Another question?? Bunnies

ellix(augusta ga)February 28, 2006

Please tell me what do bunnies eat? I moved here by a pond and the woods 6 months ago. Since then I actually put in a med size pond up next to my house (I needed a pond- a gold fish pond to play with-plants and fish). I have seen bunnies near the yard. Now tell me what do they like to eat?? I know nothing about bunnies and they look hungry. I see all animals as someone who needs supper-EXCEPT hawks!!! (Yes, I know they need to eat-BUT just not around me-not my birds!--not any of them). Lost a mamma bluebird in the summer to them-as she was about to feed her babies! Can't handle that part of nature. Does anyone have any methods that can deter them? Not crazy about snakes either. Everything else come get dinner!

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catherinet(5 IN)

I think you'll change your mind about bunnies, when you start growing bushes and trees and flowers in your yard. They eat EVERYTHING. I finally had to fence in my back yard, to keep them (and the deer) from eating everything.
I don't think you ever have to worry about bunnies not having enough to eat.....except when there is a ton of snow, and then they will eat low-lying branches and bark. They do eat birdseed.
I quit feeding the birds a few years ago, when I got chickens, because the fallen seed always attracted the coons.......who love chicken. I also would have a cooper's hawk who would pick a bird or 2 from the feeder.
I guess if you don't want hawks, you might have to re-think if you are attracting what they like to eat.
It's like my water gardens.....I have them to attract frogs, but they attract snakes that eat the frogs too........
I feel that we can't always interrupt nature, in order to get only those parts that we want...... so you might have to learn to accept the losses to the hawks. But I do understand your sadness over it. I think the snake got my favorite frog. But that's how nature works.....and if I controlled it all, it probably wouldn't be anywhere near as balanced.
I try to protect those things that might get easily eaten. Like my chickens........I have them in a totally secure big run. But.......that means they never can enjoy a totally free-ranged environment. Sometimes, it's a compromise that we humans have to make. I'm not sure it's what the animals would choose though!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 10:19AM
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ericwi

Maybe 10 years ago, I tried to get some raspberry seedlings started in the backyard. They would grow two or three new leaves, get 6 inches high, and our local rabbit would come along and nibble everything down to the stem. This must have happened several times, it started to become a standing joke.
I perservered, and the raspberry seedlings finally got up to a foot or so, at which point they were no longer of interest to the rabbit. Our raspberry patch is now threatening to overtake the yard, so we no longer worry about the local rabbits. We have 20 blueberry shrubs, and I did see some rabbit damage to one shrub recently. They eat the tips of the lower branches.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 2:30PM
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ellix(augusta ga)

Thanks for the responses. I know I have a lot to learn. I'm trying. If I see a hawk I will be out running and yelling at it. I love all life. The bunnies must have a food that they love better than all others and I could grow it special for them. I will be growing lots of plants for the buttrflies and want the bunnies to be happy with their own as well. I also planted some blueberries and blackberries. Hope I will get to eat some of them. Didn't know bunnies liked them. As I said I am new to the country and have a lot to learn. Just trying to avoid problems before they happen or at least find out ways that may have worked for others.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 7:05PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

You must be so excited to be living in the country! You'll have so much fun. It's a lifelong learning experience........but it's a great one!
About growing food for bunnies. Try putting in a garden for yourself, and that will keep them fed. hahaha
Seriously, they LOVE everything! They especially like young everything......the tender stuff.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 10:01PM
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ellix(augusta ga)

Yes I am excited. I am looking forward to living here and planning out my gardens. From what I am hearing I may be having trouble with that? Well now if bunnies eat the new growth of everything then isn't there something they love over all the rest? I could plant tons of it for them. Thanks again, molly

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 6:55AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

