  I knew there was an attempt made to move into the raised bed that contains the strawberries & thought I'd dealt with that, but these new holes & tunnels are effectively in open ground (albeit contained within the fruit cage, which is 7mx3.5m).  

We live neighbouring open farmland, and so accept that vermin is an occupational hazard - but what can you do when they just move into your garden??  I don't want to put poison down as it's in prime fruit-growing territory.  Haven't actually seen any of the blighters but given the number of tunnels I'v found, I'm assuming there are quite a few of them.  

Anyone have a similar problem and/or any ideas as to how to evict them successfully??  Unfortunately a cat isn't an option!!  

 

Tx!

Sun 19-Sep-10
12:01 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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That sounds like a big problem, could you get information from your council rat catchers?

I'll try that again!

Sun 19-Sep-10
12:40 pm
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elrohana
North West Leeds, UK

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I'm afraid my answer would have been the cat option - one of my 2 neutered toms is superb ratter, every time they move into the garden, he nails them for me.  No idea what else to suggest - borrowing a Jack Russell maybe?

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.

Sun 19-Sep-10
3:22 pm
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angiemay
London/Suffolk

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One neighbour has four cats, three of which consider my garden to be theirs, but I only get the downside (I have to net my vegetable beds to stop them from turning them into a litter tray, and if I leave any plastic bags with manure or grass cuttings etc accessible, they spray them! frown).  

Thanks Toffeeapple - I will check out the council to see if they can help - though being so rural I'm figuring I won't be a priority...?   Also, we have two neighbours with chicken (the two that don't have the cats!), so I think it's a case of managing rather than ever truly getting rid of them.  

And I was so smug last year when I saw that they'd tried to dig into our (newly reinforced) compost bins but failed...  dalek  Oh for a dalek or two...!

Sun 19-Sep-10
4:46 pm
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seth
lincolnshire fens

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How big are the holes ? Given the situation it could be voles.Are there heaps of excavated  soil ? (Rats).Littlle grassy nests ? (Voles) Rat runs tend to be smooth and shiney,they drag their greasy underparts as they move. Tunnel traps will work but you have to remove bodies ,cage traps ditto but you have to kill them first. Can't think that the council will come up with anything but poison.Why are you so opposed to poison it's widely used in and around food stores and livestock? Hope this helps Seth (retired gamekeeper.wave

Seed catalogues are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than the web and playboy combined . (after Michael Perry)

Sun 19-Sep-10
5:17 pm
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seth
lincolnshire fens

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TA and Danast reel back in shock, Seth being serious devilrunawayrunaway

Seed catalogues are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than the web and playboy combined . (after Michael Perry)

Sun 19-Sep-10
5:26 pm
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danast
Argyll, Scotland

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wave And very helpful too.   big_laugh    welldone     Bet it doesn't last - you being serious I mean.

Old teachers never die, they just lose their class

Sun 19-Sep-10
6:27 pm
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angiemay
London/Suffolk

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Thanks Seth.  There were a few piles of soil by the raised strawberry bed, which is what alerted me a month or so ago.  I put down poison but it wasn't touched, so I thought they'd moved on.  Then I discovered the tunneling system and now I'm not sure if that's old or new (hadn't weeded/picked any currants for a while!).  

I'm happy to put poison down where I don't think it could run into the soil, but from past experience, the rats seem to haul the receptacle with its poison to where they wish to dine and so I don't want the poison to leech into the soil where the fruit grows.  I'm also reading that rats don't like anything new and might not take the poison, which might be why the last lot was ignored.  

We have always had a constant battle with rats - two summers ago I saw three in the garden (coveting the bird feeder) and also have seen rat poo in the compost bin.  This year I've only seen holes - they crop up in various parts of the garden.  I've put a halt to bird seed for the past month, but I have a couple of apple trees with a lot of windfall that's impossible to clear away every day (it's very windy in Suffolk!).  But that will also provide an indication of who's munching: mice tend to hollow-out an entire apple (as if preparing it for stuffing!) while the rats just gnaw randomly...  

My council ceased providing pest control earlier this year, according to their website...

Any recommendation on the poison front?  Current stuff is the pink-coated wheat variety.  

Thanks!

Sun 19-Sep-10
6:48 pm
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seth
lincolnshire fens

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If I can get it I use 'Tomcat' it comes in blue blocks with a hole thru' them so you can wire or skewer it down.You'll need to find an agricultural merchant to get it if not get neosorexa in throw down bags which you can push down the tunnels. Both are cumulative so make sure they have a costant supply for at least 2weeks,you should see blue poo's ! Forgot to say earlier if you trap you must <by law>check them at least every 24hrs.wave[Image Can Not Be Found]

Seed catalogues are responsible for more unfulfilled fantasies than the web and playboy combined . (after Michael Perry)

Sun 19-Sep-10
6:48 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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seth said:

TA and Danast reel back in shock, Seth being serious devilrunawayrunaway


eeek  Someone has taken on Seth's persona!  

Angie, I do hope that you find a solution.

I'll try that again!

Sun 19-Sep-10
8:58 pm
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johnmcc
Norfolk UK

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We had a network of rat tunnels in a flower bed close to our chickens.  We flooded the holes by running a hose into it for about 30 minutes, shot the rats we could see, and put poison down the holes carefullly where nothing else could get at it.  Cleared up that little colony, but another has sprung up on neighbour's land (and barn) near our hens.  These days I pot them with my (good) 22 air rifle when they get too cheeky, and put poison down when I find holes.  It's a containment exercise - unless we have joint action with all the neighbours (unlikely) we're never going to totally get rid of them.

What's wrong with the politics of envy, anyway?

Mon 20-Sep-10
6:07 am
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JoannaS
Latvia

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At least you only have rats, we have wild boar and yesterday I went to photograph the areas where they have been rooting on our 12.5 ha (33 acres), well 9ha if you take out the forest. They have been having a whale of a time and there are patches all over the place. We should be grateful I suppose that only one hole is deep and that was already deep anyway, steam but I do have 20 pictures of rooting activity of which 11 cover at least an area 3m square. I think that was one nights work too eeek

Mon 20-Sep-10
12:22 pm
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johnmcc
Norfolk UK

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Hmmm . . . good eating on a wild boar . . .

What's wrong with the politics of envy, anyway?

Mon 20-Sep-10
7:52 pm
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JoannaS
Latvia

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I would love to if the laws were not so prohibitive here. You wouldn't believe what schemes we and our friends have been dreaming up to trap the blighters and dispatch them. Not sure how legal any of our ideas are so far.i_am_hungry

Tue 21-Sep-10
10:18 am
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angiemay
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We get a lot of deer & muntjac in our area, but so far only the daffs & croci have fallen victim. Also have a visiting hare, who every year nibbles here & there in the veggie patch & leaves his calling card on the lawn... Kind of sweet (and much better than rabbits!).

Thanks for all your ideas for the rats: I've always fancied an air rifle, and this may help me persuade my other half that I need one!   I like the idea of flooding the blighters out and then taking aim...

I suspect it's a constant game of getting them to move on: I'll put poison down too.  Their reproductive abilities are what scares me the most: it will never be a case of just a couple of rats...

If any wild boar recipes appear on the recipe blog we'll know Joanna's scheming will have been successful...

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