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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Controlling Roof Rats on Poultry Farms using ContraPest, A Contraceptive Bait


Roof rats and other rodents are a common pest in agriculture, causing extensive amounts of damage and losses. Poultry farms provide an abundance of resources that attract rodents but our ability to control them in these locations is limited. Bait stations can become sources of nesting or go unused if the target species only travels in aerial locations. Any uncontrolled rats will quickly overpopulate agricultural buildings due to their high reproductive rates. We tested alternative baiting devices at a large poultry farm to develop a station that was easily utilized in aerial locations and well accepted by roof rats. We deployed ContraPest®, a contraceptive liquid bait, in the devices and tracked consumption monthly. We monitored the rat populations for 16 months with remote cameras to measure changes in activity before and during ContraPest baiting using a general index approach. Linear regression showed a significant relationship between ContraPest consumption and the general index. As rats continuously consumed ContraPest from the new baiting devices, activity steadily declined. Within one year of using ContraPest, rat activity reduced by 94%, showing a significant difference from starting activity levels. These results demonstrate the impact an antifertility agent can have on rat populations when used successfully within an integrated pest management program.

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