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Rabbits in the garden...

 
Jamie Wallace
Posts: 82
Location: Lantzville, Vancouver Island,BC Cool temperate, Lat. 49.245 Zone 8a
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We have lived in the same location for the past 18 years, 5 acres on a gentle norther slope with good sun exposure (believe it or not).
Each year we have noticed an increase in the rabbit population, last year they managed to cause considerable damage to newly emerging peas, beats, asparagus, and a number of other food crops.
I've come up with a couple of options to reduce their impact:
1- Shoot them and feed them to our dog who's on a raw food diet...you would think he could catch these as well... but no.
2- Fencing...I'm reluctant to do this. We have deer fencing around our property which is enough for my eyes and pocket book.
I would love to hear ideas from this group....
Thanks

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Michael Cox
Posts: 1573
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Drop traps. They can be installed on existing fence lines, with some extra rabbit netting. The rabbits Use the tunnel through the trap as a right of way. Once every few weeks you can prime the trap for a night. Rabbits use the tunnel as usual but fall through to the pit beneath.

Come morning you can harvest rabbits for the pot. They are calm and quiet in the dark. No panic, unlike snares etc... And far faster and more effective than shooting.

The tunnel design means the rabbits don't have pressure to bust through the rabbit proof fence. I'm itching to get some setup round here for a nice passive rabbit harvest from some of the very strong rabbit colonies.
 
Michael Vormwald
Posts: 154
Location: Central New York - Finger Lakes - Zone 5
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I had a problem last year with rabbits and/or a woodchuck. The broccoli, peppers, squash and even potato plants were being destroyed. I bought a Havahart electric fence. It's a single strand of 17 gauge aluminum wire 6" above the ground. The damage totally stopped and many of the plants recovered and produced! I'm going to do 2 strands this year, 6" and 12" around my 1/4 acre vegetable garden.
 
Jamie Wallace
Posts: 82
Location: Lantzville, Vancouver Island,BC Cool temperate, Lat. 49.245 Zone 8a
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Excellent idea Michael V. ...thanks I'll try that.
Jamie
 
Michael Vormwald
Posts: 154
Location: Central New York - Finger Lakes - Zone 5
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Your welcome. I bought the AC version: http://www.amazon.com/Havahart-SS-750RPX-AC-Powered-Electric-Animals/dp/B000VXYV6K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398866859&sr=8-1&keywords=havahart+electric+fence
But for a little more, you could get a solar powered one. Just one caution...you have to keep grass and weeds trimmed so the wire doesn't ground out and stop working.
Also, I think the real benefit is that most critters, once shocked just stay away (yeah)... it's been written that once electrified for a period, it could be turned off as critters have been 'trained' to stay away (I keep mine ON! lol).

Jamie Wallace wrote:Excellent idea Michael V. ...thanks I'll try that.
Jamie
 
Michael Vormwald
Posts: 154
Location: Central New York - Finger Lakes - Zone 5
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UPDATE: I went with two hot wires this year on the Havahart (FI-Shock - 1 mile) electric fence on my 1/4 acre (50x50'). The garden was fine for weeks, then one or more woodchucks began breaching the fence and doing significant damage to broccoli, cabbage, beans and squash. I reconfigured the fence so the upper of the two wires was a ground wire. Fail! I added another hot wire above the ground wire. Fail! I know the fence was powered and there were no weeds to ground it out. I gave up and went to the Tractor Supply store and bought a Zareba 25 mile energizer. I now know that the Zareba outputs 12.2kv while my former Havahart unit only output 2.0kv! So assuming a good ground, this unit delivers a much greater shock. I set it up with 3 hot wires every 4-6" from the ground/each other.
So far....so good. I'm not seeing any more damage or chasing big rodents out of my garden.

Note: I had conventional garden fencing one year, but did not bury it and the woodchuck(s) just dug under. Garden fencing is inconvenient as you need a gate they can't get through. I thought about doing conventional again and burying it with a one foot 90 degree bend but decided I'd try a more powerful electric instead.
And with the electric fence, I can just step over anywhere.
 
Jamie Wallace
Posts: 82
Location: Lantzville, Vancouver Island,BC Cool temperate, Lat. 49.245 Zone 8a
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Good to hear Michael
I have had good results with our and neighboring cats who seem to be catching 1-2 rabbits (babies mind you) per day. So far we have some minimal damage.
You idea was a good one for using the electric fencing...
I almost got some portable fencing...
Ferris electric fencing
 
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