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Sometimes you think you’ve seen it all in your garden. This is our 15th summer in our house so I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on the comings and goings in our yard. But this year I’ve been presented with an issue I’ve not faced before.

Rabbits. Many, many rabbits. Last night I identified them in five sizes: X-small (teeny, tiny, just barely hopping cuties) through X-large (rather worse for the wear moms, or so I’m thinking). I did this within five minutes, because that’s how much time passed before I saw all sizes and more than 10 of them. This, folks, is a problem.

The X-Large, Large and Medium sizes of rabbits currently residing in my yard enjoying an evening nibble near the bird feeder. 

While we’ve had the occasional rabbit, especially several years ago when I’d find the occasional nest, it has been at least five years since I’ve seen a single rabbit in our yard. We’ve had a very healthy fox population in our neighborhood, not to mention hawks, owls, coyotes and more, that I assume took care of the issue.

Mr. Much More Patient saw a fox the other morning but that’s the first sighting of the year and the neighbor reported they found a dead fox on their property last week. This not good.

Whatever the reason, the rabbits are a concern. I’ve been able to minimize the damage by being vigilant with deer/rabbit spray, but I know this is a system that is bound to fail. At some point they’ll either stop caring about the spray or I’ll forget to reapply to new growth or wait too long after a heavy rain to spray again.

The enormous hairy dog who sheds liberally around the yard, pees even more liberally and chases and barks at a lot of critters seems to have zero effect on the rabbit population. I’ve not been able to find where they are nesting or hiding, but every time I turn around another one seems to be hiding under a hosta. Last night three micro-bunnies shot out from under a ‘June’ hosta at a blistering pace but I lost them when they hid under a globe spruce.

So as much as I hate these critters, and as much as I wish some predator would come along and solve my problem for me, I can’t personally hurt them. I realize that is a little ridiculous and comes down to semantics, but I can’t personally harm them. So does anyone have any suggestions for me on how to get rid of this rabbit issue without a fence, BB gun or a rent-a-fox?

I’m all ears.

10 Responses

  1. The answer is a Jack Russell Terrier. I know, I know. JRTs are lovely, energetic pets. But they are rabbit killing machines. They are personally offended that rabbits live and breathe and make it their life’s mission to patrol, and eliminate. They are very, very successful, never take a day off and wag their tails while doing it. Mine also happens to be sweet, a great cuddler inside, and smarter than most children. I love a Newf, I do —I grew up with St. Bernards— But a JRT is my best gardening tool.

  2. Ours are simply awful this year too. I think it is partially because we had a mild winter so more survived. When we had outdoor cats we didn't have a problem with rabbits…I assume they found the nests and had dinner. I have given up for this year but I think I may be at the pellet gun stage by next year. I could cry when I think of all the work I have done just to have them ruin it! My father in law has a solar powered motion activated light and noise maker that he got on amazon that he likes, maybe worth a try?

  3. Believe me, I feel your pain. I did a lot of research into this last year when they first appeared here. There are many, many suggested remedies as NancyB has discovered but a fence is the only sure fire way. Totally impractical for me, especially as it would need to be seven feet high to thwart my other nemesis the deer. So I just have a garden that is littered with chicken wire cages. It's the new soft growth they like. Later in the season they seem to lose interest.

  4. Even my big Black Lab and big goofy Great Dane don't keep the rabbits from my garden, a.k.a. "the-all-you-can-eat-buffet." I've tried the rabbit deterrent sprays and sprinkles, cayenne pepper, dog hair around the beds, fencing, furiously spinning pinwheels, owl statues, and so on and so on. Nothing works. This year I've already lost two clematis, chewed right off at the base, which twine around an old split rail fence, many Asiatic lily buds and leaves, and an entire row of marigolds planted in the front of my vegetable garden. So sad. I hate it, but I guess I just accept it as a part of gardening. Every time I see a little baby rabbit now, I just think of how FAT he'll be from eating at my place by the end of the season!

  5. With gardens like ours we can't fence it all. I am currently putting wire cages around all my new lilies that I planted this spring. While I made cages the other day the rabbits ate one of the emerging bulbs that I'd only seen moments before. I am at the live and let die stage but we haven't had any success being rabbit killers so far!

  6. We have had an enormous problems with rabbits. My husband came very close to quitting veg. gardening last fall b/c of all they ate. He finally decided to build a 3ft. high fence around our 40' x 60' foot garden………with 6 inches buried below ground. Our veg garden results are amazingly better this spring and summer.
    I feel your pain and don't think they are cute AT ALL!!!!
    Anybody got a good recipe for rabbit stew?

  7. We rarely had rabbits in the yard when we had German Shepherds. The dogs made short work of them. Later there was our Lhasa Apso whom the rabbits ignored because most of them were bigger than she was. Now, with no dog, a feral cat has taken up residence at the back of the property – not a bunny in sight.

  8. You and most every other gardener in the world has had or has this very problem. I agree as cute as the look moseying around the garden it is so depressing when you find their favorite dinner is also your favorite plant in the garden. Unfortunately we can't pick and choose what kind of wildlife comes into the garden. Believe me I feel your pain.

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