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Best fence/way to keep rabbits out of the annual vegetable garden?

 
Posts: 32
Location: Kennewick, WA
10
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The wild rabbits around us can squeeze through our chicken fence (sorry, don't know what specifically it is called - it's the wire fence with openings like little rectangles) that we have surrounding our annual garden (we have the fence up to keep the free-ranging chickens out during the summer months). We have plenty of other edible vegetation around, but the bunnies really seem to like the nummy peas, carrots, lettuces, etc. and they have really devastated the garden this year (between them and the quack grass, we're having a tough year).

Does anyone have any suggestions for what to use/do?

Thanks in advance.

Please direct me to any other threads that might discuss this. I tried doing a search but couldn't get anything specific to my question;
 
Posts: 80
Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
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What size are the rectangles? Without even having that information, the fact that they squeeze through says:

Fence with smaller holes (for instance, what is more normally called "chicken wire" - available with a variety of hexagoanal openings down to 1" (there may be smaller but that's the smallest I normally see). That is usually cheaper than "hardware cloth" which is available in 1/2", 1/4" and 1/8" square openings (perhaps 3/8" too.)

They may tunnel, (so you may need to bury fence - but they often don't, unless the fence has half-a-hole under it to start with) and will exploit any little gaps around/under gates, etc.

You could try electric fencing, but that close to the ground it would be frustrating to maintain, and probably only fully effective if they touched it with their noses.

Dogs, some cats, and various methods of catching them for humans to eat are other options. Be aware of local parasite/disease issues, what to look for and how to deal with them. Put up a handy perch for owls?
 
steward
Posts: 1748
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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I don't know what grows easily there , we have a very lush landscape . Clover - white,red, and sweet everywhere. Grass , plantain , dandelions. The rabbits don't bother with the garden , deer leave my orchard alone except one year when there was low mast production and they nibbled on my apple branches. Are you able to hunt on your property ? It is a joy to watch a good beagle flushing bunnies. Maybe they are overpopulated and need a good predator population to balance it out.
 
pollinator
Posts: 439
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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2"x2" fence should keep bunnies out, but 2"x4" might not.

First, check to make really sure they don't have a place to go under the fence. If not, and you have bigger fence, you may need to add something - I would buy a roll of the 2' high 1" chicken mesh and attach it to the outside of this fence - bend the bottom 3" at an angle at the bottom and let some vegetation grow into it to anchorit down. I have about 400' of this fence around my area and no bunnies chickens or ducks -- but sqirrels and crows still enter at will

Good luck!
 
Janet Dowell
Posts: 32
Location: Kennewick, WA
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Thanks for the replies!

Yeah, Wayne, part of the problem is that we live in supposedly "semi-arid" land, but at an average annual precip of 8", I think it should be "arid". Regardless, the only things around here that are green and lush are irrigated....aka my garden! We are just planning our food forest right now and have planted some trees and shrub. However, I like your idea of planting clovers and other "lush-type" things as well, so I think I'll throw some of those in the plan. Let me ask you one other question, though, related to the clover - do you have any problems controlling it? Does it invade grass (might make me less popular with my neighbor)? When I took my PDC, Skeeter talked about how he didn't really like white clover because it was really hard to get rid of, so it's made me a little gun shy.

And, yes, we can hunt, but the bunny tends to visit during the night (my husband is up at 5 & the damage is already done)...guess we're not motivated enough to sit out all night.

But I do think I will also follow the other two suggestions and make the holes of the fence smaller - the rectangles are 2"x 4" now and it certainly didn't slow the rabbit down.

 
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