Rats - help

I think I have a problem with rats.
They are not in the house ( bungalow).
In the past month I have found two dead ones on my drive. I am sure they a re coming from next door who keep chickens. the chickens are in a compund ( free range) which is next to my drive sitting on the boundary between them and me).
last Saturday, I thought I saw a live rat on my drive but it disappeared wh en I got out of the car. However, I have now seen a largish hole ( around s ix inches diameter) with freshly excavated soil around it on top of the wal l ( my side of the boundar) right next to the chicken run next door. ( difficult to explain this - the wall is a Cornish hedge/ dry wall back fi lled with soil and the hole is dug into the top and goes down).
Now, I dont know what a rat hole looks like and cant find pictures despite looking . My gut tells me this hole is not good. I cant see any other holes but I dont know what/ how to look - and it scares me. I hate rats.
Bottom line - how do I stop these rats before they get established in my wa ll /garden?
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On Friday, 20 January 2017 07:27:13 UTC, sweetheart wrote:

are coming from next door who keep chickens. the chickens are in a compund ( free range) which is next to my drive sitting on the boundary between th em and me).

when I got out of the car. However, I have now seen a largish hole ( around six inches diameter) with freshly excavated soil around it on top of the w all ( my side of the boundar) right next to the chicken run next door.

filled with soil and the hole is dug into the top and goes down).

e looking . My gut tells me this hole is not good. I cant see any other hol es but I dont know what/ how to look - and it scares me. I hate rats.

wall /garden?
Poison is your best bet. Get one of the enclosed boxes to keep it dry.
Speak to your neighbour. The dead ones might be from him/her poisoning them . It needs a co-ordinated poisoning session toget rid of them anyway.
Don't leave (chicken?) food about. Don't leave wild bird food around where rats can get at it. Especially overnight.
If you have horsey types nearby, you can bet that's where they are coming f rom. These bastards are always chucking food around encouraging rats.
They only come where/when there's stuff to eat.
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No need to speak to the neighbour if that is true.

Even sillier than you usually manage.

It isnt the OP's chooks, stupid.

Much more likely to be the chooks, stupid.

Even sillier than you usually manage.
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However you do need to be mindful about any run off of anything you do into the chicken run area. Poison baited food that only rats like and can get into seems to work for the pest controllers. Brian
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Probably worth contacting your local environmental health dept before doing anything yourself.
Tim
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wrote:

No point if you are going to poison them.
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On 20/01/2017 09:03, Rod Speed wrote:

6" sounds much more like a rabbit hole than a rat. 2-3" diameter is a typical rat hole.
You could always set a PIR camera trap and see what goes in and out.

Actually there might be since their neighbour may be behaving irresponsibly by leaving too much food lying about overnight. OTOH If it is a rabbit burrow the EH guy will put the OPs mind at rest.
Though this year a glut of apples and a mild winter has led to an explosion in the rural rat population. There are still plenty of windfall apples on the ground uneaten and we are well into January.
It is only with the recent cold snap that wild birds took any interest in my bird feeder. Until then there was plenty of food to go round.
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On 1/20/2017 9:23 AM, Martin Brown wrote:

+1, unless there has been a terrier enlarging it to try to get at the rats (or voles, rabbits?).

+1
As others have said, talk to neighbour(s), and environmental health. I've used box traps with poison. I have also tried an "electric shock" trap, but that never caught anything.

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On 20/01/2017 13:52, newshound wrote:

I am trying out ultrasonic scarers on a recommendation to keep them out of the garage. They tend to nibble electrical flex which is annoying.
I prefer the classic mechanical traps myself. Just don't get your fingers caught in the nip they are powerful but tricky to set and on a hair trigger. Well more like hanging on a bit of bent tin.
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On 20/01/2017 15:07, Martin Brown wrote:

We get mice every autumn after harvest. Next door got one of those. It was great, really worked.
For several weeks.
Then they got used to it. Poison is the only way.
Andy
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On Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:40:06 -0000 (UTC), Tim+ wrote:

Who may well charge...
Rats are cautious, one you place a trap or poison only check them visually from a distance. Too close (yard or two) or handling and ratty will avoid.
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They might, but I reckon advice from one pest controller who has actually laid eyes on the "scene of the crime" is worth way more than any advice offered "blindly" here.
Tim
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On Thu, 19 Jan 2017 23:27:09 -0800 (PST), sweetheart

