applesofgold
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Keeping Out the Wild Rabbits!

My wife and I have wanted to start a vegetable garden for many years now, but our biggest obstacle is the wild rabbits! There are hundreds, if not thousands of them in our area and any vegetable plants we put are eaten overnight.

We are thinking of apportioning off a small section of our yard with rabbit-proof fencing, but there are the aesthetics to consider also, as we have an organic looking, beautiful yard and do not want fencing right in the middle of it.

Any recommendations? How can we deal with the rabbits (my wife already ruled out poisoning them and I tend to agree). Do wooden fences work? Can rabbits jump over them? Any other suggestions?

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Kisal
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There is a type of fencing designed to keep rabbits out. It's called rabbit fencing, and if you ask for that at your nearest home improvement or hardware store, they should know exactly what you're talking about.

Rabbits dig, however, so you would probably have the best luck if you laid about 12" of chicken wire on the ground along the outside of the bottom edge of the rabbit wire fencing. The rabbits won't be able to dig through it. They could easily bite through chicken wire, but I doubt they'll be inclined to do so when it's flat on the ground. That's the best non-lethal solution I can offer. Others may have better ideas. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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SPierce
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I've been using chicken wire and we have rabbits too- it's worked fairly well! In terms of aesthetics, some fencing actually comes in a dark green,s o you may want to keep an eye out for that as well! Its still going to stick out, just not as much. Sometimes you have to do what's best for the protection of your plants :)

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Intriguedbybonsai
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Here are a few suggestions I found from other sites;

Plant a double row of onions around your garden, as rabbits do not like onion.

Plant clover around your garden. They will tend to eat this first instead of your vegetables.

Spray a diluted solution of hot pepper sauce(Tabasco), and water on your vegetables. May need to be reapplied after a rain.

Try planting with raised beds which are 18 inches in height.

Install motion sensor water sprinklers, which will scare away the rodents once their presence is detected.

Sprinkle fox or coyote urine around your garden. Can be acquired from many garden, or farm supply stores.

Place rabbit traps in your garden. Then you can release them miles away from your home.

Get a cat or dog. Or several of them.

DeborahL
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So far, so good, nobody suggested killing them.
I have two little boys one might call rabbits, and I also love their outdoor cousins.
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

Flatlander_MB
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I use 24" high chicken wire around my garden, slightly buried at the bottom to prevent the rabbits from burrowing under. I've never had a problem with rabbits jumping the fence or with them biting through the wire.

If you'd like a more decorative look to your fence, you can line the inside of a small wooden fence with chicken wire - you'll see the wooden fence and the wire fencing will practically disappear.

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Gary350
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I have experemented with a motion detector and a school bell. When the bell rings the animals run away. They come back and the bell scares them away again. After scaring them away several times they learn not to come back any closer than the place where the bell goes off. It is interesting how they sneak up very slow they finally learn not to get any closer and the bell will not go off.

During the day you can come and go to the garden as often as you like the bell never goes off when the sun it up.

Flatlander_MB
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Gary350 wrote:I have experemented with a motion detector and a school bell. When the bell rings the animals run away. They come back and the bell scares them away again. After scaring them away several times they learn not to come back any closer than the place where the bell goes off. It is interesting how they sneak up very slow they finally learn not to get any closer and the bell will not go off.

During the day you can come and go to the garden as often as you like the bell never goes off when the sun it up.
That might work for DeborahL's boys, too! :lol:

DeborahL
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:x :lol:
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

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Kisal
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School bells and little boys are known to be like oil and water! They don't mix well! LMFAO
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DeborahL
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:shock:
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

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jal_ut
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Unfortunately, the only solution short of killing the rabbits, it to fence an area. I would use 1 inch mesh chicken wire 4 feet wide and bend ten inches over to lay on the ground on the outside to prevent digging. No, the rabbits will not bite holes in it.

If aesthetics are more important than utility, maybe you can grow some house plants?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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digitS'
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Re: Keeping Out the Wild Rabbits!

applesofgold wrote:. . . Do wooden fences work? Can rabbits jump over them? Any other suggestions?
I don't think that rabbits will jump a very high fence. To give you an idea of what they can get thru - I've seen cottontails go thru a woven wire fence without hardly slowing down :shock: . Those fences are popular in suburban areas but so, seem to be, the dang rabbits!

The neighbors to my big veggie garden are very tolerant of the wild rabbits and there are some people about 1 mile down the road who have released domestic rabbits onto their lawn :roll: . They have been there for years and I think that the big spruce trees, with branches all the way to the ground, are the only things saving them from the coyotes! I am really hoping the coyotes keep ALL the rabbits a little more in check but know that dog & cat owners aren't too happy about so many coyotes around . . .

I'd bet that a wood picket fence of about 4' with chicken wire on the inside would keep rabbits out. The wire would have to go into the soil or they will just dig under. And, it would need to be a solid board fence to keep them from just walking thru without the wire behind it.

Steve

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Intriguedbybonsai
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Haha, the hat says McGregor, as in Mr. McGregor from the Peter Cottontail book.

