Neighbor's bird feeders and rat issues

The guy two doors down has installed bird feeders, and now I am seeing rats strolling across the intervening yard to their burrow under our front porch.  I imagine birds are knocking seeds off the feeders and feeding the rats.  At the same time, we are enjoying the increase in birds.

I'm about to embark on rat-proofing the porch and any other access points.  My experience with rats, however, is that they will find someplace else to live, whereas we want them gone.  There are bird-feeder attachments that can reduce the spillage issue but require more feeder cleaning.  We want to ask the neighbor to deal with the issue, but he is not a very friendly guy and has demonstrated a lack of concern for his neighbors over other issues.

Any suggestions?

And any suggestions about how to get the rats out from under our house before rat-proofing?  Otherwise I imagine they will die under our house from hunger and thirst.

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We are a family that enjoys greatly having bird feeders in our yard.  We have installed them for the last 2 winters.  I have two points to make.  1.  We have lived here for 10 years, and there were definitely rats in our yard prior to having the bird feeders.  But we are with you, we want to enjoy the birds, without the rats.  2.  One thing we have done is only have the feeders up in the winter.  This is the most active time for birds to come to the feeders.  In the winter, there are many birds that are feeding on the spilled seed on the ground.   In the summer, these birds are not eating the spilled seed and a lot more accumulates on the ground, drawing the rats.  We follow the Feeder Watch dates suggested by the Audubon Society.  We have noticed a greatly reduced use of the feeders in the spring and summer, so its really not as fun to have the feeders up year round.  Maybe this can be a compromise with your neighbor...just using hummingbird feeders in the summer.  One more thought comes to mind...I'm not sure where you live, but there are county vector control staff, who can come and perhaps work with your neighborhood to reduce the number of rats...

We had a similar problem in our own backyard.  After we had a bird feeder for a number of months, we started to see a rat coming to browse on seeds at midday.  We put one of the seed catchers up - the disk variety - and stopped seeing the rat within two days.  It sounds like your neighbor might not be very receptive but the disk, though a little goofy looking, is great.  It's heavily used by the birds as an adjunct to the feeder and keeps them safe from the neighborhood cats.  We also called Alameda County Vector Control to see if they had any suggestions beyond the obvious.  They didn't, but they came out, told us where to block holes in our house and left some traps (which haven't caught any rats) and went to talk or leave flyers with some of our neighbors who also have food sources in their yards.  The Vector Control staff that came to our house were very pleasant and non-judgemental.   They might help you talk with your neighbor (or do it for you) if you can't resolve the situation.

I had a similar issue.  Rats and squirrels love bird food, are highly destruction, spread disease and proliferate like crazy with a good food supply.  We have found them under our house, in the walls, in the attic space and found them building condos in the trees.  As long as there is a bird feeder/food supply you will have rats.  You can try rat traps, but you will never keep-up.  I was catching 2 to 4 rats per week.  How do you feel about cats?  We learned just how difficult a it is to rat proof a house.  Don't think the city can help, but you could try.  If you can't reason with your neighbor you either have to live with it, move or take your neighbor to court.  Are the rats bothering any of the other neighbors?  If reasoning doesn't work, your remedy is small claims court.

Piece of advice - Take action now, when fall comes the rats will be looking to move inside.  Once they do, it's even harder to get rid of them.  I think it took us nine years to almost get rid of all the rats from our neighbors bird feeder and compost bin.  Rats have a litter about every 4-6 weeks.  Each litter is 4-6.  Just do the math to realize just how quickly this can get out of hand.  And please don't use rat poison.  While it will kill the rats birds and other animals will eat the poisoned rats and die as well. 

Best of luck 

ammonia two ways.  1) cut slot on side of large yogurt container. stuff rag into container with tail sticking out slot.  fill with ammonia and seal lid.  pop one of those in all suspected places.  2) get a plastic garden sprayer from the depot and spray areas with ammonia.

animals will vacate immediately.  ammonia not my favorite thing, but it’s much better than poisoning rodents that in turn will die under the house and/or poison owls, cats etc who pray on rodents.

lastly, when you rodent proof it’s never gonna be 100% perfect and/or last forever.  be sure to fashion or buy a one-way flapper exit.  there are several on the market.  google university or youtube videos on this.  also, graingers (maybe harbor freight) has steel wool in bulk rolls. works great for stuffing in cracks and crevices. depot also has spray foam with metal particles made for this.  we used all of the above with much success for abating rodents and skunks.  it’s a job that is well worth the time doing right the first time.  best of luck...  

We used to have a lot of rats (especially since we live on lip of Wildcat canyon).  Then 2 years ago, accidentally I discovered a hole not quite the size of a quarter (in my food pantry, down close to the floor, hidden by an over-hanging shelf).  There was a little bit of rat hair/fur stuck within that little hole.

  I plugged it. No more rats!  It took me 8 years living with rodents 'til I found that teensy opening.  Rats/mice are 90% liquid (or something wild like that). They can squish themselves into nothing.  So, apart from looking for holes in your place, maybe you can break the ice with your neighbor & leave the bird-feeder attachment on his porch--as a gift.  What an inexpensive way to possibly mend fences?!  If he tosses it out or never uses it-- that's ok, isn't it?  Enjoy the birds.  BTW: My neighbor across street is an official bird watcher... The birds have a paradise over there.  I started feeding the birds about 5 years ago. I never noticed an increase in rats in my kitchen.  Finding the hole was the answer.  Good luck.

We had a nasty rat problem in our garage and under our house. We used a combination of snap traps and a strobe light that ran 24x7 in our garage.

Search on Amazon "Roxant Pulse Ultra Bright LED Strobe Light (Metal Case) - Manual & Sound Activated Mode & Adjustable Flash Speed Control". Set the strobe at the most annoying level possible (i.e., fast fast fast) and you'll see (no pun intended) why anything with eyes will want to move out of the area. The snap traps killed a few rats, but after we got the strobe, no more dead rats, so I assume the remaining ones all left.

There were probably rats before the bird feeders arrived on the scene. And they will be there long after the bird feeders are gone. You are not going to be able to get rid of the rats, although it is a good idea to keep them out of your house. Don't annoy your neighbor about the innocent hobby.