How to get rid of rats in the barn

Attica1962

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Recently we have seen some rats in the barn. Not mice, the barn cats take care of these, but real big nasty rats. And the cats don't seem to be bothered by them. Is there any way to get rid of them rats that is risk free for cats?
 

di and bob

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They have rat bait stations which are containers that allow rodents to go into but are too small for cats to enter. From my experience, cats will not eat rodents that are already dead, so the cats should be OK. Now if a rat was dying and the cat ate it, that may be bad, but I have used poisons for years and none of my cats have died. Maybe because they are well fed and just kill them for the hunt, not to eat.
 

catapault

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There are birds that will eat dead / dying rats that have been poisoned with harmful effect for the birds. Flacco in NYC for example. If you know anyone with rat terrier dogs or similar breed you might invite them in for a hunt. There's even groups doing this, again in NYC. Keep in mind that once you get rid of this group of rats another colony will likely want to move in.
 

Umerwhat

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I would never use poison traps for mice and rats, I've heard too many horror stories. You could try the classic spring rat traps. Would just need to find somewhere the cats can't accidentally set them off. Rats usually move along walls and tight spaces anyways.

Are the rats only something you've seen of recent? In my area we had a huge influx of rats several years ago. Took about a year, but by next spring the predator population surged and the rats vanished. catapault might have a good suggestion with the rat hunting dogs.
 

fionasmom

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You could try the classic spring rat traps. Would just need to find somewhere the cats can't accidentally set them off. Rats usually move along walls and tight spaces anyways.
This is what I have always done. But with barn cats, you will have to carefully figure out where to place them so that the cats never come in contact with them or have any interest in the smell of the bait.

You can google "pet safe rat traps" and will find a variety to choose from. I am not entirely convinced that some are cat safe, but it is possible. Another approach is to get a traditional snap trap and bait it in a box which cannot be accessed by the cats but which has a rat sized opening. The box needs to be big enough for the action of the trap which often flips or moves as it traps the rat.
 
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Attica1962

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Many thanks for your suggestions. Outside, in the fields, there are a pair of buzzards that take care of rats and pigeons. The problem is inside the barn, where there is food (for the horses) and shelter (boxes, rooms, nooks etc). There are some of them, I couldn't say how many, but one of them has installed herself into my tack room. I know staff at the barn killed two rats, cornering them and beating them to death, but I don't feel like I could do it this way. And barn cats enter my tack room also, that's why I would like something that is risk free for them.
 

iPappy

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Barn Hunt Association

A long shot perhaps, but if there are any clubs listed in your area you could contact them and ask if they know of anyone near you with working terriers. (FWIW, barn hunt trials like this keep rats well protected, and it's more of an instinct test but many ratting breeds would take that instinct to the next level). More than likely you'd have to confine the cats to be 100% safe.
 

Caspers Human

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Try a bucket trap.

Get a large, 5-gallon bucket and a wooden stick. Use the stick to make a ramp that leads up to the rim of the bucket. Put some peanut butter at the top of the ramp then fill the bucket with about six inches of water.

Rats will be attracted to the peanut butter. They'll walk up the ramp to get it and fall into the bucket. Bye-bye rats!

The nice things are that there isn't any poison to hurt your cats or other animals. You don't have to reset the trap except to check it and make sure there's bait. Every day or so, just take out the drowned rats and put a bit more water inside.

I've seen videos on YT where a guy caught more than a dozen rats with a bucket trap in just one night!
 

Dewey

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I was going to suggest snakes but, I don't think that'll work well for cats.

(sorry if this offends anyone. It was meant to be a joke)
 

iPappy

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Try a bucket trap.

Get a large, 5-gallon bucket and a wooden stick. Use the stick to make a ramp that leads up to the rim of the bucket. Put some peanut butter at the top of the ramp then fill the bucket with about six inches of water.

Rats will be attracted to the peanut butter. They'll walk up the ramp to get it and fall into the bucket. Bye-bye rats!

The nice things are that there isn't any poison to hurt your cats or other animals. You don't have to reset the trap except to check it and make sure there's bait. Every day or so, just take out the drowned rats and put a bit more water inside.

I've seen videos on YT where a guy caught more than a dozen rats with a bucket trap in just one night!
I've known people who use the bucket trap (mostly in chicken coops) without the water, and relocate the rats (assuming there are only a few vs. many.)
Attica1962 Attica1962 any updates?
 

Margot Lane

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Both the barn owl & the tawny owl live in Spain. Perhaps a local ornithologist could show you how to make nest boxes?
 

Caspers Human

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I've known people who use the bucket trap (mostly in chicken coops) without the water, and relocate the rats (assuming there are only a few vs. many.)
Attica1962 Attica1962 any updates?
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to relocate wildlife. Even rats. Also, you'd have to take them far, far away...miles...or else they will come back.

The problem with that is that rats and other wildlife are territorial. Animals that already live in a given territory territory will harass any newcomers to deny them food and shelter. They might even kill the interloper, outright. Taking a rat or other animal out of its own home territory and leaving it in the territory of another animal is likely to be a death sentence.

This I learned from an Environmental Educator who works for the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources. I live near a State Park that has a Visitors and Education Center. It was during one of their public lessons that the subject was brought up.

Anyhow, the educator said that, if you MUST trap animals from in and around buildings like barns, the best thing to do is humanely dispatch them and leave the carcasses out in a remote field or woods where other (hopefully more desirable) wildlife can feed on them. At least, that way, they can return to nature instead of going to waste.
 

iPappy

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In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to relocate wildlife. Even rats. Also, you'd have to take them far, far away...miles...or else they will come back.

The problem with that is that rats and other wildlife are territorial. Animals that already live in a given territory territory will harass any newcomers to deny them food and shelter. They might even kill the interloper, outright. Taking a rat or other animal out of its own home territory and leaving it in the territory of another animal is likely to be a death sentence.

This I learned from an Environmental Educator who works for the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources. I live near a State Park that has a Visitors and Education Center. It was during one of their public lessons that the subject was brought up.

Anyhow, the educator said that, if you MUST trap animals from in and around buildings like barns, the best thing to do is humanely dispatch them and leave the carcasses out in a remote field or woods where other (hopefully more desirable) wildlife can feed on them. At least, that way, they can return to nature instead of going to waste.
This is a very good point I never considered. We've had the unfortunate experience of having to do just that with aggressive and/or destructive raccoons that won't move on. I hate it, but it is what it is.
 
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