Rabbits. Help!

cedarglenJune 22, 2013


It has been a while since I've posted, but I'm a frequent browser. As you can see from my subject line, we have some unwanted residents on our property this year! Up until this winter we had two dogs, who, sadly, passed away of old age. Now we have at least a dozen rabbits living in our clearing in the woods. My flower gardens seem ok so far - minimal damage (crossing fingers!). The worst occurrence thus far was that they girdled an unprotected apple tree, and thanks to Google I know it will die eventually as a result. Tonight I was out admiring my fenced veggie garden, and who should I see but an adorable little bunny hopping towards my chard. Ugh. We fenced the veggie area for deer when we bought the property, but I didn't realize that rabbits would be an issue at the time, so there are several openings at the ground level. I'll patch those as well as I can in the morning. What else can/should I do? I am super frustrated! I have a 1 year old baby and a 4 year old son, so gardening at all is a huge feat of persistence. I usually do it after bedtime until it is too dark to see... so of course I am beside myself to think that my efforts could be destroyed by some bunnies. So, I guess my question is this - have you dealt with rabbits? Am I really in for it? How bad is this problem, and what can I do? My gardening friends have advised me to get a dog or a cat, but with two kids, goats, a horse, and acreage I feel like I have enough to take care of for now :). That would be my last choice. Thanks in advance!

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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

There are all kinds of threads on controlling rabbit damage that you could search and read. Given your description of your life, I would recommend barriers. Put trunk protectors around any young or delicious tree trunks. Add a 2 foot tall layer of chicken wire around the outside of your garden fence, and allow an extra 12-18 inches to extend out over the ground to prevent digging. Baby bunnies can slip through chain link without thinking. Ground hogs or wood chucks may still wreak havoc, but we can cross that bridge if we come to it. The benefit of my suggestions is that you do it once and you're done. Applying repellents requires re-treating whenever it rains, and scare tactics wear out over time. Good luck.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 8:56AM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

I am not much help. I got a chuckle though, it sounds like Mr. McGregor's cabbage patch.
When I lived near a wooded area my cat would bring baby rabbits in the dog door. Maybe you could get a cat.
Here the animal shelters have what they call barn cats. Semi-feral cats that have been neutered.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 11:50AM
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abrodie(z6 ON)

I feel your pain. We call our garden the Salad Bar. We gave up on vegetables long ago but the bunnies have a wide ranging palate. I beat an egg in the blender, add it to a couple of cups of water and a shot of dishwashing soap and spray everything they have eaten in the past. So far the barberries, ferns, nasturtiums, basil, a few morning glories and most roses (except a new Lousie Odier) still have leaves. They love the coreopsis but I no longer expect that to ever bloom, it is more like cut and come again lettuce for them.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 1:30PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

My mom lives in Ontario and had a lot of rabbits so I gave her Deervik, and it really works! It does not however work for chimunks in her containers, but the rabbits have steered clear!
I have not seen a rabbit in our area for 13 years, and the other day I saw one in a neighbors yard. Normally with all the cats and stray or lost dogs, there aren't any, I was quite surprised to see one!!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 6:19PM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

If you have a dog groomer near by you could get some dog hair clippings and spread them around the plants that the bunnies seam most drawn to. It works in my country gardens for several years before I have to replace it. I kind of dig it in around the plants. And of course a dog will help. Chiuahhas (sp) and terriers are meant to go after small mammals like rabbits, voles, and moles as they were bred as "hole" dogs. Love my Jack Russell's! They will also keep coons out of the corn. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 1:33PM
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This may not be what you want to read...but get a cat or maybe two! My barn kitties keep everything out of the garden, except the deer. Good luck with 'hunting wabbits' :)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 8:01PM
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koszta_kid(Iowazone 5)

We spray cat and dog begone around veggy area and flowers. But it works for coons rabbits. And we had rabbit eat on apple tree. This was Years ago. We painted it. And put wire around base. This was 16 years ago

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 7:59AM
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There are websites that sell wild animal urine pellets(cougars, bears, etc) which I had considered out of desperation because neighbors who walk their dogs kept using my yard as their dogs' toilet.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 2:43PM
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My best suggestion is to get a Baxter. They are terrifying creatures, bent on rabbit destruction...

But really, I'd plug up those little holes in your fence, try the rabbit repellent, or at least let a Baxter pee on everything in your yard. Rabbits are hard ones. :(

This post was edited by littlelizzy123 on Thu, Feb 6, 14 at 18:33

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 6:30PM
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Lizzy, your Baxter is an adorable creature altho not too terrifying! Maybe to rabbits but he looks a little laid back, and very cuddly!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 6:45PM
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