Critters in garden

I am just about to give up on growing vegetables - very frustrating to find pretty much all the shelling peas and broad beans have been demolished by rats. Now they have moved onto the cabbages and I suspect the beets will be next. Living out in the country with a chicken coop we have always had the odd rat, but this year have had a real explosion in their numbers (have caught lots already). Has anyone else noticed a larger number than usual?

We’ve always had the odd bite into zucchini and other squash that are probably rats, and earlier this year a number of shelling peas were eaten, but I think they must have been by mice since the pea vines weren’t destroyed. Hard to know. I am not sure if this is more than usual though. It is discouraging when you find the evidence, but we end up with more than enough for ourselves anyway, so I don’t worry too much. We also have chickens, and a dog that is dedicated to chasing away rabbits and rats.

thank you Kim. Rats don’t destroy the vines either. We have trail cameras set up in the garden so we have seen what they do. Very interesting actually - they’ll walk right up to a trap and then walk away again - very crafty. The young ones are mostly the ones that are caught.

It seems as if we have fewer rats this year. Our previous neighbour had chickens, which I believe attracts vermin that eat the food put down for the chickens. Our neighbours moved and without the chickens there seem to be fewer rats. The ones that we have had seem to have confined themselves to snacking on our compost. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that the situation remains the same. Now, the raccoons are a different situation. They were getting into our corn patch, pulling down the stocks and eating the still unripe cobs. My husband installed an electric fence around the patch and we haven’t had a problem since. I am hoping that they don’t move onto the sweet pepper, squash and melons.

It is very frustrating. I normally find some nibbles on the top of my carrots and presumed they were from the bunny that got through our well fenced perimeter (wire below the fence into the ground even) I did have a rat in my greenhouse that just kept eating the same tomato which was very considerate of him. This year I was devastated to find quite a few of my beets chewed right down to the centre. I’m thinking its rats which I know are around, not sure if rabbits would do this. They do seem very hard to trap and are very smart.
Looking for ideas of how to catch them, please share your tips.

I read once that if you’re using traps you should have lots of them. Put them out all at once, and for a week or so keep them baited but not set. That way they get used to taking food from them and don’t consider them a threat. Then one day you set them all, and hopefully you will catch the majority. Supposedly if a rat sees another rat caught in a trap it may be trap-shy for the rest of its life, so the idea is to try to catch them all at once (hopefully you’re dealing with one or two though, not an infestation!).

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Hi Rhodo
Yes the rats love beets and carrots and green tomatoes as well. Anything that they can get their teeth into to keep them short. Oh, add potatoes to the list as well :triumph:

The best rat trap/killer I’ve seen is called a rolling-log rat trap. There’s a lot of videos on YouTube on how to build one.

Basically it’s a plastic bucket with water in it, a little platform for the rats to get up to the top of the bucket, and a tube that rolls with peanut-butter on it. They go out onto the tube to get the peanut-butter and the log rolls and dumps them into the bucket where they drown.

If you have a big rat problem that might be your answer, if you can stand it. At least it only kills the rats, unlike poisons which can end up killing birds of prey that eat a poisoned rat.