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LisaW-B
Oct. 21, 2009, 11:28 PM
Now that I have your attention, this actually is the wierdest thing I've ever heard of. I have a friend who recently moved to southern CA, and her boarding stable has a very bad rat infestation problem, as do all the other barns in the area. Apparently, it's not uncommon for these rats to be in the pens with the horses, nibbling away on whatever rats nibble on, AND -- here's the bizarre part -- to be nibbling ever so slightly on the back of the horse's hooves, at the heel bulbs... :eek: ...not enough to hurt the horse or cause any real damage, but enough to leave behind tiny little nibble marks. Eeeeeeeew. I guess some people put bell boots on all fours to block the nibblers. My friend is, not surprisingly, grossed out! ANY ideas out there about what you could put on a horse's feet and heels to deter rats from, ummmm, eating them??? No, this is not a pre-Halloween joke, although one of my first thoughts was that my friend's new farrier, who pointed this out to her, was playing a practical joke on the newcomer! But, apparently the rodentia issue is extreme out there. Any ideas??

LexInVA
Oct. 21, 2009, 11:32 PM
Not sure how to deal with rats. They can be a bit more of a problem than their upper crust cousins, the mice. You don't want to use poison because it travels up and down the food chain. Using cats might do a little damage but it could also result in more problems. You could find something that repels them perhaps but I don't know of anything that would. Rats, much like annoying relatives, will hang around whenever and wherever they want.

goeslikestink
Oct. 21, 2009, 11:36 PM
her b/o need to address the rat problem as its a health issue not only to horse but to humans
she need reporting to the authorites if she not going to do anything to solve the issues aand as for rent - as baord monies if she dear she really needs to look at what she getting

as a horse that could have an injury could die from a deacsed rabbies rat and so could you or your mate
all yards have one or two, norammly have a few cats to help keep them down
or none at all
rats eat anything from fleash to corn

Invite
Oct. 21, 2009, 11:59 PM
As a huge fan of the TV show "Verminators" I realize that rat infestation is a huge problem. The carry and spread disease. It is not healthy. Even rat droppings will dry up and become airborne particles filled with disease. The barn owner really needs to get an extermination company to come in and set up liquid poison and feeding stations with poison. This is unhealthy for both horses and humans. Maybe the barn could hire the company on "Verminators" and get free rat removal!!!

I am not a total freak, I have just been in bed a lot since my accident, so I watch odd things on TV ;)

ex-racer owner
Oct. 22, 2009, 12:07 AM
This might sound weird, but the BO could try "borrowing" a few guinea pigs for a while. I know of one place, in Florida, that the BO's kids had their pet guinea pigs staying at the barn and for whatever reason, all smaller rodents left. Like, no one saw mice or rats anymore. Now, I don't know how bad the OP's rat problem really is, but it wouldn't hurt to research this and see if there is some science behind it. I don't know if the rat problem is bad enough that they could "overtake" the guinea pigs and hurt/kill them, which I certainly wouldn't want to happen, but has anyone else ever heard anything like my guinea pig story?

LisaW-B
Oct. 22, 2009, 12:12 AM
Thanks for the ideas. She's only been at the barn for about a month and a half. Apparently they really do have the feed room and hay storage on anti-rodent lockdown as much as possible, and strictly enforce rules about not keeping horse treats/cookies in your tack lockers, or even leaving them lying around while you're at the barn. You'd think she kept her horse in some kind of ghetto, but it's a gorgeous coastal area and a lovely barn! I don't know what else, if anything, the management does about the rat problem, but I'll share all of the thoughts that you guys come up with with my friend! Guinea pigs, huh? I'll search on "Verminators" too!

DebbieB
Oct. 22, 2009, 01:49 AM
Jack Russells, Rat Terriers, or any little hyper predatory dog will help, as will a 410 gauge shotgun employed by a competent shooter. I realize the gun may be harder to use in less "rural" areas. And don't let the horses stomp the dogs.
Eliminating hiding places is a big help.
No. 1 leg hold traps placed in the rat run areas are pretty good. You have to get creative after the first few rats and keep changing locations because the rest of them get skittish.

