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How Do I Stop Wild Rabbits?

A rabbit standing upright to get a better view at the camera

These little guys are notorious for attacking lawns, and once they start you can be sure they won’t stop!

These guys are more than likely to be found on your lawn if you live in the countryside especially if your lawn connects to a nearby field. But not to fear we are here to provide you with the information to help you stop them from ruining your lawn or even other plants you may have in your garden.

What Problems will they cause?

Like their domestic cousins, wild rabbits are renowned for their unrelenting eating habit. If they can get into your garden, they’re sure to be constantly grazing, be that on your prize lawn or (even worse!) those beautiful flowers you’ve waited all year to see blooming. Let’s not even think about the carnage they can wreak on your vegetable patch!

Rabbits also have a habit of diggings holes which can be a real eyesore on your lovely lawn. They can also gnaw away at the bottom or trees removing the bark and leaving bald patches behind. Yes, they really do eat everything!

What about Hares?

Hares, like their fellow-Leporids the rabbits, are particularly partial to bedding plants and vegetables. Unlike rabbits however, they nest in shallow depressions in the ground rather than burrowing. As a result, they are unlikely to cause any damage to your lawn. Try any or all of the anti-rabbit counter-measures above if you’re looking to protect your plants, fruits and vegetables. 

The Solution

You’re probably familiar with the old phrase ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat’, and while we hope you don’t find it necessary to go quite so far, there are several options open to you when it comes to deterring rabbits. If you’re truly determined to keep these hoppity horrors out of your garden, fencing is a great way to start. We advise that your fences should be of 2.5cm wire mesh and 120-140cm in height. To stop rabbits from tunnelling underneath, the bottom of the mesh should be sunk into the soil by about 30cm below ground level, with the lower 15cm (6in) bent outwards. Fencing is never a cheap option, but there is one glimmer of hope in this regard. Rabbits tend to burrow close to existing structures. Often this will be next to a shed or garage, near a porch or underneath decking. This means that your rabbit-proof fencing only needs to address certain vulnerable points around your garden, not the whole perimeter. 

If you find such intense fencing too much of an eyesore, an Animal Repellent may be a viable option.  The repellent is liquid based and is sprayed on your plants, leaving a bitter taste to deter the rabbits and any other wildlife who are feeling peckish. Clearly, this is not the best choice if you are intending to eat those particular plants yourself, and should be avoided if there is any chance of your pets ingesting the poison too. Other alternatives include using Blood Meal Fertiliser. Many animals are deterred by the smell of the dried blood in this powder form, including rabbits, deer and moles, and it can be very successful. Do take care to avoid over-doing its use though, as it will scorch your plants and lawn if spread too intensely. This may appeal to you if you’re looking for an organic solution, and there are others too. Growing plants which rabbits (and other animals) find repulsive is an excellent organic deterrent, and there are many which fit the bill. To name just a few, these include; Lavender, Primroses, Daffodils, Creeping Phlox and Azalea, while there are also many vegetables and herbs which send the bunnies scampering away. You might try  Mint, Basil and Tarragon or Onions, Leeks and Asparagus.

Like all animals, rabbits seek out shelter, so you need to stay one step ahead of them by removing any tall grass, piles of leaves or other areas which provide the kind of cover in which rabbits can settle.

Other alternatives are designed to have a more permanent outcome, including shooting, poisoning and gassing. Obviously, there is a good deal more risk involved with these, both to ourselves and others in the vicinity, so they are best left to professionals. The same can be said for traps and snares as they do have to meet legal requirements under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Humane traps are also available, which simply trap the rabbit so you can relocate it. If you choose this method, do make sure to drop your lop-eared interlopers far enough away from home that they don’t just stroll right back!

Finally, the solution may be even closer to home than you thought. Rabbits see dogs as something of a nemesis, so If you have your own pet dog patrolling the garden, rabbits will soon get the message and leave well alone.

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