Thanks Nic. Bit of a battleground! I read up that rats don’t like strong spices, so last night in desperation I mixed curry powder with chilli powder and put the mix about 12 inches away from the entrance of the hog feeding station. I was worried that the hog would have a similar aversion to the spicy mix but about 5 am saw him going into the feeding station. The bowl of dry small dog mix was gone this morning. Didn’t see the rat, but as you said rats are sneaky.
We also have a number of neighbourhood cats visiting, especially in summer. One particularly liked “Spike” (I caught the culprit one day having a late night snack) as it’s chicken based. I used to put the food in an old kennel, which he thought was very handy, thank you very much. Got wise to him and food is now in a hog house just big enough for a hedgehog.