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flesh-eating rats!

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  • flesh-eating rats!

    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... ...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??
    Visit the County Island, home of Whiskey the ranch horse: http://countyisland.wordpress.com
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  • #2
    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.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

    Comment


    • #3
      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

      Comment


      • #4
        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
        Beth

        Comment


        • #5
          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?

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            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!
            Visit the County Island, home of Whiskey the ranch horse: http://countyisland.wordpress.com
            Visit him on Facebook:
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            • #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                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.
                bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                free bar.ka and tidy rabbit

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                • #9
                  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
                  Mad Mare™ Studio
                  Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
                  http://MadMare.com

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                  • #10
                    Ick. Get rat dogs for sure.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Another vote for good rat dogs. My terriers keep me rat free.
                        Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

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                        • #13
                          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. 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.
                          You jump in the saddle,
                          Hold onto the bridle!
                          Jump in the line!
                          ...Belefonte

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                JRT

                                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... 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.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by LisaW-B View Post
                                  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... ...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!!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    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
                                    -Jessica

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Roan View Post
                                      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).

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Get some Jacks!
                                        Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
                                        Now apparently completely invisible!

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