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Gary350
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I use to know a guy that had a wire fence around his garden to keep out rabbits and other small animals. Instead of putting up a gate to get IN/OUT of the garden he dug a hole 3 ft wide between the 2 fence posts, 2 ft across and 2 ft deep. The sides of the hole were straight up vertical. Animals would come at night and walk around the fence looking for a place to get in. When they came to the gate opening they fell in the hole and could not get out. He had a small wooden box trap in the bottom of the hole, when the sun came up night animals went into the dark box. He would drive the animals down the road several miles and let them out. Cool idea. :)

Farm supply stores have 14 guage 1" x 2" mesh fence wire it comes in 2, 3, and 4 ft heights, 50 and 100 ft lengths . Chain link fence is about the same price.

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jal_ut
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He would drive the animals down the road several miles and let them out. Cool idea.
Never a good idea! Just giving someone else the problem. Not cool at all. If you are going to trap them, better plan on killing them! Rabbits are good eating. :wink:
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Intriguedbybonsai
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Rabbits are pretty good eating though. lol I had a cousin who wouldn't eat wild rabbit because he said they have warbles. But if it were me I would just kill the varmints plain and simple. Rabbits multiply like crazy.

TransonicMan
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Keeping Rabbits out of the Garden

I used to hunt. I bet you "fox urine" that you can buy at your local sporting goods store would work like a charm. I am rototilling now and I had bought fence but decided to increase the size of the garden. Now I don't have money for more fence but I bet I can afford some fox piss. They are a natural predator in most areas. Many times you wouldn't even know it but they are there. Hunters use fox urine as a masking scent while hunting to cover up their stanking human scent. When you smell it you will know why it works. The deer know the scent of a fox and it overpowers any human scent. Well any living Rabbit should know the scent also. If not then they have already fallen prey to the Fox. I have NOT tried this but I am so confidant that this will work I am going to go to the store right now and buy some. So I will have no bunnies, half a fence and a slight smell around my garden. Good Luck my fellow garden dwellers! :) FOX URINE IS THE ANSWER
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TheWaterbug
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Heh. I bought some powdered coyote urine two years ago, and the squirrels just laughed at me. I bought dried blood, and they laughed even harder. Then they ate my pumpkins.

Barrier methods work, but I've heard a simple fence described as "useful against garden pests that do not dig, tunnel, jump, climb, or fly."

I make a chicken wire "cage" that goes over the top of my plants and encloses and protects them completely, [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=219439#219439]except on the bottom.[/url]
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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Kisal
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If the wire is laid out flat on the ground where the two meet, in an L shape, it will keep most burrowing animals out. 12 inches of the wire should be laid flat on the ground, then the rest bent upward to form the vertical fence. The critters aren't smart enough to know to dig at the end of the wire laying on the ground. They keep trying to dig at the bend that forms the L shape.

I keep my digging dog in my yard simply by laying 2 x 12 boards along the bottom of my fence, where it reaches the ground. She digs there, but doesn't bother the edge where the fence meets the ground. Trainers have told me, btw, that dogs can dig down and straight, but not upward.

To keep animals with gnawing teeth out of your garden, you have to use tough enough wire. They can bite through stuff like chicken wire and hardware cloth in a split second. Welded wire will contain them, though. I know this because I used to raise them to feed to predators that were being rehabbed, such as hawks and eagles. I've had to catch my share of the little devils that got loose in my house. :>

I know it's tempting to buy the cheapest stuff, but like anything else, if you want the job done right, you have to buy the correct materials.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

gkubas1
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Re: Keeping Out the Wild Rabbits!

I live in New Mexico in the USA and could not believe my eyes when I saw a cottontail on top of my 44-inch solid wall (yes I measured it)! It proceeded to leap into my garden enclosed by this stucco-coated cement wall. I chased it around and then saw it scale the wall to get out by a standing leap (!) at the base of the wall and rapidly pulling itself over with its forepaws. Wish I had got a video. It must be in training for rabbit jumping contests or the rabbit military when animals attack us as in James Patterson's "Zoo."

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Keeping Out the Wild Rabbits!

You can put up solar powered electric fence and you might only need two wires. Would not be very visible or effect the aesthetics much.

Or any of the kind of fences mentioned, you can work on beautifying: put plantings around them (especially rabbit repellent ones!), grow vines on them, or cover them with something better looking. Bamboo fencing comes in rolls or panels in a variety of shades. Just attach it to the chain link or whatever fence. Cheap and easy and can be very nice looking:

https://www.google.com/search?q=bamboo+ ... uSCh1Y8wIY
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jal_ut
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Re: Keeping Out the Wild Rabbits!

I know I already replied once to this, but gotta say some more about the problem:

Personally if that was my garden getting ruined I would just kill the rabbits. Likely just shoot them.
You may think this is rude, but consider that I grew up on a farm back in the days after WW2 when
things were tough. Deep depression. We often ate just what we could scrounge from the land.
Yes, rabbit stew was on the list. The garden was top priority as we ate from the garden and
depended on it. Any wild critter messing up the garden was apt to end up in the stew pot too.
I don't know about you folks, but my garden today still provides us with a good portion of our food.
I would hate to see it ruined by rabbits. Fact is I would not permit it. I have a battle with skunks
and racoons in the corn patch. A radio in the corn patch seems to scare them off. Wonder if
that would work for rabbits?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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