Rubyfree
Oct. 22, 2009, 02:05 AM
I second the recommendation for a serious vermin dog. In CA, I suspect you may even be able to contact a Jack Russell club or association and inquire after dogs who are trained to prey and who may be available for hire- could be way off base there but it'd be worth a shot. Once they have been harrassed sufficiently, the general population should move off for a while at least.
Or find a spare black snake.... do you guys have black snakes out there?
I worked at a barn that had serious rat issues- just one of it's many charms. This place was a sinking ship in many literal and figurative ways. They are hard to get shed of once they have made a home.
Good luck.

Roan
Oct. 22, 2009, 02:48 AM
California? Hrm, what you are describing is how vampire bats feed. I've not heard of vampires in CA, but I should think it might be possible.

They lick the bulbs of the heels -- usually cattle -- and the saliva in their mouths acts as a aesthetic. Then they nip a little and lick the blood that pools to the surface of the wound. The animal never feels a thing and just stands there. Saw a video of it once. Pretty neat.

I can't see how any animal would just stand and be bitten/nibbled on unless they couldn't feel it. That's why I thought bats.

No idea. . . just saying.

Eileen

tBHj
Oct. 22, 2009, 03:00 AM
Ick. Get rat dogs for sure.

Miss Motivation
Oct. 22, 2009, 03:03 AM
This happened at our barn when we were first here... I couldn't believe it was true! Why would the horses let the nasty nasty rats chew on them? We keep our place nice but this was residual from years of deferred maintenance by previous owner, and also being in an open area of small farms absolutely ringed by high density development. We've had a number of bizarre animal issues.

We got very aggressive about rodent control with bait and traps and keep on it with weekly visits from the service. Actually had the real Verminator TV guy come out here and he said this is a quite common problem (rat nibbles) and they had huge issues with it at Santa Anita and had to do a very extensive cleanout.

kookicat
Oct. 22, 2009, 06:34 AM
Another vote for good rat dogs. My terriers keep me rat free.

MistyBlue
Oct. 22, 2009, 09:20 AM
I saw a demonstration of a professional/competitive rat terrier on TV once.
They actually held a competition for them by using a huge old barn in the country and filling it with loose grain. They waited one month for the rats to fill up the barn, then when you opened the door to the barn there were rats everywhere. Thousands of them.
They'd then set a dog at a time loose in the barn for a specific time limit of 5 minutes I think it was. Then count kills.
The winning dog owned by an exterminator (this was in England) killed 452 rats in 5 minutes...about 1.5 rats per second. :eek: Seriously...I was slack jawed watching it.
The guy who owned that dog had a business where he travelled to farm with his dogs and set them loose with the command to get rats, the dogs would immediately run everywhere ferreting out rats and killing them. On grain farms and in horse barns they could decimate 80-90% of the rat population in a couple hours.
So I would assume a good one or two working rat terriers would do an ample job keeping rats down in a barn. As long as the dogs were trained to do so and not treated as obese purse-pets. Or at least call around to see if anyone has working rat dogs for rent.

goeslikestink
Oct. 22, 2009, 09:36 AM
go the humane society and get some feral cats that are nutured and keep them in the feed stor for a week or two in a huge crate which is a see through cage can pick them up for about 100 quid in uk so double it , where you are, feed them in there then open the cage in tack room so they know where they live and they will come to there for there food which all you have to do i provide a few bickys and water - and let them do there job they earn there keep by eating the rats - they will go then

WaningMoon
Oct. 22, 2009, 09:56 AM
I called the # on the DCon box and spoke with who they said was their vet. Anyway, the person did very well to convince me that dcon will not hurt any of hte other animals if they come in contact with or eat a rat/mouse killed by it. The warfarin is not present in an amount that will hurt them and is also metabolized quickly, so it not present after the vermin ingest it. Whether true or not, I have successfully used it for yrs in both cow and horse barns. I have never had any problem at all with it. I am speaking of the warfarin based ones. Things like BarBait will do more harm, it sure did in my peafowl when the landlord put in down.

