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At the end of the summer I was planting bulbs and decided our now redundant terracotta BBQ would look great in the spring with Narcissus. I'd been filling it with diseased leaves over the summer, planning to burn them but never getting around to it but I am so glad I hadn't. Deciding to remove these to fill with compost, a small nose and two eyes of a brown mouse poked out of the bottom under the grate to see who was removing their home! So, I decided having a mouse living in the BBQ was a much better contribution to nature, put the dried leaves back and the bulbs went into ordinary pots in the end.
Suzi, unfortunately you may have to call the environmental health people in. I used to feed the birds with black sunflower seed in those upside-down plastic bottle feeders and the starlings spread the seeds far and wide. I watched a couple of rats feed and collect seeds (I keep fancy rats so I was enchanted - at first) But then they brought their mates and relatives in to feast on the bounty and I had to give in and get The Rat Man in. It was awful, but there really wasn't an alternative. It turned out that next door's shed was FULL of black sunflower seeds. It was costing me a fortune! I hope you don't have to resort to the Rat Man. Good luck, Greta
Reply to Teresa. If rats are taking the bird food, it may be that you are putting out too much. There was a time when bird food was only put out in winter, or even just when snow was on the ground. Birds are very good at finding their own natural food. Try a break in your artificial feeding. This will discourage the rats and at the same time you can see whether there is a real down turn in bird visitors to your garden. Alternatively just use small feeders that hang from strings... although the spillage from these will still feed the rats.
Reply to Greta - Thanks for your concern. There are too many cats in my garden. I've never seen a rat out there although mice are regular 'prizes' in the kitchen first thing in the morning.


Rats decided to take up home in my compost bins in December and I had to call in the rat catcher to put down poison. I am going to buy a compost tumbler this year and get rid of the bins.
Hi, living in the countryside field rats are the norm. I took the lid off one of the composters last week to see three baby rates munching thru a rotten bunch of grapes. Doesn't personally bother me too much as I have a terrier and she certainly keeps numbers down. Don't think I would like to have a picnic with them though!
Hi there, Last winter one of the panes in my greenhouse got broken and unfortunately I neglected to replace it promptly. When I got round to repairing it I found a young female brown rat had taken up residency in an old plant pot, luckily there was no sign of little ones and though I was tempted to try to get her to remain around common sense prevailed and I let her go.
Why are people always trying killing rats? Three years ago I had one make a home for the winter in my shed and ate all my flower seeds (my own fault for leaving them in there on the shelf) but where he had made a hole in the floor I put a metal plate down to stop him. Next winter he made a hole two inches past the metal plate little git lol so I made it bigger this year. So this year he made a nest in my compost bin i hope he enjoyed the veg I put in there but come the spring he goes back to where he came from so good luck to him and I hope to see him in the winter all wildlife needs somewere to live.
I have tried and fail to stop the rats digging holes from the garden next door, This has being happening for nearly 25 months and still the rats dig holes from the garden next door, Now I have 27 rat holes along the full length of the garden. Now I fear my children will catch a disease while they play unknowingly in the urine trials of these rats. The problem is that a person still feeds the birds regardless of all the other neighbors suffering
Reply to Ulrome: Unfortunately, you may have to call in the local public health people unless you can discuss this reasonably with your neighbour. In towns and cities, rats are almost everywhere, so there is no use panicking if you just see one. But if you have a severe infestation locally, and 27 rat holes does sound serious to me, you should at least seek proper help and advice. You imply that your neighbour does not care about the consequences of leaving out food for the birds. The local authorities, acting as an independent body, may have a policy which can include them in the warning/eradication programme, rather than alienating them by merely levelling accusations at them.
I have a thick black plastic compost bin in my allotment. I stood it on chicken wire to prevent rats getting in that way but they have eaten a huge round hole through the plastic about 30cm up the side. Should I get rid of them or just live with it as the allotments are not particularly close to any houses?
I have been trying to make my backyard a place for birds... But I have a problem with rats getting in my feeder.I have done everything I can think of to keep them out...Does anyone know a way to keep them out? I have moved the feeders from the trees to poles and they still are getting into them. We have put out poison. But I don’t like doing that cause some times the birds will find it and I dont like that...So know I am trying to find away to keeping them out and feed the birds...Can someone help me?
I now only keep 1 bird feeder and bring it inside in the evening so the tree rats can't feed. The vaseline works but you have to remember to reapply quite often.
I feed birds,squirrels,and a fox,but now I have a rat that appears in the garden.What do I do?I don't wan't to stop feeding the wild-life,so any answers,please


Reply to Masdip. The rat is just taking advantage of the food surplus. You could stop feeding for a while, in the hope that the rat goes away. The trouble is that rats are very clever, very quick breeders and very resilient. Even putting up dangling bird feeders will result in spills on the ground and the rat will still get its food.
Rats, like most wildlife , are everywhere. Just because you dont see them doesnt mean they dont exist. Get over it, they are just as valuable to the ecosystem as any other wildlife. They spread no more or less disease etc than anyhting else. Rats like to tour, they wander the neighbourhood and may show up once a week or more in your garden, sniffing around, eating what they can and move on...they, like most wildlife are scavengers. Dont leave food laying around and they should just keep moving. So they dig a hole now and again! try and live with wildlife if you can. seeing it doesnt mean you have problems with it. However if it's moved in to your sheds or bins, then just clean them out now and again. As for hygiene for kids, adults etc playing in the garden...they can catch a million and one things...just make sure you all carry out regular handwashing and basic hygiene. Stop trying to change wildlife, and just enjoy it. Their time on this planet is limited, just like ours.
I've been feeding the birds in our garden since we arrived at our house some 5 years ago. Summer 2007 heralded our first sighting of three brown rats who were trying to persuade me that they were birds clinging from my birdfeeders. I really don't want to stop feeding the birds, but would appreciate any helpful suggestions in how to get rid of them - apart from by using poison, as we border an 80-acre field with a great selection of wildlife habitat. Many thanks in advance.

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