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Barn Rats- Uggh!

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  • Barn Rats- Uggh!

    The barn I board and ride at has extreme rat problems. We can't bait the rats, since we have a few beloved barn cats who would catch and eat the poisoned rats and in turn be poisoned themselves. The cats do catch their fair share of rats, but there simply are too many rats and not enough cats. We have a high population of coyotes in the area, so more cats for a long period of time is out of the question. (Barn owner would not want lots of cats shut in the barn 24/7- which would be the only way to keep them alive. She already has to bring the current cats inside in the late afternoon and night)

    For a while, there was a ferret who took up residency under the feed bag storage bin. We assumed he was someone's pet that had either escaped or been let loose, and we didn't see a problem with him staying. The cat's didn't bother him, and we actually were able to see a significant drop in the rodent population. The barn owner did have to pick up dead rats every morning, but she was completely fine with it. Suddenly, the ferret has disappeared and now the rats are becoming a problem again.

    So I guess the point of this post is to ask a few questions. How are you all dealing with barn rats? Is there such thing as barn ferrets (like barn cats... but ferrets)? And is there a place I can rent a dozen barn cats and shut them in the barn for a night?
    Tack Cleaning/All-Things-Tack nut
    ~DQ wanna-be~

  • #2
    Man once you figure this out, let me know. We have rats too, and it totally creeps me out hearing their little nasty feet scuttle around above the tack room, where the water heater and other electrical things are. They have even done damage to some of the electric wires.

    Sadly, the BO is such a softy that she doesn't want barn cats because they get eaten. We have electronic traps, but we haven't seen much of a dent.
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    • #3
      How about lockable bait traps that the cats can't get into?


      Ask your vet which type of bait is safest - given the possibility that a cat might contact a rat that had ingested the bait. My dogs and cats won't touch anything once it is dead.

      If the cats are inside at night, there is no way that they can control the rodent population. Rodents are such a serious disease vector - their droppings and urine can cause serious health problems for humans, horses, and pets. So, not something to delay dealing with.
      Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing


      • #4
        How about those sonic rodent repellent things?


        • #5
          Ferrets are readily available at pet stores and also, you can ask around for a working Jack Russell or two.
          ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
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          "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


          • #6
            A good fox will wipe out the rats in a few days. A number of years ago, we had many rats move into our small barn. After the fox came, the rats were promptly eaten. I don't know how you can attract a fox to your barn, but if you can get one, you will be amazed at how quickly the rats will be eaten.


            • #7


              • #8
                Get those plastic snap trap things, the modern version of a traditional rat trap. Bait with peanut butter and set up near holes.
                Too bad your BO won't spring for a pest control company to come in. Once you have rats, they attract their buddys by leaving a trail of urine where ever they go, making a scent trail.

                There are these bait traps you can get that dehydrate them internally. It's not warfarin. A cat would have to eat a bunch of them to get ill from it. You can likely get these from sources other than a pest control company.

                Just be warned, they will end up in water tanks as they are dying, making for some gross finds.


                • #9
                  "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                  • #10
                    Jack Russel, Rat snake....

                    Wasn't there something like a non toxic recipe, like equal parts flower and plaster of paris or concrete....they eat it and the concrete activates....

                    Rats are difficult to kill with food, they are too smart: They send the noob out to taste test, then wait if he kicks the bucket before the rest goes out for dinner.

                    Does the water bucket method work on rats? Not like I would like to find drowned rats in th morning, but those beasties have GOT to go!

                    If you have so many that you actually see them, you might as well call the electrician to check the wireing!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
                      Are you saying a Heeler will take care of a rat problem?


                      • #12
                        A large spackle bucket put where they may go with rat poisen in it. When we first got chickens, the rats arrived within 24 hours. We'd put out poisen and it would be gone before we left the chicken coop area, we thought the dogs were eating them. The DH left a bucket in the coop and the next morning there were 5 dead rats in the bucket. THey can't get out once they get in. Live rats could be a problem though!


                        • #13
                          Rat snakes! Ok and a barn ferret would be awesome as long as he didn't musk on everything. And a barn fox. Sigh, I have always wanted a pet fox, they are so neat...
                          Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by katyb View Post
                            Are you saying a Heeler will take care of a rat problem?
                            Yes a heeler can help keep the population under control as well as any cat will be able to.
                            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by casper324 View Post
                              ... We'd put out poisen and it would be gone before we left the chicken coop area, we thought the dogs were eating them. ...
                              Are you saying that you suspected your dogs were eating the poison that was placed in the buckets?!
                              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                              • #16
                                A few good terriers or a nice rat snake would be my choices. As for the Coyote problem a nice large barking dog or recording of one hooked up to motion lights usually sends them packing. One summer that will forever be known as the summer of the rats was rough for the barn. It wasn't that we didn't have enough barn cats it was that the sewer rats that had come up from the bayou were larger than the cats! Our property was about a mile from the bayou and construction crews had set to clearing and generally making the place look nicer. I and all of the neighbors were inundated with HUGE rats. Our cats and local rat snake population just could not contend with them. Then comes Boy George and Martha. They were a working pair of Jack Russell terriers that went through the barns and killed the rats. They were owned by one of my least favorite neighbors but those dogs were a god send that summer.
                                Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                Originally Posted by alicen:
                                What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by Lady Counselor View Post
                                  Just be warned, they will end up in water tanks as they are dying, making for some gross finds.
                                  That might make the BO's pool rather interesting, but hey its worth a try... Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone! I'll send an email to BO, and tell her everything said here. I don't think we have foxes around here... but I'm no expert. Does anyone know of any ways to lure a fox into the barn?

                                  Also, does anyone know of some sort of barn cat/ferret agency where I can rent a few dozen cats or ferrets for a night? Im only half joking when I say that, these rats have got to go...
                                  Last edited by dreamingofdressage; Apr. 29, 2013, 01:49 PM. Reason: my spelling skills are a little rusty
                                  Tack Cleaning/All-Things-Tack nut
                                  ~DQ wanna-be~


                                  • #18
                                    We use the warfarin pellets. Our barn cat doesn't ever go near it, and she won't touch the dead/ dying rats or mice that have eaten the poison. I'm not sure if she is unusually smart, or if this is the case with all cats, but it sure does simplify things!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                                      How about those sonic rodent repellent things?
                                      We tried those a few years back... They worked for a while, but the rats buddies, extended families, and their buddies' extended families eventually got used to the vibrations/noise or whatever the sonic repellent thingies emit. BO eventually got rid of them, once they stopped working
                                      Tack Cleaning/All-Things-Tack nut
                                      ~DQ wanna-be~


                                      • #20
                                        A professional animal control officer told me that these traps work the best. A word of advice-apparently rats trapped with each other will start to canabalize one another, so you might end up with a grisly find in the morning (thinking of that just makes my skin crawl!!!).

                                        He said he dispatches them by dropping the trap in water for 10 minutes.

                                        I've heard the rat zappers are supposed to work pretty well, too.

                                        He said the trap looks like a crab trap-the rats can get in, but they can't get out.

                                        A quick google search yielded this...