Keep Rabbits out with Fencing
One of the most effective ways to prevent rabbits from nibbling on your garden is to put up a fence. Chicken wire works well for this, as the openings are too small for a rabbit to get through. However, you must make sure the fence is tight to the ground, perhaps using wood framing or other heavy objects at the bottom to ensure the rabbit cannot get under the fence. Digging under a loose fence would be their natural approach to the obstacle. The fence should be at least two feet high to keep them from going over it as well.
There are several organic or natural repellents that work fairly well on keeping rabbits away from the garden. Home gardeners often recommend vinegar or hot chili pepper sprays as bitter substances that will discourage rabbits and other pests. These can dissipate pretty quickly on their own, so methods of helping them stick to grass or fencing are the best. Try soaking old corncobs in vinegar for a few minutes, then placing them around the edges of the garden. Resoak them after a few weeks to renew the vinegar. Mashing up hot peppers with gelatin or wax also forms a spicy rabbit-repellent paste that you can spread around the borders of the garden. Wearing gloves when working with hot peppers is a good idea so the irritating juices don’t get on your skin or in your eyes. You also can buy hot pepper wax products commercially online or in garden stores.
Rabbits’ Natural Enemies
There are other methods that will signal to rabbits there are predators nearby and keep them from entering your garden. Human hair or dried blood sprinkled around the perimeter of the fencing is a warning for the rabbits to stay away. A local salon may be happy to save hair clippings for you if you try that method. Two other predator marks are recommended for keeping away rabbits: fox urine and ferret feces. Both are enemies of rabbits and should discourage the pests. Fox urine spray is probably the easier to obtain of the two, as it is available at outdoors and garden stores. If you have a dog, you have a built-in rabbit defense; allow him to explore the garden, leaving traces of scent and hair behind. If it is an outdoor dog, placing a chain or run near the garden will frighten many rabbits away. You may even consider guiding the dog to leave urine marks on the outer borders of the garden, which will work much like the fox urine.
Want to learn more about protecting your garden from rabbits?
Check out these Web sites chosen by us for more information on the subject.
A Maryland Master Gardener has an informative article on rabbits in the garden.
The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension’s Backyard Gardener column talks about rabbit repellents.
The Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County in California have a guide to good and bad ideas when dealing with rabbits.