Rats & Composting

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by Quincys Slave, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. Quincys Slave

    Quincys Slave Active Member

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes: There will be rats in Vancouver. Being near salt water it would be expected to have wharf rats as well as the more generally dispersed Norway rat. Wharf rats frequent fruit trees in Seattle. It seems fruit scraps in compost might attract them.
     
  3. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    I really don't have any problem with rats in my compost and have had them in and around it for years. A heathy rat population is a indicator of a heathy human enviroment. Put the compost to the back of your yard and you will most likely never see them at all. Rat poop can add valued nitrogen to your compost and they do help aeroate the pile and aid in breaking larger pieces down. I think they could be an asset to the garden compost.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
  4. cowboy

    cowboy Active Member

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    The best way to keep rats out of the compost bin is to have it raised above the ground. This way they can't burrow into the pile. For your bin, a low platform made from wood that would allow drainage with the plastic bin attached on that should work. You could wait to see if a rat problem develops.
     
  5. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Don't put food scraps from the kitchen in a compost pile. The scraps are a magnet for bugs, and small rodents. Kitchen scraps produce little compost anyway. It is best to utilize plants.

    My backyard compost pile only produces about 5 cubic yards of material per year, which is a very small amount in the big picture.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Wharf rats are arboreal, jumping up onto a bin and into it from the sides or top would be the expected mode of entry.
     
  7. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    I am sure you are alone in your views. A rat is a rat is a rat, and there is no pleasant association between rats and people.
     
  8. Quincys Slave

    Quincys Slave Active Member

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    LOL, I agree. The rats in the Vancouver area seem to be extra big fat ones with really long tails! I'll never forget the time I looked out the window and saw about 5 of them all over my bird feeder. Poor birds in my neighbourhood are a little skinnier now cause I had to take it down
     
  9. Freyja

    Freyja Active Member

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    When Delta first offered their composting bins years ago to residents, my parents got one, as did several other families in our Tsawwassen neighbourhood. It wasn't very long before the rats moved into the next-door neighbour's attic and eventually into their walls and under their floors (which was a bit more of a problem than just having the rats in the backyard and running along the fence in daylight!).

    The rat population explosion in their area unfortunately forced almost all the neighbours to shut down their compost bins, since at the time, everyone still tended to throw their food scraps in and never turn the compost.

    Good luck with it.
     
  10. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  11. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I live near UBC and have had two of the city-issued composters for several years. There are rats in the area - there are rats wherever there are humans - and I have surprised one in the compost bin a few times. They do not burrow in, they just enter through the top. I can't imagine why they would be troubled in the slightest by the bins being elevatd or place on a cement foundation.

    The only trouble that they have caused me occurred this past spring when two of them nested in my garage. I read up on rats and in light of what I learned I resolved to exterminate them. No traps worked, and so finally I poisoned them. Bad for the environment, and I expected the poison to be illegal o at least tightly controlled, but to my surprise Rona and Home Depot and my local hardware store all had shelves and shelves of rat poison for sale to every drunk or child who decided they wanted a few tonnes.

    Actually, there was one rat that I eliminated a few years ago in a different way, but this is a family website so I will say no more than that.

    PETA would be horrified. But just as it is in the nature of a mosquito to bite a man, so it is in the nature of a man to kill a rat. We are genetically programmed to do it. It is therefore illegal racial - well, species-al - discrimination to criticize my acts. Anyway, it's sort of a "man the hunter" thing ("man" meaning human, not male, you understand)

    Turning to the topic, I do not attribute their presence to the composition, or even the existence, of the contents of the bins. Of course we compost kitchen scraps, but only the vegetative ones (and yes, we really can identify them). And as I said, where you have humans you have rats too.
     
  12. cowboy

    cowboy Active Member

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    No, that is not true. Alberta does not have rats; we just have a few Liberals. The province has had a rat eradication program for many decades and has scuccessfully kept rats out of the province. There is strong vigilance along the Saskatchewan and Montana borders. Too cold in the NWT and not even rats want to leave BC.


    If there a good lid, gaps not more than 1/2" and the bin off the ground, how can rats get in? Mice have no problem, but I can't see how rats can make an entrance.


    I don't think you really mean that. If not, I would be interested to read the research that discovered this particular gene.

    I'm sure that PETA would have harsh words for me if they knew that I wasn't as diligent as I should have with the grey squirrel that I found doing the backstroke in my rain barrel. By the time I got back with the rake to fish it out, it had gone down for the last time. Then when I did get it out, I failed to give it mouth-to-mouth.
     
  13. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, I lived in Alberta when the premier was the Reverend Ernie Manning, successor as premier to the Reverend William Aberhart. Can't remember which backwoods preacher was my local MLA, though.

    I thought that rats were driven away by the small of brimstone when they spoke against Socialism, liberalism, communism, and feminism, but I may be wrong.

    To answer your question, I do not think that the gene has yet been identified. Its existence is proved by its effects, rather than it itself, being perceived - rather like cold dark matter, I think.
     
  14. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    While I personally appreciate and admire the deft discussion on politics, I have to be consistent with my approach on other threads and ask that the discussion focus on the original subject, rats and composting. Thanks.
     
  15. maria2006

    maria2006 Member

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    Hi I've got a compost going at the condo I live in. In the 6 years it's been used I've encountered one rat. It was dispose of quickly ...I mix the compost once a week and add hay or coffee chafe. No meat or dairy. You should be fine. Good luck
     

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