Rats only need an ounce of food per day to survive and may obtain nourishment from bird feeders. Once they find a dependable source of food, they will keep coming back to your yard, possibly spreading disease, biting pets and family members and causing property damage. One way to control rats is to eliminate bird feeders altogether, but this is an unsatisfactory solution for those who enjoy watching birds and listening to them sing. Instead, you can make your yard less attractive to rats and block bird feeder access with baffles designed to deter squirrels.
Sweep up any bird seed from the ground, and remove bird feeders on the ground, patio and on tables. Only use hanging or pole-mounted feeders, which are difficult for rats to access.
Install a baffle on your bird feeder, or purchase a feeder with an installed squirrel baffle. A hanging bird feeder needs a cone or disk-shaped baffle installed on a string or chain above the feeder. This prevents rats from accessing from structures above. A pole-mounted bird feeder needs a cylindrical or disk-shaped baffle installed around the pole below the feeder, which prevents rats from coming up from below.
Remove garbage and other food sources from your yard. Only set out garbage during trash collection times, or cover trash containers with tight-fitting lids.
Remove outdoor cat and dog food dishes immediately after your pets have eaten their fill.
Remove rat hide-outs from your yard. These hideouts include old boxes, boards and woodpiles. If you must store such objects outside, elevate them a foot or more above the ground.