There are rats living under the chicken shed. We’ve decided we need to tackle the problem on several fronts.
[li]We already store grain and pellets in ratproof containers - always have. They are only getting their food from the feeder. We thought hanging the feeder from the roof by a string would keep rodents out. There are not enough rat-gaffaws in the world to explain how naive and mistaken that was.[/li][li]My father is, as we speak, building a treadle chicken feeder that should help cut down their major food source (bonus! it will keep the sparrows out too!). [/li][li]I have located the rat hole, and am toying with the idea of shovelling used kitty litter down it before filling it in. That should stink up the place a bit and provide them an incentive to move on.[/li][li]The final front that I’m a bit stuck on is killing the rats. I feel it’s going to be necessary to try to decimate their population in addition to removing the food source and making their home smell like Eau de Feline. I’d like to kill them as humanely as possible.[/li]
I don’t want to risk a dying rat staggering into an area where a chicken or a dog could eat the carcass and subsequently be poisoned, so I’ve been looking for other options.
I think the colony is beyond control with rat traps. Perhaps once we’ve got it under control again we can use rat traps to keep it that way, but I think there are a lot of rats under that chook shed. Electrocution traps have the same problem of only being able to kill once a night, with the added drawbacks of being expensive and (I hear) fairly short lived. I’ve been told by a couple of people that they work well, but only for a few months and then they just stop working.
So, what say the Dope? Any brilliant ideas on how to wipe out our unwanted, dirty, smelly, expensive-to-feed, uninvited guests? The rats, not the kids.