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I am considering buying a polytunnel.I live in the countryside and have quite a big back garden so space is not a problem,however I have just learnt that polytunnels become a magnet for rats in the winter time.If this were the case I dont think I would bother.Any advice would be greatly appreciated as they are quite expensive and I dont want to take a chance on purchasing one and then find I have a big problem every winter time.
People do have polytunnels and have great success with them. Friend of mine lets her field out and it has a polytunnel. No issue with rats
However, if unsure, what about a greenhouse?
Sure you will get plenty of advice on here
We live in the country too and have had hens, which are a real rat magnet. However the poly tunnels have had many pests but never a single live rat. We did have a cat who used to leave evidence of his hunting prowess on the path in there.
Go for it.
My mum has three polytunnels but has never had rats.
A polytunnel will mean that you can grow a wider range of foods and extend the cropping season. if you have the space, go for it.
Berghill, how do you deal with the rats? I'd like to keep chickens, and the farmer at the back is none too good at sorting them out, he throws all sorts on his muck heap, I found a young dead rat in the garden a couple of weeks ago, pretty sure that's where it had come from. I've checked and there's no byelaws or anything in the deeds to stop me keeping chickens. Obviously I'd need to deal with any rats, and would prefer not to use poison, as I have kids and a dog that eats anything and everything. OH can't stand cats (I've heard that some rats can be too big for cats to deal with effectively, too).
Putting feed in the same spot several times a day will attract all sorts of things to that spot. I have a dozen places I put bird food and the birds always check out those places plus the deep shade under the hedge. If you put food somewhere appropriate like a gently sloping area partway up an earth mound at one end of the polytunnel, you'll find that all sorts of wildlife is drawn to it. You can then set up cameras for close-ups of songbirds feeding or, if you do find you have a rat problem, set yourself up in a comfortable spot with a good view of it and wait. Rats are not bulletproof, but a three-foot mound of soil (no rocks!) or sand is. .177 will take out a rat. 5.56x45mm will stop in an adequate earth mound. Use whichever you prefer. I'd recommend ear protection for the 5.56mm.
My cat used to kill and bring home rats that were equally as big, if not bigger, than she was. Amazing. However, you certainy don't want them around your place - would you keep a small dog? A Jack Russel will sort them out in double quick time!! You can use poisoned bait, as long as you follow the instructions carefully and keep the dog and especially the children, away from it - some come in a sealed container which then you throw away, body and all. Worth talking to your local counil, they should have 'rat catchers' and may be able to help.
You don't even need to own a Jack Russell. Borrow one. They enjoy the exercise.
In built instinct. they can't help themselves. If it squeaks they will kill it.
Enough of rats! Bob Flowerdew's advice to this question on GQT some time ago was that to succeed you must have very good ventilation as the propensity (technical term) to get mildews and moulds etc in the warm humid atmosphere is high. This is what defeats most polytunnel users when they first start.
Thanks for all of the advice re rats. I currently have a large dog, but he's getting on and can't be bothered. He's also going deaf, as he doesn't always hear the door, and when I answer it, barks a LOT to let folks know he's in and to cover his embarassment!
A Jack Russell flavour bogwoppit it is then.