If you do not want to use poison, then how about the trick they played on them during WW2 era. A mexican town not to long ago did it too. They take a big barrel, they put corn or some other feed the rats will like well on top the barrel. They do that for four or five days while the rats get used to that being a feeding place and then replace the barrel top with a thin parchment paper scattered with feed. The rats all go as usual to feed but fall through the paper and drown. Whole towns have cleared their rats this way. It's an idea, not so sure what you do with all the dead rats. Bury them I guess.

SarEQ
Oct. 22, 2009, 10:19 AM
I vote for jack russells! Where I took lessons as a kid they had four ancient jack russells... and no rats to be found. Forty plus horses, with kids feeding treats, spilling feed, and keeping lunch around and no rats.

The barn I managed last year had the best cat. He'd line his victims up for me every morning. On the coldest days he'd have four or five rats a day... I think he was also catching them outside, as I saw no evidence of rats in the barn. He was a great cat, never bothered the chicks or rabbits, and would catch any sort of rodents. The only yuck part was he'd eat the whole thing, crunching the whole time... :no: Ick! He'd bring them to me when I was riding as well, just to get his praise.

I love jack russells, and I hadn't realized that there were services that hired out dogs to 'de-rat' barns. Maybe that should be my excuse to have lots of jack russells... although I also love blue heelers.

hessy35
Oct. 22, 2009, 10:27 AM
Now that I have your attention, this actually is the wierdest thing I've ever heard of. I have a friend who recently moved to southern CA, and her boarding stable has a very bad rat infestation problem, as do all the other barns in the area. Apparently, it's not uncommon for these rats to be in the pens with the horses, nibbling away on whatever rats nibble on, AND -- here's the bizarre part -- to be nibbling ever so slightly on the back of the horse's hooves, at the heel bulbs... :eek: ...not enough to hurt the horse or cause any real damage, but enough to leave behind tiny little nibble marks. Eeeeeeeew. I guess some people put bell boots on all fours to block the nibblers. My friend is, not surprisingly, grossed out! ANY ideas out there about what you could put on a horse's feet and heels to deter rats from, ummmm, eating them??? No, this is not a pre-Halloween joke, although one of my first thoughts was that my friend's new farrier, who pointed this out to her, was playing a practical joke on the newcomer! But, apparently the rodentia issue is extreme out there. Any ideas??

Are you sure it's the rats that are doing this? Sounds like bats to me! They are known for sucking the blood from live stock in areas that you mention. Vampire bats that is. Huge problem!!

AppJumpr08
Oct. 22, 2009, 10:29 AM
Another vote for a rat dog or two!

Sort of on topic, rats actually eat lots of things... I used to work at a pet store and the rats got wet cat food, scraps of chicken, and even a dead goldfish on occasion in addition to their "normal" rodent food. They loved all of their meat treats :yes:

hessy35
Oct. 22, 2009, 10:29 AM
California? Hrm, what you are describing is how vampire bats feed. I've not heard of vampires in CA, but I should think it might be possible.

They lick the bulbs of the heels -- usually cattle -- and the saliva in their mouths acts as a aesthetic. Then they nip a little and lick the blood that pools to the surface of the wound. The animal never feels a thing and just stands there. Saw a video of it once. Pretty neat.

I can't see how any animal would just stand and be bitten/nibbled on unless they couldn't feel it. That's why I thought bats.

No idea. . . just saying.

Eileen

Vampire bats are all over the Americas. Very possible! Happy Halloween! (seriously though they are real).

Tiki
Oct. 22, 2009, 10:34 AM
Get some Jacks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjNdwha_ct0)!

Laurierace
Oct. 22, 2009, 10:35 AM
This used to happen at Pimlico all the time. They also ate their tails. Cats do not help and dogs were not allowed on the backside. They did put out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of poison to no avail. Rat dogs ala jack russels would be my choice.

Invite
Oct. 22, 2009, 10:45 AM
This happened at our barn when we were first here... I couldn't believe it was true! Why would the horses let the nasty nasty rats chew on them? We keep our place nice but this was residual from years of deferred maintenance by previous owner, and also being in an open area of small farms absolutely ringed by high density development. We've had a number of bizarre animal issues.

We got very aggressive about rodent control with bait and traps and keep on it with weekly visits from the service. Actually had the real Verminator TV guy come out here and he said this is a quite common problem (rat nibbles) and they had huge issues with it at Santa Anita and had to do a very extensive cleanout.

