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.
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.
Rats are especially attracted by the odor from BBQ grills and they will eat the residue meat scraps and fats found on them. If possible, store your grill in a secure out building between uses and keep it clean of all grease and food debris.
The following bird feeding practices will help you avoid problems with rats in your yard:
• No ground feeding. Bird food scatted directly on the ground can be attractive to rodents.
• Select the proper food. Consider feeding only a single type of seed in a feeder to reduce the amount of scattered seed that reaches the ground. Sunflower chips seem to work very well as a tidy-feeding option. Quality suet or shelled peanuts properly placed and hung from a baffled pole will also work. If the feeders are not hung on a baffled pole, take them indoors each evening. Use trays under feeders to keep debris from falling to the ground. You can also feed black oil sunflower seeds or blends that are high in black oil sunflower seeds or chips if your feeders are hung on a baffled pole and have a quality tray placed below them. For ground feeding birds, use a small amount of a blend containing millet in a tray or platform feeder.
• Don’t overfeed. Offer only as much food as the birds will eat each day, especially millet. Make sure the birds clean their plate everyday.
• Store seed properly. Store seed in a metal, rodent-proof container in an area where rodents cannot reach.
• Keep feeding areas tidy. Sweep, rake or clean up spilled seed and seed husks at least once a week. If possible, place your feeders over a hard surface so your clean-up will be faster and easier.
• Use the proper feeders and trays. It’s important to select the proper feeder to attract the birds you want. Proper trays and screens placed below feeders will eliminate ground spillage. Consider these feeder and tray combinations:
• Use baffles to eliminate easy access. Using a hanging baffle above any feeder protects against roof rats and squirrels. A pole equipped with a squirrel baffle and set up properly (4 - 5 feet high) will stop rats from gaining access to feeders.
• Install your APS setup in the proper locatioin. In order to make your APS setup unreachable for rats, you’ll need to install it at least 10 feet away from any other object, including trees houses, etc. This distance keeps rats from jumping on top of the feeders from trees, houses or anything else in your yard.
• In dry climate areas, remove sources of water. Temporarily remove any source of water which may supply their daily requirement. You may choose to set up a baffled bird bath option using APS and a baffle.
These Wild Birds Unlimited products support responsible bird feeding in creating a rat-free sanctuary in your backyard.
Hardware & Baffles
• APS. Establish multiple setups with squirrel baffles that are easy to relocate and reconfigure. Deck hardware also keeps debris off deck.
• Provide water on baffled APS setups.
• APS 14” bird bath pole mount
• WBU 14” & 20” hanging bird baths
• APS 20” pole-mounted bird bath holder
• Dome baffles to prevent access from above the feeders.
• Eliminator feeder
• Dinner Bell feeder
• Seed tube feeder
• Small hanging tray
• Catch trays prevent seeds and hulls from falling to the ground.
• Ground tray
• Seed Saucer: This large white tray for catching seed debris can be hung under a feeder.
• Bird Seed Catcher: Placed on the ground below a feeder, it’s designed to catch sunflower seeds, millet and Nyjer® (thistle).
• Metal containers for storing seed
• Live trap
• Powdered predator urine
• WBU BirdCare Brushes for cleaning feeders and bird baths.
• Garden and vinyl gloves for use while cleaning feeders and bird baths.
• Outwitting Mice published by Lyons Press
• WBU Brochures