Ask a Question forum: severe bunny problem

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(Zone 5b)
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primrosebud
May 25, 2017 11:25 AM CST
Ok so I am having a really bad bunny problem. They eat everything. I expected this and put chicken wire up around my veggie gardens...no problem, but then I started a garden bed in front of my patio this year. At first I only planted some berry bushes, because I wanted them to be the focal point. The bunnies have not touched the currents/gooseberry bushes, but they ATE all the new growth off my blueberry bush. Ok, so then I moved the blueberry bush into my fenced off garden. Then they ate all the beautiful origami columbine which I planted. Mind you, I have a ridiculous amount of columbine growing throughout my other beds and wildly in my yard...but did they eat those, NO, they ate the ones I bought...ok, well at least the columbine will be well established and come back next year. So then I decide to plant a rose bush to add color, and again the bunnies at that. So now I am really pissed ok, I don't think bunnies are cute any more. So I added a lot of marigolds around the rose bush and added one of the granule irritants all over the place, along with cayenne pepper and my cat's litter, that's how desperate I was. You know what? Not only did the bunny continue to chomp down my rose bush but ate ALL the marigolds. What the heck? Last year I planted marigolds and they didn't touch them. Ok, so I moved my rose bush into my veggie garden because I think it'll be a nice focal point and I guess it gives me an excuse to search for bunny resistant flowers.. So I get some chicks and hens, perfect, I also get some Hostas and salvia sage flowers. Well those mother f'ers have eaten those too....HOW? I am soooo pissed. I have Hostas ALL OVER MY GARDEN and the bunnies won't touch those...what makes this garden bed so special?

Also I will add that when I bought this house the bunny buffet was a bed full of rocks and weeds with tree stumps. When I had all this removed, the workers did find a bunny nest with babies that didn't make it through the winter. Also when I was doing spring cleanup this year I found another nest that didn't make it through the winter....are the bunnies seeking their revenge out on me by targeting my plants? lol KIDDING, but it is getting to the point where I feel like the bunnies are conspiring against me.

What this long rant comes down to is that I need some advice, and I am wondering if there are any gardeners out there that have experienced this bunny plague that has been brought upon my house. What have you done to deter these garden dwellers?
[Last edited by primrosebud - May 25, 2017 11:29 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1454047 (1)
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
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plantmanager
May 25, 2017 11:39 AM CST
I have this problem at both of my places. Too many hungry bunnies! I've tried most of the repellent products and they just laugh at me. I think a secure fence is the only way to go. It has to be completely bunny proof. I had some chain link fence, and they can squeeze through the chain link. We had to add hardware cloth to the bottom of the chain link.

They will eat a plant one year, and the next year they leave it alone. It's hard to tell what they will eat or not eat. In a drought year they will eat almost anything including prickly pear cacti.
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 25, 2017 12:00 PM CST
We have a pretty serious bunny problem (I'm told they are actually hares, but I wouldn't know the difference). They are particularly relentless during our annual summer drought, when they are desperate for both food and water, and my succulents can provide both. I have used chicken wire fences to keep the plants safe, and that seems to be the only foolproof way to do it.

A couple of ideas... the bunnies seem to be most eager for "soft grown" plants which are new to the garden, right out of a greenhouse... they will go after established plants later, presumably because they don't taste as good once they have lived a hard life. So once a plant has survived a year in the ground, its odds seem to be better. Also, there are some plants which taste really bad to bunnies (like my succulent Euphorbias), and I have been planting more of those where I know herbivores are active, because they don't need the fences. Perhaps you can could make use of other bunny-resistant options? Also consider recruiting predators for control.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 25, 2017 12:01 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
May 25, 2017 12:00 PM CST
When we had bunnies raiding our school garden, I got nice, plastic coated rabbit fencing from Lowe's. It's dark green so not ugly and conspicuous, and only cost $25 for a 50ft roll. It's also very easy to work with and you can make any size enclosure just with a pair of wire cutters and a pair of pliers. You do need to spike it down into the ground (tent pegs!) so the bunnies can't dig under it too easily.

Here's a picture, you can see the rabbit fencing on the inside of the white picket fence (the bunnies just laughed at the picket fence, of course).
Thumb of 2017-05-25/dyzzypyxxy/b92b46

I would enclose every new plant with a ring of fencing, until they are big and well established. Nothing the bunnies like better than tender new foliage.

Yes, we also tried flashing disks, scarecrows, scent deterrents and marigolds to no avail. Each of them worked for a week or two, then the bunnies figured it out and weren't scared any more.

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
May 25, 2017 12:01 PM CST
Pellet or BB gun is the only way you can truly control that problem.
I have a lessor one here now , they live under the house but I do not want to kill a mother with babies so I am pondering action.
My aunt who literally lived in the middle of town, used to pop them through her kitchen window.
[Last edited by RpR - May 25, 2017 1:32 PM (+)]
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Southeast OK (Zone 7b)
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KarenHolt
May 25, 2017 2:45 PM CST
We couldn't beat them so we feed them. We keep an area away from my veggies just for them. They tend to eat the bunny food before my garden. I make sure to plant enough veggies for me and then some for sacrificial reasons. It works.
[Last edited by KarenHolt - May 25, 2017 2:47 PM (+)]
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
May 25, 2017 3:48 PM CST
You could try some egg mixture.
Rabbits and deer are vegetarian, don't want chicken embryo in their salad.
I mix an egg (or two) in a watering can, with a fork, but you can use a blender... fill with water, sprinkle everything they eat, and repeat every time it rains... not real practical if it rains where you live...
also... sweet potatoes... forget it.

