Introduction: Rat Bait Station

Picture of Rat Bait Station

If you live in the country near a river or forest you will probably have rats nearby. When the weather turns cold they want to come inside your house or barn where it is cosy.
There are a lot of Instructables for trapping rodents but if you have more than one or two, trapping is really not a satisfactory option. This bait station is easily made from two plastic milk bottles and keeps the bait away from pets and birds.

Step 1: Tools

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Common tools needed are a hammer, needle nose pliers, box cutter, and utility scissors.
Several sizes of nails and heavy staples are also used.

Step 2: Materials

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Two one liter or quart plastic milk containers, a heavy block of wood a little longer than the milk containers.

First:
Cut the end off of both milk bottles and remove caps. The rats can enter through the top or bottom.
Cut a square hole in one, leaving about 25mm (1 inch) at the bottom end. Remove the cap. This will be the bottom.

Step 3: Attach Container to the Wood.

Picture of Attach Container to the Wood.

Using a pair of needle nose pliers to hold the staple in place, hammer it through the bottle into the block of wood. Use three or four staples to ensure the bottle stays attached. The block of wood keeps the rats from taking the bait and hording it. The objective is to kill the rats, not give them a storehouse of bait.

Step 4: The Top

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Cut the handle end off the other container, try to leave it as long as possible. Cut a strip off one length but leave "wings" to hold the top onto the bottom.

Step 5: Baits

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These are three of the brands of bait available in New Zealand. It's a good idea to give them more than one kind so they don't develop immunity to one or if they're picky eaters.

Step 6: Fix Baits

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Many brands of bait have holes in them. Nail the bait through the plastic into the wood. Rats love to take the bait away, you want the bait to stay where you put it. Sometimes when I get up in the morning the rats have moved the whole bait station, heavy block and all, several meters. At least the baits are still attached.

Step 7: Slide on Top

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The top fits over the opening in the bottom container. This keeps the weather out and also prevents pets and birds from  eating the bait. The hole can be cut shorter, rats can get into very small spaces.

Step 8: The Finished Bait Station

Picture of The Finished Bait Station

The top slides off to attach more bait. Pick the whole bait station up by the handle. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after handling any poison or wear gloves.
You could camouflage the station with leaves or wood but I like to see at a glance if I need to refill it.

Comments

mowdish (author)2011-04-01

How does this keep the birds out? The picture in step 7 looks like a nice bird sized hole.

ClareBS (author)mowdish2011-04-01

They could get in but small flying birds don't seem to be interested in the bait on the ground. We have one species of large flightless birds (wekas) and another large bird species that doesn't like to fly (pukekos). The dozens of those birds we see every day have never gone up to the bait stations we can see from our house. The bait stations are moved around a bit during the night indicating it is the rats which are dining from them. The opening in the back could be made smaller, rats don't need much room to get into a space.

Cacadogg (author)ClareBS2016-02-03

they don't seem to be interested?

Not good enough. It should be covered up.

Frankv47 (author)Cacadogg2016-05-12

While I do understand your concern, you need to remember that rats and mice find food (or in this case bait) mainly by smell. Birds tend to go by visual cues. Bait that isn't brightly colored and in the bird's line of sight is rarely a problem. Also, the fragrances with which baits have been treated attract rats and mice but do nothing for birds. As a result, birds getting into rodent bait stations and eating the bait is not a known problem in practice.

I also should point out that _any_ bait station, including commercially produced ones, by necessity need to provide access for a rat. Since there are birds that are smaller than rats, it is technically impossible to design an effective rat bait station that will keep out birds at the same time.

In closing, rats eat bird eggs and young birds, so in practice more birds tend to fail to reach a ripe old age due to rat activity than get killed in rat bait stations.

So I agree with ClareBS in that collateral damage among your local bird population is not a valid concern.

Cacadogg (author)2016-02-03

FARNAM JUST ONE BITE you get on Amazon is the best bait.

Please be responsible when dealing with poison and make sure to read this article.

ThanQ

https://www.audubon.org/magazine/january-february-2013/poisons-used-kill-rodents-have-safer

About This Instructable

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Bio: Retired teacher from long ago and semi-retired graphic designer who loves the outdoors. American expat living in New Zealand for over 20 years.
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