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Nesting Rabbits

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Nesting Rabbits

Postby Aethelweard » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:52 am

We recently found nesting baby bunnies in our back yard, 2 live and 3 dead. We were confused about what to do(wildlife refugee or leave them). Our decision was to leave them. We have 2 huge dogs and our back yard and front yard are connected. We let them out and 1 snuck off to the back. Needless to say we figured out what was killing them. We took the only one that was still alive to a wildlife refugee. My question is, how do you stop rabbits from nesting in your yard? I would hate to see these poor little creatures go thru this again. Thank You.
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Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:11 am

Nesting Rabbits

Postby Archy » Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:59 pm

Dear Brooke

Thanks for your question. I think that you need to make some difficult decisions. If you allow your dogs to run around the yards, there is a good chance that they will kill any baby rabbits in your garden. If you want to stop rabbits nesting in your garden, you will have to prevent them entering your garden. If rabbits find your garden attractive, they will also be tempted to nest there. I have looked at various websites to find ways to deter rabbits from entering the garden, but without causing them harm. Some of the sites include details about trapping, poisoning and shooting rabbits. I have not included this information, as I believe that you wish the rabbits to stay alive and that you wouldn't want them to be harmed through your actions. http://www.bugspray.com/articles99/rabbits.html says that traditional approaches including wire fences, scarecrow-like dolls or predatory animals will not work for large rabbits. 1. FENCING   http://landscaping.about.com/cs/pests/a/easter_rabbit_2.htm and http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7447.html suggest that you surround a garden with a rabbit-proof fence, made from chicken wire. Use chicken wire that is 36-48" wide; that 36-48" will be the height of the fencing. Dig a trench about 6-10" deep and 8" wide(assuming your light stakes will be about 2" wide), to form the perimeter for rabbit-proof fences. Pound the stakes in on the inside of the trench. Bend the bottom 6" of the chicken wire outward along the ground(forming a letter "L" shape). This 6" flange will prevent rabbits from tunnelling under the fencing and into your garden. Set the flange end of the chicken wire fencing down into the trench, with the flange pointing away from your garden. Fill the trench back in with dirt, burying the flange(and also burying about the bottom 6" of the vertical part of the "L" shape). Staple or tie the chicken wire to stakes. The closer the stakes are to each other, the more support you're providing your rabbit-proof fences.  Mesh size should be no larger than 1 inch to exclude young rabbits. Use tight-fitting gates with sills to keep rabbits from digging below the bottom rails. Keep gates closed as much as possible because rabbits can be active day or night. Inspect the fence regularly to make sure rabbits or other animals have not dug under it. You can use reusable fence panels in place of a wire fence. Construct a wood lath or PVC frame 24 to 30 inches in height. You can vary the length of the panels to match the size of the garden or area to be protected. Attach 1-inch mesh wire to the frame. Wire the panels to lightweight, temporary fence posts. The low panels allow gardeners easy access and can be moved when required. Cottontails and brush rabbits will not jump a 2-foot fence. Jackrabbits ordinarily will also not jump a 2-foot fence unless chased by dogs or otherwise frightened. Discourage jumping by increasing the above ground height to 3 feet. In snow areas, a higher fence may be required. Once a rabbit gets into the fenced area, it may not be able to get out.http://landscaping.about.com/cs/pests/a/easter_rabbit_2.htm and http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7447.html  say that electric fencing or fencing do not require a trench. Pound in your stakes first and attach insulators to the stakes. You'll suspend 2 wires from these insulators. Run the bottom wire along the outside of the stakes, about 2" above the ground. Run the top wire along the inside, about 4" above the ground. Electric rabbit-proof fences can be charged with an electric fencing charger for gardens. Electric netting is easier to installation and reposition. You should consult a reputable dealer regarding its use.http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7447.html says you should inspect barriers regularly to ensure rabbits are not breaching the barrier(s). Inspect previously undamaged plantings for new damage, as the rabbits may switch to new food sources after being excluded from an existing feeding site. REPELLENTShttp://experts.about.com/q/Pests-730/rabbit-garden.htm says you can sprinkle cayenne pepper liberally on any plants, which rabbits relish. This can be time consuming, especially if your garden is large, and the pepper must be reapplied after a rain. Marigolds and garlic may repel rabbits, but rabbits may eat young marigolds. http://experts.about.com/q/Pests-730/rabbit-garden.htm says that chemical Repellents include coyote or fox urine, Deer-Off, and Ropel. They are very effective but very expensive and must be reapplied after rain. http://www.bugspray.com/articles99/rabbits.html says that coyote urine has long been believed to naturally repel rabbits and other prey animals. Apply it along property lines to keep rabbits out of your yard. Use some in several areas to produce a round zone or barrier, which rabbits will enter.http://www.bugspray.com/articles99/rabbits.html says that you can get rabbits to forage elsewhere by using products such as Rid-A-Critter in gardens. This granule smells bad and rabbits will avoid treated areas. You can use it to form a barrier around your property. Rid-A-Critter withstands rain and sun and may last 2-3 months.   Granule/Liquid Guards hold the granules/liquid and protects them from the rain and sun. Install them along pathways, in flowerbeds and other areas where rabbits are active. Sprinkle some on the ground where the rabbits are most active, but once they are gone you can use the Guards exclusively. The repellents work best if rabbits come around the property and don't live there. Ropel Liquid can be used on rabbit food plants and will repel rabbits to feed elsewhere. Mesh-like plastic animal netting can be tied down and placed around plants. PHYSICAL TACTICShttp://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7447.html says that frightening devices, such as noisemakers and flashing lights, are generally not effective. Ultrasonic units, which rely on sound waves to repel rabbits, are not effective. http://www.bugspray.com/articles99/rabbits.html says you can spray rabbits with water from a garden hose or a motion-activated spraying device, which uses a motion detector to sense any movement in its "zone", which can be adjusted for distances up to 35 feet. It will spray a rabbit with a three second blast of water. It then resets within 10 seconds and can spray again. It runs off a 9 volt battery, has a water port pass through to allow several hooked up in series and can used on most nuisance animals. PREDATORShttp://experts.about.com/q/Pests-730/rabbit-garden.htm says that outdoor cats repel rabbits. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7447.html says that letting a pet dog loose within the area can help keep rabbits away. Rabbits generally cope well with predators and maintain their populations in spite of this threat.

HABITAT MANAGEMENThttp://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7447.html says that you can change your garden to deter rabbits from nesting there. Remove hiding cover to discourage rabbits, especially in suburban habitats where alternate habitats may be limited. Remove brambles, piles of brush, stones, or other debris where rabbits might hide. Control vegetation along fence rows, ditch banks or brushy areas. Removing cover will probably have little effect on jackrabbits because they can use cover that is often great distances from the feeding sites.

I hope that these ideas have helped you and that you will continue to enjoy watching rabbits, even if they do not live in your garden.

All the best

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Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:04 am

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