frustrations rabbits in the yard

ianna(Z5b)May 20, 2008

This is a first for me. A rabbit has nested in my backyard and produced 5 or 6 babies. Obviously, I won't be able to move the nest out but what do I do now to protect my plants. This rabbit has already destroyed my apple tree and some trollius flowers. The animal has longer hind legs by the way. Is this a hare or a rabbit?

Ever since I installed a pond, I've had raccoons visiting and now this mother rabbit. Footsteps on the fence and in the pond liner point to nightly visitors.

I haven't started a vegetable garden a result. I wanted to attract birds, especially swallows but instead I got magpies and a couple of robins.

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That is a tough one! I had the same thing happen last year and I will tell you that the little ones get up and out of the nest rather quickly. For me, they were about 10 days old when I discovered them and they were gone within 2 weeks of that time. Mine were cottontail rabbits.

I didn't have much trouble with mother rabbit eating things in the area once they were a couple of weeks old as mom stays away for the most part to avoid predators being alerted to the whereabouts of the nest. When you start to see the crows circling, you will know that they are about ready to leave. However, if you have raccoons, they may not get the chance.

FYI, Mom came back this year to nest in the exact same location and 2 of the babies came back to nest near to the original location later in the season. This time, I could see the evidence of her digging and kept filling in the hole as long as I was certain there were no babies. Eventually she got the hint and moved on.

Bunnies killed 7 of my shrubs this winter. I am about at wits end with them but what can I do?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 12:01PM
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I'm so conflicted. I didn't realize raccoons will eat rabbits. Now I'm worried - I don't want a blood bath in my backyard. I'll have to chicken wire the area, but I don't want to encourage these bunnies to stay too... What a dilemma. Do I protect them or do I let nature take it's course? How soon can I move them out?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 1:09PM
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I have very limited expeience but my research tells me that even if you move them out they will likely make their way back to the nest. Only Mom moving them will truly relocate them.

As far as racoons go, they will eat anything basically and the babies will be at risk but remember that plenty of bunnies live in forests every year that are inhabited with predators galore. I say just let nature take its course. We lost one of the bunnies last year just because the dog next door scared it into jumping into the window well and we were away for a couple of days and it died down there. The kids were devastated but what can you do?

The bunnies will be gone in a couple of weeks and then you can fill in the hole and fix the damage that was done is all I can say. It is actually kind of fun to see the little ones emerge. My garden recovered from the nest just fine. It was the winter nibblers that cost me 7 shrubs!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 9:21AM
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abrodie(z6 ON)

Don't even bother planting vegetables! Except tomatoes, they leave them alone. Personally I am delighted to hear that raccoons will solve my bunny problem. We've had a rabbit problem for 5 years (we call them effinbunnies)and they have killed almost all my roses and shrubs, and the list of what they don't eat is very short. Tomatoes might be it. I have a spray which seems to work: 1 litre water, a big dash of tabasco and the white of an egg. It has to be reapplied every time it rains, and if you don't use the whole thing at one go make sure you put it in the fridge (I left it in the sun one day last summer and it didn't smell pretty).

Again, my condolences on the effinbunnies.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 3:58PM
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I must admit that I was hoping this posting was on how to get rid of rabbits (or effinbunnies as the previous poster so elegantly put it). We have a huge surplus and no predators (development and over zealous hunting has all but eliminated these useful and beautiful creatures). Any good methods of pruning back the bunny population would certainly be appreciated.


Here is a link that might be useful: Our website

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 7:10PM
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I have to admit that I used a "Hav-a-hart" trap this spring,to trap rabbits. It was previously purchased for a raccoon that was intent on ripping off our soffit and making a home in our attic. I baited it with brussel sprouts and carrots. (Mind you, there was a foot of snow on the ground and they'd just finished ringing my lilac's bark, and pruning my spirea and rose of sharon, so they were hungry).
We trapped three, and took them 1/2 a kilometer away to a town park, where thousands of tulip bulbs, as opposed to my 50, were about to erupt.
Have to say that my problem was reduced immensely.
Egg spray with garlic seems to work, but what a pain in April when it rains every other day, and it needs to be renewed.
The foxes and coyotes have been driven natural predators, a surfeit of yummy (cultivated with care) things to eat, and voila.. a surplus of rabbits, and their evil brother squirrels.
My mother in law had a place by the lake, with stepping stones down to the water. On a spring morning, the local fox would leave the heads of squirrels, placed upright on each stone, like so many "John the Babtists" awaiting the dance of the veil.
No Salome, only me with tongs and a garbage bag to deliver the last of their remains to that great squirrel maker in the sky.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 9:55PM
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Alas a very sad ending to this story.. I discovered the babies all died of something. I think perhaps Mama rabbit didn't return or the babies died of some disease. It was heart breaking to see such loss (Yes I know I'd like the bunnies to have moved elsewhere, but I still would have preferred they survived) In addition, the smell has attracted the attentions of a raccoon, who is making a home on a neighbor's deck.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 10:16AM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

I wonder if my squirrel plant-proofing would work for bunnies (of the effin subspecies). I make a paste of vaseline and bloodmeal, and spread it on things the things the squirrels like to eat. Works through a soaking with rain and as long as I remember to reapply it every couple of weeks, I see very little damage. It only really works for branch tips or larger bits of plants though. Leaves and fruits are too hard to coat properly, and besides, I don't want to eat the paste :-).

I only really solved my problems with veggie stealing wildlife by building a big cage over the veggies.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 3:33PM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

the folks in the rose forum are not so gracious to bunnies.

Here is a link that might be useful: a solution

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 6:45PM
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It's not the bunnies that are now my problem. I just installed a birdfeeder on the fence and by a pond. A large amount of seeds disappeared overnight, and it hangs on a metal hook protruding out about 2 feet from the fence, I suspect it must have been a squirrel. Or do raccoons eat finch feeds???

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 9:46AM
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