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Seeking critter catching wisdom, Sharing tree pen.

Posts: 30
Location: Northern AZ
solar greening the desert homestead
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We keep our rabbit buck under a fenced tree. The fence circles around about 4 feet inside the canopy, it's base bordered inside and out with orange-size rocks. He has a small plastic dome in there as a cave. The fence is about 12 foot diameter so he's got lots of area to run around and dig.

It's a great little space. There's lots of mulch from the tree - it's a juniper - and a little woody bush that he nibbles at now and then. Birds fly in to help him with lunch, and he shares his water with them too. There's always a sunny side and a shaded side. He had a companion hen in there with him for awhile, but a coyote once jumped the fence and did her in. Not sure how the rabbit survived that attack, but now the fence extends all the way up to the canopy.

As nice as it is for the animals though, it's a terrible pen when it comes to catching the little buggers. Round and round we go, with me hunched over trying to avoid collision with the low branches. I've got some good ideas to make that easier, but it's not a project that's high on the priority list yet.

As I sit here thinking about catching him though, I wonder how other people do it. Not just how you'd handle a round cage without baffles, but small critter catching in general. Any great stratagies out there? My method usually ends up being an endurance contest between us, which I'm pretty sure is the worst way to do it - and certainly does not involve strategy.
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Tree pen for rabbit and chickens
Posts: 156
Location: Saskatchewan
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I have no experience with rabbits but I have experience with a lot of other animals.

I never chase animals, it just upsets them and makes it more difficult to catch them. As soon as an animal starts to move away from me I stop moving closer, sometimes back away, or pretend I am moving perpendicular to them.

My usual technique is bribery. I find a treat or toy that they will come to me for. This takes a little training to get them used to coming to you and nothing bad happening.

Is there a certain time of day that your rabbit will be easier to catch, bedtime? mealtimes?

How to sneak up on an animal. Move towards it at an angle. Never look directly at it, only predators do that. Focus on something off to the side and use your peripherals, or even back up towards an animal. Pretend you don't know it is there.

Bring something interesting with you, get where your animal can see you. Place your interesting object on the ground or hold it. Turn away and don't look at the object. Sit quietly with your back turned so shy animals can investigate. Take a nap. I find taking a nap to be a quicker method of catching animals than chasing them.

Set a trap. Put treats in a cat or dog crate. When your rabit enters for the 3rd or 4th time quietly close the door and move them where you want.

Posts: 3417
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
forest garden trees urban
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I got house bunnies,so their temperaments  are different but most rabbits dont really want to be picked up.
I bribe them. Comfrey, bananas or pear tree limbs are all irresistible to them.
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A carrot and a live trap. One half carrot just outside the trap and one half carrot in the trap. A day off feed beforehand.
This one time, at band camp, I had relations with a tiny ad.
Building Your Permaculture Property | Free Permaculture Summit | April 23-25
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