are rats attracted to bird seed

Bird feeders are containers filled with birdseed placed outdoors to attract wild birds. They are excellent for bird watching and make a fun addition to any yard.

Unfortunately, pesky rats love bird feeders. They are attracted to the birdseed and enjoy snacking on this steady food source. But rats are also intelligent and resourceful. Before you know it, they will be moving into your home!

It is possible to have a bird feeder and keep your home and yard rat-free. Keep reading to learn more about rat behavior and how to keep rats away from bird feeders.

Rat Behaviors You Should Know

Knowing how rats behave will help you prevent them from using your bird feeders.

Rats are a common pest in human environments. They thrive in both rural and city areas because they eat a wide variety of foods. Rats tend to follow the same foraging path and are curious animals. They purposefully test out new items to see if it is edible for them or not.

Rats create their foraging routes at night, when they are most active. Because they are creatures of habit, they frequently take the same paths. Depending on the species, rats can live alone or with other people.

Rats are also very hardy. They can fall from several stories and survive. They move along telephone lines or fence tops as they pass through neighborhoods, frequently in search of food.

Interestingly, rats are clever creatures. They, like humans, avoid unpleasant experiences and seek rewards. Knowing these characteristics helps keep rats away from your property.

For Seed and Nut Feeders, Block Rodent Access:

  • Climbing animals can be stopped by a freestanding pole equipped with a baffle, which is a metal disc or cylinder. Offering multiple foods of any kind is made possible by a multi-armed pole, as seen below, which is shielded by a single baffle.
  • A feeder that is suspended from a tree, or perhaps beneath a pergola or beam, will be shielded by a hanging dome baffle.
  • Weight-sensitive feeders shut out rodents. See our Defeating Squirrels page for examples of these feeders and the baffle techniques discussed here.
  • As long as window feeders are placed a few feet away from any climbable objects, such as tree branches, they are generally safe from rodents.

Pole Baffle

Dome Baffle

Weight-sensitive Feeder

Rodents are easier to block than athletic squirrels, whose jumping ranges reach up to ten feet. Existing feeders can be protected with pole-mounted or dome baffles, and weight-sensitive feeders like the Squirrel Buster series can still be used to make difficult-to-baffle areas, like deck rail-mounted feeders, inaccessible.

2. Keep Food Off the Ground

All you need to do is keep the ground tidy if your feeders are out of reach for rodents. Apart from the “foods that rodents don’t like” mentioned previously, there exist methods to provide nearly every food without causing any mess on the floor.


What bird seed does not attract rats?

Hot Pepper suet or Hot Pepper-treated seed. Birds will not be affected by these foods, but they are highly distasteful to mammals. Hot Pepper suet cakes, cylinders, balls, and nuggets are easily substituted for other flavors, while you can also offer loose seed in a hot pepper form.

Does having bird feeders attract rats?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes: Bird feeders can and do attract rats to your yard. Rats living in the wild feed on all sorts of things. They are scavengers and opportunistic omnivores. This means they will eat whatever they can find, whether it is plant or animal matter.

How do I keep rats away from my bird seed?

Keeping seed in a metal, rodent-proof container is the best solution. If you cannot find a metal container (heavy, plastic rubbermaid totes are not suitable as they can be chewed through easily) store the seed in an area that rodents cannot reach. Keep feeding areas tidy.

Do sunflower seeds attract rats?

Grains and Seeds Rodents love baked goods of all kinds. They also take delight in the crunchiness of seeds, including flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. The quick energy of carbohydrates sends these pests burrowing into cabinets and pantries looking for more. Rodents relish both fresh and old, moldy samples.