Our expert says:
Well you win points with me for not wanting to kill them! Getting them to 'move on' is more of a challenge - but not impossible if you persevere.
To help keep rodents out of your property, you need to make it undesirable to them. They like food, water and shelter, so reduce the availability of these:
*Practice good housekeeping - clear up food spills, don't leave food out, and keep all leftovers in secure containers. Rubbish bins, bird feeders, and yes, pet food, are all potential food sources for rats. I wouldn't leave any dog food out. Remember they are excellent at gnawing (e.g. through garbage bags, cardboard boxes, sometimes even through wood) and squeezing through incredibly small holes. Don't leave water out either, and fix dripping taps so they don't have a water source.
*Get rid of clutter and rubbish, both indoors and out - this all serves as shelter for rats. They also like long grass and bushes, so cut these back around buildings. They are good climbers, so remove anything (like overhanging tree branches) that they can use to enter buildings. As your rats seem to have found a particular haven in the roof, you need to tackle that. Clean out the space under the roof thoroughly, removing any droppings, nest materials and clutter; then close up gaps and crevices so they can't re-enter.
Mint is reputed to be a rodent repellent, but I don't think it's very effective - as you've discovered. Do your dogs help at all in controlling the rodent population?
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