Or...
get cats.

also... placing a havahart trap in the pathway works pretty well... feed rabbit to cats.
Thumb of 2017-05-25/stone/56b4e3

Last winter, I spotted a path they were using to go under the fence, placing the trap in that path worked nicely.

Unfortunately.... baiting a rabbit trap... seems absurd.... What could you bait it with that wouldn't be nicer out in the garden?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 25, 2017 4:00 PM CST
We have been over run with cotton tails this year. They were staying out of my yard but then a baby bunny found us. He really loved the columbines and an echeveria in my cactus garden. Then his adult friends found us. Grumbling

Everytime I saw him, I sent the dog out. I squirted him with the hose. I yelled (neighbors probably thought I had lost it). Eventually, I put rabbit guard on my split rail fence and closed the holes with bricks in the front fence. I haven't seen a bunny all week. Crossing Fingers!

My daughter has 6 cotton tails that seem to live in her yard. They are very polite bunnies eating only the grass and leaving everything else alone. Maybe that's my problem - no lawn for the bunnies to eat. D'Oh!
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 25, 2017 4:04 PM CST
We had a bunny problem here, but there were not wild rabbits. One idiot...oops, I mean...one neighbor...released a pet rabbit. Another ...neighbor...did the same. Unfortunately, one was a male and the other was a female and in no time our neighborhood was inundated with rabbits. I wrote a bit about it in my blog...Armadillo on Ice. Since these were not wild, nature eventually took care of the problem. Between the hawks, owls, dogs, cats and a few hungry neighbors, little by little the bunny population has decreased. There are still one or two here and there, but not like it was.

We all learned to fence in our gardens. The rabbits can dig under some of the fences, but for the most part it seemed to be easier for them to move on to the next yard rather than dig under a fence.

Good luck and hope you can get ahead of the problem. If not, I can send my dog to your house. Rolling on the floor laughing
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 25, 2017 4:12 PM CST
We used to have a 1/2 acre vegetable garden at our church. We were constantly waging war with the gophers but one year, we suddenly had above ground munching. We patrolled the garden everyday looking for the culprit and suddenly, there he was .... a little black and white bunny. I walked over, picked him up and found him a good home. Rabbit problem over. Smiling

If it was just that easy everytime Sighing!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Ed
Central ,NJ (Zone 6b)
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herrwood
May 25, 2017 4:14 PM CST
I guess it depends where you live I used to have a few but not a lot of problems with small animals it is wooded with fields in back of me some maybe they have enough to eat. Also I think the turkey vultures help keep them under control. I only have plants and flowers now, When I had a vegetable garden besides the fence around I buried some fencing about 1 foot under ground that kept most out. The main problem I have is the deer.
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thebean81
May 25, 2017 5:08 PM CST
I was told by someone that breeds bunnies that they don't like Irish Spring soap. So I have cut up pieces of Irish Spring soap in all the corners of my garden beds and around all things I don't want them near and it has worked! It doesn't suds when it rains and apparently they don't like it. My dog tries to eat the soap, but other than that I've had no issues with it. I'm so done with all the bunnies. They are officially no longer cute to me. They were cute when I didn't have a garden.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
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plantmanager
May 25, 2017 5:23 PM CST
Welcome to NGA! I'm the same. I used to adore the cute little bunnies I saw in my yard. Then I found out how voracious they are! They aren't cute, and I'm willing to try anything. I have heard that about the soap and will try it. I even have some I bought to try and haven't done it yet.
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(Zone 5b)
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primrosebud
Jun 10, 2017 11:51 AM CST
Thank you all for the suggestions. I do have a cat but she's a priss and she doesn't see the point in catching animals because she's picky about her food haha she wouldn't even kill the mouse I had in my house, she stunned it and said, I did my part...needless to say the mouse revived itself and ran away, this is what I'm working with people Hilarious!

I did get coyote urine from Menards, so we'll see if that works and I am going to try and put a fake owl out too.

I am normally a pacifist but a BB gun sounds pretty tempting right about now.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Jun 10, 2017 12:07 PM CST
I've had very good luck with PlantSkydd, the liquid form.
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 10, 2017 1:14 PM CST
I have a toy pellet gun that gives my bothersome squirrels a good enough pop to scare them, but doesn't actually injure them. If you're willing to shoot at them, try your hose first! A strong stream of water is really a good deterrent.

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Jun 10, 2017 2:29 PM CST
Our Rat Terriers always kept the bunnies out of the yard. The not very smart ones went to bunny heaven. The RT's even ferreted out bunny nests and dispatched the occupants. The bad part is cleaning up the bunny bodies. The dogs won't touch them once they are dead, and they are usually dead from the first grab and shake. Very quick death.
I have to admit it sometimes make me feel sad. The native bunnies here are very tiny and very cute. Sad
Gophers don't last long here either.

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