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Script 61.11

Notes to broadcasters

This program is part of a series of scripts in this package involving the characters Philip (Program Host) and Dr. Compost (Peter Composter). Philip is from the city. He has a weak stomach and is a bit sceptical about farming methods. Dr. Compost is from a rural background but also has a university education in agricultural studies. He puts science on a pedestal, but remains true to his farming roots. The dialogue between Philip and Dr. Compost is meant to be humorous and friendly.

Further suggested program ideas about rat and other animal pest control include:

  • An on-air debate: when does an animal become a pest?
  • Community management of rats
  • Interview with a local farmer about ways she manages rats.

Script

Characters

Philip Kwan:
A city radio host
Dr. Compost, Ph.D. (Peter Composter)
Agricultural specialist in his 70s, somewhat forgetful. He has a farming background but also a university education. His problem is that, sometimes, he digresses from the topic. Nevertheless, the information he provides is always interesting, useful and practical.

INTRODUCE THEME MUSIC AND FADE OUT (10 seconds)

Philip
Hello listeners. We’re talking again with Dr. Peter Composter, an agricultural specialist known to many of you as “Dr. Compost.” Good morning Peter.

Dr. Compost
Yes, it is a good morning!

Philip
Today you will be discussing rat prevention, am I right?

Dr. Compost
Yes. As your listeners probably know, rats do a lot of damage. They eat food you have worked hard to produce and they can spoil your grain. And rats can spread disease.

Philip
Rats are the enemy!

Dr. Compost
Well, let’s not make this a war. Do you know the story of the Pied Piper?

Philip
I recall that it is a story about a village infested with rats.

FADE IN FLUTE OR PIPE MUSIC AND HOLD SOFTLY UNDER DISCUSSION

Dr. Compost
Yes. A man is hired to play his flute to coax the creatures out of hiding. The rats are attracted by the Piper’s music and they follow him out of town.

Philip
So, are you recommending that people hire a piper to lead the rats away?

Dr. Compost
Oh no! This is not about magic but about practical solutions to a rat problem. Did you know that a pair of rats can have a family of more than 1,000 baby rats in just one year?

FADE OUT FLUTE MUSIC

Philip
-Wow. That is one tireless couple!

Dr. Compost
When we think about rat control we first consider how and where rats like to live. You may have noticed that they usually live in quiet, dark places. They often live in the ground under piles of rubbish near places where they can find something to eat and drink. And they like to move from one place to another out of sight – under tall grass, leaves, weeds, tin cans, in fact, under anything that’s lying around, outside or inside.

Philip
So, if rats like to live under piles of rubbish, I suppose we should get rid of any piles of rubbish near the house, or where our food is stored.

Dr. Compost
Yes, that is Rule Number One. Never let your rubbish pile up.

Philip
But I don’t want my garbage anyway. Let the rats eat it! And I have heard that you can use rat manure for fertilizer.

Dr. Compost
Don’t forget that those same rats will also eat other food that you do want like grain and root crops. Too much garbage encourages rats to live and have their big families near your home.

Philip
What if the rats hide in other places?

Dr. Compost
Rats also like to run around and hide in sheltered places where they can’t be seen. Don’t let weeds and tall grass grow around the house or places where you store your grain. Plus, get rid of leaves or anything lying around that they can hide under. If you have grain or feed in sacks in a building, keep the bags away from the wall because otherwise, it will give the rats a good place to hide, to chew into the bags and to steal from you.

Philip
So what is Rule Number Two for rat prevention?

Dr. Compost
Rats can jump – as far and high as 1 metre. Even if there is nothing on the ground for them to hide under, rats will climb poles and trees close by your house, and jump from branches. Rule Number Two is: Cut back any tree branches that come closer than 1 metre to your house or grain storage. And if the storage is up on poles or posts, make rat guards.

Philip
Peter, please describe a rat guard.

Dr. Compost
The rat guard sits on a pole like a collar and looks like a funnel. It is a metal, cone-shaped barrier that is attached around the pole. You can make a rat guard from folded tin. This way, you are preventing the rat from climbing up the pole and getting in your grain and storage. The guards must be 60 centimetres above the ground.

Philip
What if I have some good food to store, for example, food left after a meal?

Dr. Compost
Put food in containers that rats cannot get into. And what about the food you do not want? If you keep pigs or chickens that will eat it, feed it to them, but don’t ever leave it around where rats can get it.

Philip
So, Rule Number Three is: Store food in tight containers.

Dr. Compost
Yes. Remember, garbage will attract rats and make them want to live close to where they can eat it.

Philip
Rats are scary creatures!

Dr. Compost
They have sharp teeth. They have no trouble chewing holes, even through wood, so they can get to where the food is. Block up the rat holes around your place so any new rats that come along won’t move in. Cover holes or chewed cracks in wood with flattened tin cans. And fill holes in plaster, brick and mud with mortar. Concrete is, of course, the best material for storage. It is also used for the floor of the grain storage building. So Rule Number Four is: Make your buildings as rat proof as possible.

Philip
Can you use other animals to scare rats?

Dr. Compost
Good thinking, Philip. A good dog or cat around the place gives rats a scare. If you have done everything else to keep rats away, a dog or cat will certainly help. You can also use mint plants (Mentha cordiphobia) to scare the rats away. Rats hate the smell of mint. If you cut up the mint leaves and stems, crush them and boil them in water, you can use the mixture to spray or simply apply in places where the rats go. Make the mixture as concentrated as possible. There are probably other plants you could use. I don’t know what they are but you could experiment.

Philip
So, let’s hear the Rules of Rat Prevention one more time.

Dr. Compost

  1. Get rid of all rubbish around your place.
  2. Cut back tree branches, so rats cannot jump onto buildings or grain storages.
  3. Keep partly used food in tight containers.
  4. Make your buildings as rat proof as possible.

Philip
No more rats!

SOUND OF FLUTE OR PIPE RETURNS (5 seconds and fade)

Acknowledgements

Adapted by Sunny Ray, Toronto, and Belinda Bruce, Vancouver, Canada, from Farm Radio Network script 22-8, No-cost protection from rats, 1991, and script 3-3, Rat prevention, 1980.

Reviewed by Vigneswaran Theivendaram, Agricultural Specialist, Cambridge, Canada.