I can't believe you had the Verminator TV guy!!!! I am or actually was horribly afraid of rodents, but by watching Verminators, my fear has turned to hatred. I love that show. Rodents are just so dangerous as far as diseases are concerned. Truthfully, I would not want my dog killing one of those giant cat sized rats, as I would be afraid the dog would get sick!!!

If you get a Terrier or 2 or some cats (not so sure that cats can take on big, well fed rats) you have to make a commitment to those animals. Rats are sneaky buggers and can often get into places where dogs and cats cannot kill them!

If it were my farm, I would have a Verminator-esque firm come out and clear out the rat population. Once the farm was rat free, I would get a couple terriers and/or barn cats to prevent the population of rats and mice from building back up.

LisaW-B
Oct. 22, 2009, 11:33 AM
She's merely a boarder, so let's assume that she can't unleash hoards of JRTs, guinea pigs, etc. on the property. If she put out rat bait around her horse's stall, there's no chance her horse would eat it, is there? I think she'd like to know what she can do for her own horse, assuming that the ranch management knows what they're doing? She can definitely suggest other measures, but I would guess that the barn owners, and other boarders, would have brought this stuff up before. But, maybe not! And it's definitely rats, not bats.

Is there anything you can paint on a horse's hooves that would keep critters from chewing on them? We were brainstorming and wondering if pine tar would deter them.

And, omg, if they start going for her QH's TAIL, she just might camp out there with a shotgun and go postal all over the rat population, LOL!!

Roan
Oct. 22, 2009, 12:46 PM
Are you sure it's the rats that are doing this? Sounds like bats to me! They are known for sucking the blood from live stock in areas that you mention. Vampire bats that is. Huge problem!!

Exactly. Rats don't feed like that, bats do. A horse would *not* stand still and let a rat gnaw on its feet.

I find it amusing that my post is being ignored for the most part :)

Eileen

Roan
Oct. 22, 2009, 12:48 PM
. . . And it's definitely rats, not bats.. .

How do you KNOW they are rats? Did you actually see them chewing on her feet?

How can you tell me that a horse will stand still for something like this? A sick horse, yah. A cast horse, yah. A perfectly healthy horse? I don't think so.

Eileen

Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQxFi0oGZl4&feature=player_profilepage

Pat Ness
Oct. 22, 2009, 12:53 PM
I ended up with a bad enough rat problem that they were eating large sections out of my pet Hampshire pig. I could not figure out what was going on, even called in the vet. He thought that Oliver was rubbing himself somewhere, but we could not find it. I asked him if rats would do it, he did not think so. Well - I saw them myself actually chewing on the poor guy.
I immediately got poison - hated too but the cats and dogs could not take care of the problem. Once they started dying the rest left to who knows where.
It was awful - both my poor pig and killing the rats with poison.

LisaW-B
Oct. 22, 2009, 01:02 PM
Roan, I'm not there -- this is a friend of mine who moved out of state who asked me if I'd heard of this and had any ideas on what she can do. I do believe her, her new barn owner and her farrier when she tells me they have a huge problem with the rat (not blood-sucking vampire bat!) population. They have a lot of strict barn rules about feed and hay storage, treats, and not leaving antyhing lying around the barn. It did strike me as the wierdest thing I may have heard of with horses, but apparently it's going on. I doubt they're seriously gnawing on hooves or leaving bloody marks. She and her farrier were describing little marks all over the backs of the heels, left by the rats when they come in the horses's stalls. I agree that it's wierd, but that's why I figured this was a question for the collective wisdom of COTH.

Roan
Oct. 22, 2009, 01:11 PM
Roan, I'm not there -- this is a friend of mine who moved out of state who asked me if I'd heard of this and had any ideas on what she can do. I do believe her, her new barn owner and her farrier when she tells me they have a huge problem with the rat (not blood-sucking vampire bat!) population. They have a lot of strict barn rules about feed and hay storage, treats, and not leaving antyhing lying around the barn. It did strike me as the wierdest thing I may have heard of with horses, but apparently it's going on. I doubt they're seriously gnawing on hooves or leaving bloody marks. She and her farrier were describing little marks all over the backs of the heels, left by the rats when they come in the horses's stalls. I agree that it's wierd, but that's why I figured this was a question for the collective wisdom of COTH.

