My guardian dogs dispatched the snakes, but the snake killed one baby before the dogs got on the job. This happened yesterday,
we have since lost 2 bunnies, I am wondering if the doe is afraid to go in and take care of the babies. They all have their eyes open and were hopping all over
before the snakes came. The den is under a heavy duty metal pallet, with a thick rubber mat over it. I can easily move the "den" if that would help with the doe.
O.k. then...well, that species can be an absolute terror on bunnies and other small livestock, so I am sorry you experienced that. So, from a permaculture perspective, and seeking balance within the local biome, we really need to focus on not killing the snakes, and rather make sure the rabbits are in an enclosure that will mitigate and protect them from local predator species. These snakes are a very important part of the local environment, and must be protected as much as the bunnies themselves.
Can you share with us (photos would be great) the current enclosure system you are employing for the rabbits?
Sure, let me get my daughter to photo shop them for me. I hate killing snakes, but there are an abundance of them here. We relocate large rat snakes daily,
but these guys broke into the wrong "rec room" and my dogs did their job. I keep very large brush piles in my fields and also in my woods for these snakes.
My daughter loves these snakes even though they have killed/eaten some of her favorite birds.
I am looking forward to those photos, and will help wherever I am able...
In your case, it sounds like we may have a biome that is out of balance or at a "peak period" for predators (and perhaps their pray as well.) I have had success in the past "training" a few "wayward" snake friends from not eating certain pray (like my ducklings or rabbits) but when you have too many...well...you have to many and it is time to doe some relocating and/or putting snake on the menu and snake leather into the "arts and craft" stream of my project list. They do make great pets, are an asset to the permaculture scene, but only when in reasonable numbers.
I will share a small story from the past you may enjoy (or wish you never heard...) I had a friend in the Marines that had family in Georgia with an "up and coming" catfish farm idea, yet a wee bit of a problem with Water Moccasins. Now Southerners in general typically do not like snakes anyway, so I was pleased at these folks for at least "asking the question," and trying to do something reasonable. It was not till I got down there that I knew they had more than questions or just a few "snake issues." In a single night, in a single ditch less than 3 meters wide and less than 12 meters long I collected over 45 Water Moccasins in less than one hour over 1 meter in length, have of which turned out to be gravid females. I quit counting that evening after 3 hours of taking a census, and over 1000 snakes...they had a real issue, and the entire place was out of balance...and in spots...life threatening for anyone out after night. Issues with snakes do take place at times...and drastic measures must be taken for not only the human question, but the environment also.
Willie Smits: Village Based Permaculture Approaches in Indonesia (video)