BASF Pest Control Solutions UK
BASF Pest Control Solutions UK

Selontra®, controlling rats at a smallholding in less than seven days

When Ben Freer, owner of a smallholding near Barnstaple, discovered damage to his hen house and found chicken feed going missing, he suspected a colony of rats had moved in over winter. Here, we look at how Ben used BASF’s cholecalciferol rodenticide bait, Selontra®, to control the infestation in less than seven days.

  • Damage to the woodwork of a hen house
  • Consumption of feed and contamination of feed stores
  • 0.5 kg of Selontra® used
  • Total eradication in fewer than seven days

The Challenge

Evidence of rat activity had been building at Ben’s 45 acre smallholding over the winter months. He suspected that a colony had gained entry to his hen house, which was located in an old stable on the land of his family home near Barnstaple, Devon.

It wasn’t until the house cat started to present the family with young rats that Ben realised the problem was getting out of control, so he decided to investigate further. When Ben approached the hen house, he heard distinct scrattling as the rats scattered, indicating there was a very active infestation on site.

Upon further investigation, he found evidence of where the rats had gnawed the building’s wood structure to gain access to the barn, as well as extensive droppings along rat runs. Alarmingly, he soon began seeing groups of up to six rats at a time during daylight, indicating that the colony was at least two or three times larger than that - and increasing! Chicken food was disappearing at an alarming rate too.

Ben said: “Initially, I was reticent about using bait due to the danger to wildlife and the family dogs and cat. I had heard about Selontra® and its new mode of action, and was interested in its claims of speed. I was also drawn to the product as it is non-bio accumulative in the environment. I got myself on a course organised by the local farming Co-operative (Mole Avon) so that I understood how to use the product safely and effectively”.

The Result

Before placing the rodenticide, Ben tracked the rat run back from the hen house to a hedge to establish where the burrows were situated, where he found four burrows approximately 5 metres away from the building. Ben deduced that the rats were entering at the eaves and running along the top of the wall before climbing down the wire mesh to eat the hen food. He tracked their route up the ivy on the rear wall of the stable, so began proofing the site before laying bait, by removing the ivy from the wall and any surrounding cover, as well as tidying around the site.

After proofing, bait boxes were placed on the top of the wall and outside on the rat run. Due to the rural location, Ben decided to also use a covered and protected approach to baiting, so threaded five blocks of Selontra® onto sturdy garden wires and placed them along the four rat runs, before covering the bait points with clay tiles to ensure it wasn’t accessible to any non-target species.

When Ben returned to check the bait points and found that there had been a 100% uptake. He replenished the bait points and returned five days later to find that there had been minimal uptake, indicating that repeat baiting was not necessary as he assumed the rats had already consumed a lethal dose.

Ben commented: “I was amazed at how effective it was! In less than seven days, we had no more rat activity in the hen house and adjoining stables. The speed of control was the key benefit for us, and it is clearly a very palatable product as the uptake was immediate. I’d recommend to any farmers or smallholding owners to get Selontra® certified and try it out if they’re having rat issues.”

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