Bird feeders are rarely to blame for attracting rats into an area. Rats are more likely to be attracted by the odors from pet waste, outdoor pet food bowls, inadequate waste and garbage containers, compost bins, BBQ grills, vegetable garden waste or un-harvested fruits and nuts from trees. Once attracted by these other items, rats may take advantage of bird foods they are able to reach.
To eliminate rats, deny them access to shelter. It is important to remove potential hiding and nesting sites from around your home, such as firewood stacks, brush and debris piles, dense shrubbery, ground covers and ivy. Repair and/or seal openings in buildings using durable materials, such as concrete, metal flashing, steel wool or heavy welded wire.
In dry climates, rats are attracted to sources of water. Remove or repair all sources of free water around your home and yard. These include leaking faucets and irrigation lines, water bowls for pets and all sources of standing water.
Good sanitation practices will effectively control the ability of rats to survive. Eliminating access to garbage, pet waste, spilled bird seed, open compost bins and un-harvested fruits and vegetables is crucial to rodent control.
Here are some tips for avoiding problems with rats in your yard: