I recently stumbled on this photo and my jaw dropped. Yes, these rats were all caught by working rat terriers and their human helpers in a single raid! Now I can guess at the origins of the term “rat pack”. These people and dogs are upholding a long tradition, and they are serious about what they do.
Jreed and his Mongrol Hoard offer a non-toxic way to get rid of large rodent populations that are often found on farms. If you have a rat problem, this may be just the thing, but don’t contact them until you’ve read their FAQ page.
Their website also provides great information for how to avoid getting to this point, with great advice on how to avoid creating a rodent friendly environment. Here are some of the key points:
Only scatter as much feed or grain or compost as chickens (or other livestock) can eat by 1pm
Hanging feeders can be set over a large bowl or tray to catch scattered feed. This tray and feeder should be picked up and put away in a sealed container at night.
Rats will predictably bunker down close to their feed source in places where there is a solid roof or protection for their burrow entrances. These include stands of bamboo, blackberries, pampas grass and ivy as well as wood piles and stone walls. By clearing these protective islands (or building your coop away from such things to begin with) you can limit the number good nesting places for rats.
Do not place chicken wire or hardware cloth under floor boards as this creates ideal nesting areas for rats (we see this all the time)
Do not line floors of coops with chicken wire or hardware cloth as this creates a roof for rats and makes it more difficult for us to dig for them.
Build coops in open areas without hiding places for rats (see minimize habitat).
Trapping can be effective but only if done properly. Rats are smart and will learn quickly to avoid them.
Set traps along walls and edges where rats run.
For best results with snap traps, place them with bait for several days without setting them. Use a bit of peanut butter to hold corn or other grain in place. Check traps daily to see if rats have been eating the bait. After 4 days leave in place without bait for one night. Then bait and set.
If there is concern for other small animals setting off the traps (such as cats) the traps can be set into a small cardboard box. Cut a rat sized hole in either side so the rats run through to get the bait (a rat is less likely to enter a one sided hole.