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Maybe you find rats adorable, have a pet rat yourself, and want to make sure that it doesn’t come to harm. Maybe you can’t stand rats, would leap up on the table and screech like in an old Black and White screwball comedy if you saw one, and want to keep them away at all costs.
Whether you love rats or hate them, keep a pet rat or wince at the thought of wild ones, you definitely want to keep them away from your birds and birdcages.
Thankfully, these 10 tips for keeping both pet rats as well as wild ones away from your birdcage can help you do just that.
1 – Seal up Any Holes
First and foremost, you want to make sure that there are no spaces for rats to squeeze through holes and into the space where you keep your birds. Search the space around your birdcage and see if there are any holes that a rat might be exploiting.
If so, caulk the hole or close it in another manner of your choosing.
Keep in mind that rats can dig new holes, and it doesn’t take much to help them get started. Even after you have closed that first hole, therefore, you’ll want to check the surrounding area to see if there are any other weak points that rats may be able to exploit to start a new hole and tunnel toward your birdcage.
2 – Keep Birdcages Elevated
As far as the birdcages themselves go, you want to keep them elevated well above the ground to minimize the risk of a rat getting into a fight with them.
You certainly don’t want to think about your pet rat and bird duking it out, and rightfully so, as such a fight is bound to only end with losers and two heavily-wounded pets.
3 – Keep the Floor Clean
Few things are a stronger incentive for a rat to come harass a bird quite like food. Even if your rat doesn’t pose a threat to the bird, and vice versa, they can still squabble over the same food if it is strewn across the floor.
You can’t blame the rat here. From their perspective, someone has been kind enough to lay out a lovely little rat-ready buffet for them in the form of seeds and crumbs.
Making matters messier is the fact that some birds can indeed be messy eaters. Even if you keep the floor beneath the birdcage clean while you feed them, their messily munching on the seeds can leave them strewn all across the floor to your waiting rat’s delight.
You’ll thus want to make sure that you clean the floor beneath your bird after it has finished feeding. To make this easier, you might want to consider putting out trays beneath the birdcage that can collect the stray seeds as they fall from the bird’s beak.
You can even choose to feed these leftover crumbs to your rat afterward. Your bird gets to eat in peace, and your rat still gets some leftover crumbs – everybody wins.
4 – Rat Repellent Sprays
Naturally, if you have a pet rat, you’ll want to make sure that any spray you use is nontoxic. Even if you hate rats, you should still opt for natural, nontoxic options – they’re more humane, and it’s not like you want a pile of dead rats around your home anyway, right?
Natural sprays are also safer for your birds.
Spray around the base of the birdcage and the floor surrounding it.
5 – Move Your Rat’s Cage
The closer your rat is to the birdcage, the better their chance of getting there. What’s more, if your rat is in the same room with your bird, it can see all the food it is getting and thus start to get ideas about busting out and getting that feast for itself.
If your rat continues to harass your bird, therefore, it might just be best to move it to another room.
6 – Introduce Your Pets Gradually
If you do want to have your bird and rat in the same room, it is best to introduce the two gradually. Make sure both are very well behaved to start with, and always have treats on hand to guide their first interactions with one another.
If your bird starts to show it is nervous or uncomfortable with the rat, take the rat away immediately. You can always try and reintroduce them at another time.
That said, if this happens a few times in a row, your bird may be telling you that they’re not interested in making your rat’s acquaintance, and you should respect that, lest you simply terrorize your poor bird.
7 – Buy Cages with Narrower Bars
This category is as self-explanatory as it gets. If your rat keeps slipping through the bars of its cage to go harass your birds, a quick fix is to opt for bars that are closer together.
8 – Consider Humane Traps
Obviously you won’t want to resort to this if you are dealing with your own pet rat. However, if it is wild rats that are continually harassing your bird in its birdcage, it might be time to break out a trap or two.
That said, if at all possible you should opt for humane and nonlethal traps.
For one thing, as mentioned, you probably don’t want a bunch of rat corpses strewn around your birdcage. For another, it is simply kinder and more humane to trap the rats alive and release them.
If the rats keep coming back, you’ll want to call animal control to deal with the matter humanely and professionally. They can take the rats away and eliminate their source, and hopefully do so without killing them.
9 – Add Protection to the Top of the Birdcage
One thing to keep in mind about rats is that they can be surprisingly good climbers. This is why we suggested making sure that your birdcage was elevated well above the ground, but it is also why you’ll want to make sure that your bird cannot be harassed by rats that climb well.
To that end, you might want to try repositioning the feeder pole so it is away from trees that the rats can more easily climb. This way, they cannot simply go from tree branches to your birdcage.
Additionally, you might want to consider spraying a bit further up the feeder’s pole as well as the base to make sure that rats are warded off by repellent as much as possible from as many angles as possible.
10 – Change What You Feed Your Birds
Your birds may be picky eaters, but sometimes, rats force your hand by gobbling up those leftovers on the ground.
If there are wild rats about even after you have tried cleaning up after the bird, or if they are lying in wait to time things so they can eat the crumbs as they fall from your bird’s mouth, consider changing the type of food you feed your bird to something less savory for the rats.
By following these steps, you can safeguard your birdcage against wild rats while establishing a better and more peaceful relationship between your pet rat and bird.