Nod, well, all I'm getting at is to have her look into a possibility that it is bats. I'm not saying they don't have a rat problem -- they probably do -- but it can't hurt to suggest it to her.

Eileen

LisaW-B
Oct. 22, 2009, 01:16 PM
I'll mention it to her -- but I'm assuming that her barn owner and farrier, who've been there a long time, probably know what they're talking about when they say it's rats and that they do it to other horses there and throughout her area, as well.

Risk-Averse Rider
Oct. 22, 2009, 01:36 PM
Maybe you need to borrow some of Jackie's JRTs and go for a road trip!

Peggy
Oct. 22, 2009, 02:20 PM
Noticed similar marks on a horse I was riding for someone. Looked kind-of like a mild heel grab, but not quite. Everyone said it was rats and people had seen rats in the stalls when the horses were lying down at night. Not sure if anyone every caught a rat in the act. But no one ever mentioned seeing bats in the barn and there were tons of rats so maybe it was a statistical thing. This occurred with horses in stalls in a center-aisle barn, not ones out in a field if that makes any difference.

We have a large rat problem at our barn, probably beyond what a cat (or even several cats) could handle at this point. Our semi-resident roadrunner catches mice, but not rats. But no gnaw marks as of yet.

The rodent population does always seem to expand this time of year in Southern California.

I wonder if one of the chew stop type of products would work?

Would a good field biologist be able to tell the difference b/w bat and rat chew marks if you sent photos?

Mimi La Rue
Oct. 22, 2009, 03:35 PM
Eww, gross. I am glad I haven't seen a rat at my barn, only mice. I also made friends with a barn cat so he hangs out near my horses stall all day because I bring him treats and he waits for me to put him in his owners office every night so the coyotes don't get him. I don't know why she leaves him out. We have tons of coyotes and I have seen large packs of them at night walking around the stable. He is the sweetest cat and very well behaved. When I come down to the barn he is usually sleeping under my tack box or waiting in my horses stall.

LisaW-B
Oct. 22, 2009, 03:39 PM
I did tell her to move back to Arizona where it's hotter, but safer, and that the rats must be payback for getting to live close to the beach and rubbing it in to her land-locked 'zona friends. :lol: Peggy, what you're decribing and what she was telling me sounds like the same kind of ratty issue. She's boarding in San Juan Capistrano, FWIW.

RAR, this might be a better job for the beagles than the JRTs. Or maybe the beagles could track them down, then the JRTs could "close the deal." Great, now I'm imaging a SoCal hunt club with a JRT pack, and their quarry is rats. Since everything else is scaled down, they should also be riding Thelwell ponies.

Mimi La Rue
Oct. 22, 2009, 03:43 PM
What stable in SJC? That is where I board my horse and I have never seen a rat - just plenty of mice!

LisaW-B
Oct. 22, 2009, 03:48 PM
I don't know the name of the stable, sorry!

Mimi La Rue
Oct. 22, 2009, 03:50 PM
Oh ok, hmm now I am curious and will be on the look out for rats.

SuperSTB
Oct. 22, 2009, 03:54 PM
We have persistant mice but occasionally a rat will try and move in. The dogs are excellent hunters and kill them all. We've tried traps & bait to no avail. Of course cats didn't do squat either.

On a frequent basis lift the floor & stall mats- and let the dogs have at whatever they find. They also alert us to any new nest with their little "mom-look-under-here-quick!" dance. BTW I have a Golden RetrieverX and a RottieX that are my mousers- the LabShepardX could care less.

We store any grain or supps in lockable metal containers. Chicken and pet feed is also stored in containers.

Peggy
Oct. 22, 2009, 04:03 PM
The barn where I rode the rat-gnawed horse was RH Stables in Palos Verdes. Not sure if they still have the issue. Current barn is in Chino Hills.

We have learned that rats really like Succeed. They selectively ate all the Succeed out of someone's SmartPaks, leaving the rest of the supplements behind. At least we have healthy happy rats:lol:.