Making a Rabbit-Proof Fence
Keeping rabbits away from the outdoor vegetation (including trees – they also eat bark) requires a multi-channel approach for maximum efficacy: fencing, repellents, live traps, guards, and distractions. If it’s legal in your area and you enjoy the flavor of rabbit stew, you are able to embrace the “pioneer strategy:” sit by your window with a rifle or shotgun and pick off them one-by-one. We’ll start with the fence.
To fence your garden, you’ll need 36-inch chicken cable of sufficient length to encircle the area. Plan on placing metal or wooden stakes about every four feet and rig up some kind of gate that the long-eared interlopers cannot get under or through. Your local building supply individual can give you tips on that. If you have another notorious garden pest locally, deer, you’ll require a taller fence made out of something sturdier than inch-mesh chicken wire.
Dig a trench 6-12-inches wide and about four inches deep before placing the bets. Bend the bottom three or four inches of the chicken wire in an L-shape, with the bottom of this ‘L’ on the floor, stretching away from the fenced area and bury it.
To protect trees, wrap quarter-inch hardware cloth around the base of young trees. You can tell when squirrels are attacking your trees, typically in winter when there’s little else to forage, by the marks left by their two big incisors (picture Bugs Bunny biting on a tree trunk).
If you want to get really medieval on Thumper and his buddies, consider installing an electrified fence, which does not need to be buried. The mild electric jolt will send the pests scurrying to your neighbor’s garden.
In spite of a fence, it’s a good idea to surround your garden with thing that emit odors that the rabbits hate. The most frequently used items are garlic and lavender. Foxglove and monkshood also work because anglers understand they’re poisonous (maybe not a great idea if you have kids, though). Another alternative is to disperse a concentrated garlic powder called Pro-Tecs. Camphor is also widely used, but not recommended. Though these creatures hate camphor, spreading moth balls or anything similar around your property effectively coats your entire property in poison which can cause difficulties for you, your pets, your backyard, and ground water.
One or two rabbit-hating (or rabbit-loving) dogs on the family estate will also discourage rabbits and deer, but only while the dogs are out running about. Once the dogs go in the house, the varmints will be back. Forget about cats. Australia once tried to get a handle on its out-of-control feral rabbit population by releasing hundreds of cats into the wild. Mice may not have fared well, but the rabbits continued damaging native plants, and thumbing their paws in the cats, before a virus deadly only to rabbits was introduced. It worked, but this isn’t a control method that is available to you from Iguana Pest Control.