It’s no surprise that rats will eat just about anything, but they do prefer certain foods over others, and bird seed, in particular, is a HIGHLY favoured, delectable treat for rats.
Whether it’s deer getting into bird feeders, or the birds themselves being messy eaters, you will inevitably end up with bird seed on the ground. This is an easy target food for rats, and a big hit in the winter especially, as bird seed tends to be high in calories.
Some may argue that their feeders are high enough up in the air that rats won’t be able to get to them, but the reality is that you really can’t hang feeders high enough. Rats will go to long lengths to get right into the food source (feeder) and can scale impressively long wires to access a tasty bird seed buffet.
In the simplest terms, bird feeders are not recommended where rats are present. Period. Homeowners and residents are encouraged to consider other alternatives for feeding our feathered friends, such as natural foliage options that birds will still enjoy but the rats will take a pass at. Examples include seed-bearing flowers such as sunflowers, daisies, marigolds, and poppies among others; other options include millet, oat grasses, and bird-friendly fruit berries from trees such as Ash, Crabapple, Hawthorn, and Magnolia.
If you’re too attached to your bird feeder to give it up - consider yourself warned! But if that’s the case at the very least, follow these steps to deter the rats as best you can:
- Make sure bird feeders are as far away from the home as possible.
- Ensure the feeder prevents excessive seed from spilling on to the ground; any feeders with cracks, holes, or other damage should be replaced.
- Deter rats from climbing & scaling bird feeder poles and wires by placing a wide metal collar on the pole.
- Keep the yard area clean and well-maintained, raking up any excess bird seed, as well as other fruit and nuts that may have fallen onto the ground.
As always, if you need any further help with your rat problem, call your friendly, neighbourhood BugMaster team, and we’ll be happy to help!