No Molly,
They will ALWAYS go after the new little plants in your garden. Trust me. I'm 56. I know these things. lol!
I can remember back to my first garden when I was about 25. Every time I would go back to it, the plants would be gone. I would call a farmer friend and keep asking "What can I do, what can I do?" And he kept saying "You gotta have a fence". I didn't want to believe him.......but that's what I had to do. And that's what I've had to do every year since. I've seen some people with beautiful gardens without fences, but I guess I live in a really bunny-friendly place.......lots of woods.
And the fence has to be a 1" mesh chicken wire fence that goes all the way into the ground all around. But you can put up a pretty easy 2 or 3' chicken wire fence around a garden.
But then the deer will step over it and eat everything. lol! Life is fun out in the country!
You'll just have to learn by trial and error what works for you in your neck of the woods. But it will be fun! Just always plant enough in your garden for you AND the animals!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 9:57PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

ellix, another thing you may learn, mother nature seldom needs your intervention. The rabbits were getting along fine with their own menu before you took up residence nearby - you wouldn't want them to become dependent on you for a food source.

That said, we don't have many wild rabbits here in town, the few I've seen will 'graze' often on clover and the self seeding nasturtiums - they were welcome to both.

ericwi, I did watch one little cutie (about teenage for rabbits) standing on hind legs stripping the lower leaves from the raspberries - it wasn't big enough to cause significant damage to the established canes :)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 3:25PM
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garden_luvr(z5 MO)

Dandelions!! I'm sure you have plenty those around. They love to eat the flowers, stems and leaves. It's funny because most people are trying their hardest to rid their lawns of them and then wonder why the rabbits are devouring their other plants.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 8:55PM
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sarahbn(z6Pa.)

They do love dandelions that's true! I have two house rabbits Their favorite food is parsley which I am thinking of growing this summer because I buy so much they love escarole and romaine and chicory too which I am going to grow as well. Lots of greens. Outside I see rabbits eat grass clover and dandelions. Sarah

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 9:54PM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

Wide blade grasses, dandelions, clover, plaintain, mint, raspberry and blackberry leaves, lemon balm, thyme, basil, oregano, dill, ... all those wonderful green things!! Good healthy grass or wide-blade grasses. Oh, you can plant some petunias too and they'll love you for those. Seriously, keep the yard pesticide free and the bunnies you have will forage for good items to nibble. I plant specifically to keep and attract the few rabbits we see in our neighborhood. Most are killed off, so keep in mind that if you start to have an overbundance, it's going to hasten in/attract preds like Hawks, raccoons (who eat the young), domestic and feral cats, free-roaming dogs, etc., etc. Offer plenty of safe haven brush piles or thickly wooden areas. Yea, two red tails in the sky this weekend. We'll be planting this summer for Added cover for the beelers. From your comments, sounds like you got some bunny-heaven going on at the present state. sigh, how I'd love to have a couple more peaceful herbivore creatures to gaze at at dawn and dusk. Their wild happy dances remind me of our companion pets. The poops (from my house bunnies, too!) are great fertilizer.

Keep us posted. Link pictures if you can. Love to see them, fcf
Nice to meet another wildlife gardener who doesn't view them as abhorrent pruners.

[ vonyon, sarahbn, my hubby did a recent rescue of domestics. skip to site to view visuals. ]

Please share the wild cottontail stories as time allows. Regards to the lil' wild ones who feel secure and content in your yard, pond and garden area. :)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 11:50AM
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ellix(augusta ga)

I am blessed at least with thick shrubbry plants around the yard-which is where I have seen the bunnies. I did plant blackberries as well as blueberries near that area. I figure there will be plenty for me and them and the birds. I am planting more plants--trying to create a butterfly haven as well. So the large butterfly bushes will create more safe places for them and (others). Sounds like the butterfly hosts plants are also favorites of the bunnies--the herbs anyway. I will plant many extras. I just don't want to walk upon a snake--though I am trying to train myself as I know with ponds and wildlife I won't be able to escape them. Glad to see others love wildlife as I do. I put in a goldfish pond up near the house/porch because I new I would need one even though I had a 2 1/2 acre pond about 100 feet down from my house. Over the winter I have trained those fish to wait nearby for dinner. They have gone and told others and more and more - hundreds now. I now sit out with a glass of wine and so enjoy feeding them- as well as the turtles.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 7:42PM
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