Control and Prevention – Rabbits
Even though rabbits can be cute as pets or even when seen hopping through the grass across an empty field, undomesticated or wild rabbits can cause a lot of damage to gardens and landscaping. Rabbits will feed on a large range of plants including young trees, broccoli, nuts, berries, herbs and of course – cabbages and carrots. But you can control and get rid of rabbits with the right tools, we’ll outline some of the main ways that people have controlled and prevented the flow of rabbits in an area.
How can rabbits be controlled in the most humane way?
- Fencing – By erecting a 4 foot tall wire-mesh fence and burying the bottom at least 6 inches below ground you can easily stop almost all rabbits from entering an area where you might be growing crops or vegetables in the garden. Bend a few inches of the fence bottom out, this will deter rabbits from digging under it. Mesh size should be no larger than one inch to exclude young rabbits. Also it is a good idea to install tight-fitting gates with sills underneath them to keep rabbits from digging and keep the gates closed as much as possible during the day and night.
- Tree Wrap – If individual plants are easier to protect than a wide area, you can consider just using some smaller pieces of chicken wire formed into cylinders to wrap around the trunks of young trees, shrubs or vines with the bottoms buried deep enough so that it will stop any rabbits from digging down and nibbling through the mesh to get to the plants.
- Cleanup – By removing brambles, piles of brush, stones, or other debris along fence rows and ditches you can minimize hiding places for certain species of cottontail and brush rabbits. However, removing cover will have little effect on other species as they can often use the cover that tends to be greater distances from their feeding sites.
- Repellant – Rabbit repellents work best during the early years before woody plants bear fruit or during the winter season where it is unlikely to contaminate anything growing on the trees or plants. However, with a few exceptions, most repellents cannot be used on plants or plant parts that will be eaten by humans as the risk of cross-contamination and danger to human life is too great.
- Rabbit Disco – Noisemakers, flashing lights, and ultrasonic repellers can sometimes be effective, although rabbits may start of warey they will soon learn that there is no threat behind the noise and lights and carry on entering the land to eat everything in side. But a feisty pet dog left loose within the area to be protected may be worth his weight in dog treats when it comes to rabbit chasing!
- Trapping – Live trapping of rabbits is not recommended because rabbits can carry diseases which may be transmittable to the trapper. There is also the small chance of the trap not working as intended, or the rabbit biting the trap owner when it comes to being released.
Some alternative ways to catch and dispose of rabbits are to shoot them when you notice them on your land, this requires a special license and consent from the council. For more details on shooting rabbits you should be able to find the information required on your local council or government website.