If your neighbour has chickens and there's chicken feed in open troughs or on the earth, you will have rats in the neighbourhood. I am in a similar situation to you, but further west. There is a farmyard next door, and when we had cats, they would occasionally catch rats, and from time to time there'd be suspicious holes in the compost heap.
But a six inch hole in the top of a Cornish wall doesn't sound like a rat hole: much too big. A rat hole is around two inches in diameter. Yours is more the size of a rabbit hole. At about this time of year, does are making temporary 'stops' away from the main warren, in which to give birth and rear their kits. The does will make exploratory scrapes in several places before settling on a final site. I've known them choose the top of a Cornish wall; an unwise choice as it happened, because a few weeks later I saw a fox digging down and carefully removing the kits one by one and taking them away, presumably to feed its own brood.
Another possibility is that it's just subsidence within the wall. As you say, a Cornish wall is a core of loose earth and small stones or rubble, faced on both sides with larger stones regularly laid. The soil does eventually wash out, leading to internal collapse which eventually appears as a hole in the top.
So what to do? If it were mine, I'd cover the hole with something easily moved, like a piece of slate or even a ball of weeds stuffed in. Keep an eye on it over the next few days to see if it gets moved. If it does, there's something living down there. If not, it's probably subsidence and you can just fill it in. If something is living in there, I still think it's too big for a rat hole.
But even if it is a rat, there's no need to do anything. As I said at the top, there are rats in my neighbourhood and I occasionally see a rat-hole in the compost heap, but they don't trouble me and I don't trouble them. They'll do you no harm if you leave them alone and don't encourage them into your garden by putting down scraps for the birds (in fact I regularly do that, but all the scraps disappear within a few minutes: seagulls, jackdaws, rooks and magpies descend on the scraps like vultures, often before I've finished throwing them down! They leave nothing for the rats).
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Chris

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On 20/01/17 08:43, Chris Hogg wrote:

[...]
* even if it is a rat, there's no need to do anything. **^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^** This. [...] And don't put poison out, you might kill someone's cat.
TW
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On 20/01/2017 09:32, TimW wrote:

Rat bait or traps should be inside an approved rat box and coloured blue so that birds are not attracted to it. Rats seem to like exploring right sized holes to see what is inside. I won't tolerate them inside buildings but living in the country they are never far away in the wild.
An increasing problem with rats is that the poisons available to a domestic end user seem to be mostly the ones that don't work any more. You might as well be putting out wild animal food in some instances!
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On Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:10:45 +0000, Martin Brown wrote:

They aint far away in the city either!
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On 1/20/2017 10:10 AM, Martin Brown wrote:

I had a full kilo box of the "dishwasher tablet" type poison (original tupperware type container) in our tack room, one night something(s) nibbled off the corner and removed the entire contents. However have seen much less evidence of rats since then.
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On Thu, 19 Jan 2017 23:27:09 -0800 (PST), sweetheart

Nothing to panic about then.

Perhaps someone is on the case already and they were poisoned.

Countryish area ? More or less natural, while they are a pest they are just a wild animal, many live in hedgerows . You will never eliminate them completely .Birds of Prey often take them before they get too big.

That would be a very large Rat , despite reports of huge Rats appearing a rat needing a hole that size is unlikely and wild animals don't waste energy digging more than needed. Rat hole about 1 "to 3" inches. 6" Sounds like a Fox, bad news for chickens but they do eat Rats if not much else us around.

You cannot have looked very hard
http://www.grpestcontrol.co.uk/images/Typical%20rat%20burrow%20small%20pic.jpg

You won't , They are smarter than you. keep the numbers down by shooting them , keeping a Jack Russell who can hunt or getting someone in to do so.
Traps and poisons are better in buildings but outside are of limited use and poisoned rats may actually poison prey who could have controlled them better.
G. Harman
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On Thu, 19 Jan 2017 23:27:09 -0800 (PST), sweetheart wrote:

A tunnel (not opening diameter) of 6" is big for a rabbit, a rat tunnel is 2" or under. I wouldn't expect a rat to dig into the top of a wall or out in the open in general.

Dead rats in the open indicates to me someone has put poison down. The corpses really need to collected and disposed of (bagged and landfill/incineration waste collection) so other creatures don't scavange.
Talk to your neighbour, they may well be the people who have laid poison. Do they take in/lift up any feeders when they shut the chickens up for the night? Rats need a food source, take that away and they'll move on. FSVO "move on".
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On Friday, 20 January 2017 09:28:05 UTC, Dave Liquorice wrote:

do I stop these rats before they get established in my

The chickens are free range. I am not actually aware of them ever taking th em in to be honest. There is a small hen house but the chickens just come a nd go as they please.
The hole isnt in the open. Its under trees /hedge which is established on top of the wall. I found two more in the wall this afternoon. I very much d oubt it is rabbits. I know what they look like. Picture provided elsewher e looks quite like my hole and in similar habitat. I have seen rats runnin g in the chicken coup before but they have always been the other side of th e fence, now they are on my drive side..
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