How to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden

Updated on December 11, 2017
Barbara Kay profile image

I enjoy writing about the things I love. My hobbies include gardening, crochet, reading the Bible, and home remedies.

Rabbit in Montana
Rabbit in Montana | Source

How to Repel Rabbits

Peter Rabbit decided my garden was his salad bar this year. To say that his adventures haven’t made me happy is understating the problem by a long shot. My search on how to get rid of rabbits has been extensive ever since.

The bunny caused more problems than just eating my veggies. One morning, one of our dogs chased him through the garden and ran through the plants as the bees were pollinating them. Poor Elsie had a reaction to the bee stings, and we ended up with a $50 vet bill. Thank goodness that was all our vet charged (it could have been more expensive). After that, I felt like I could have shot the rabbit—I was so tired of him. But the only animals I've ever killed were a sick bat and a snake that made me feel terrible enough. I couldn't kill a bunny, so on with my search I went.

Baby Rabbits in the Nest
Baby Rabbits in the Nest | Source

How to Keep Rabbits Out of the Garden (What I've Learned)

  1. Rabbits don’t like dog or human hair because they smell the scent and think that a human or dog is near. I collect all of the hair I get when I brush my dogs and empty it on the garden throughout the year. The hair contains nutrients that are good for the soil, so it serves a double purpose. If you don’t have a dog, you should be able to get human hair from your beautician or barber.
  2. Don’t plant marigolds. The old wives' tale about rabbits not liking marigold is false. Bunnies actually love marigold. You’ll find photos all over the internet of rabbits munching on these flowers.
  3. Use a fence around the garden. We have a chain-link fence, and it didn’t work because Peter Rabbit would run right under it. The fence needs to have holes as small as chicken wire, and it must reach deep enough into the ground to prevent bunnies from tunneling.
  4. Rabbits are not supposed to like Gopher Purge or Artemisia. I haven’t tried planting these species of flowers, but you are suppose to surround the plants you’d like to protect with these flowers. If they don't work to repel bunnies, they will look pretty anyway.
  5. You can buy Liquid Fence at a garden center. I didn’t do that this year because I didn’t want to spend the $7 or so, but I wished I would have. The Liquid Fence needs to be applied after every rain. If the dog hair doesn't work, this will be my next approach.
  6. Get a cat that is a good mouser—just don’t watch when it catches the bunnies. A cat will cruelly play with them just like it would with a mouse.
  7. Someone suggested a rubber snake. I tried this once to keep birds out of my strawberries. The birds weren’t afraid at all. The only thing I scared was my granddaughter who screamed so loud that the entire neighborhood was alerted.
  8. You can get animal urine at a sporting goods store. Coyote urine is supposed to be best, but it will need to be reapplied every time it rains.
  9. Get a wire box trap. Lure the rabbit in with some lettuce or carrots. Once he's inside, you can let him out somewhere miles from your garden.
  10. Spread blood meal all around the perimeter of the garden. Squirrels and rabbits don't like it. Reapply it every time it rains. The blood meal is good for your garden and isn't expensive.
  11. As a last resort, shoot the rabbit and have some meat for supper. Bunnies feed in the early morning and early evening hours, so you just need to watch for them at those times. I just can't shoot something as cute as a bunny, so I don't resort to this.

How to Repel Rabbits in the Vegetable Garden With Fencing

Know What Bunnies Like to Eat

It turns out the carrot munchers aren’t a problem when the plants are older. They like the soft and tender new sprouts of plants. If you can get through the sprouting phase, then you may not have to worry about rabbits after the early summer. I found this to be true when my beans grew back even after Peter Rabbit had eaten the blossoms and baby beans because he never touched the second growth. He had no interest in the broccoli once the leaves were more mature. Peter was out munching on the neighbor's grass every evening when I thought he’d be going for better fare.

Rabbits stand still so predators don't notice them. This rabbit doesn't seem to think it is in trouble.
Rabbits stand still so predators don't notice them. This rabbit doesn't seem to think it is in trouble. | Source

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    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 17 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Great article! I have a couple of rabbits in my garden and like you, I don't want to harm them, but they need to go. I will try a couple of your techniques to thwart them. Hopefully something will work. It is comforting to know that they don't particularly care for the more mature vegetation.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
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      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      MercyGrace, I wish I had the space to use a decoy of lettuce for the rabbit, but I don't. Thanks goodness we don't have raccoons here. My sister has terrible messes made by them when they play in her pots of plants. Thanks for commenting.

    • MercyGrace profile image

      MercyGrace 6 years ago from USA

      I like that you didn't shoot the rabbit. I have rabbits, deer and raccoons all over the place in the summer but I leave them alone. I just leave food for them far away from my garden and it has worked. I do understand your frustration though. Hear a bang on the deck at midnight and look out to see raccoons eating corn, sitting on the chairs on the deck. That's a bit nervy. They are pushing their luck.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
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      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      b.Malin, I hope your big white fence continues to work. This summer I've only had the one bunny to deal with. I wonder what happened to the rest of the litter.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      I so Enjoyed reading your Hub Barbara. Actually living on an Island surrounded by the Bay and the Ocean, you wouldn't think that we have Rabbits here, but we do! Our saving grace it the big white fence...so far so good.

    • Barbara Kay profile image
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      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      I agree about hurting the bunny. My husband isn't a hunter either, so he wouldn't either. I'm happy to hear that the photo made your smile. Thanks for your comments.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      By the way -- I meant to tell you that I just loved the picture you chose to go with your article. It makes me smile every time I look at it. And smiling is always good! Thanks!

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      I think I'll have to consider dog, cat and human hair. We all shed a lot. I would have trouble hurting the bunny!

    • Barbara Kay profile image
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      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      Cloverleaf and Esmeow12, Thanks for reading. Esmeow, I wouldn't be surprised if your cats help. We didn't have the problem back when we had cats. I will try spreading the dog hair around though.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      We have lots of bunnies in the yard but thank goodness, they haven't bothered my flowers & veggies. I do spread dog, cat & people hair all around, so maybe that really does help. Thanks for the great info.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Barbara - great tips, thanks for sharing.

      Cloverleaf.

    • snoblet profile image

      Dave Rogers 6 years ago from New York

      I never had the issue since I live in NYC but I guess it isn't so nice to have rabbits chewing all that you grow and I hear people in other areas I know complain about it. Great tips on keeping them out though

    • Barbara Kay profile image
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      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      Peter Lumetta, Thanks for reading my hubs.

      Cardisa, I would love to visit Jamaica, but I'm sorry to hear that you don't have native animals there. Watching them can be fun. Most of our animals like rabbits and squirrels can be real pests, but life would be a little less without them too.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      I just love rabbits but when they rip apart your garden it's not funny at all. I can't say I've ever had any experience with them because most of our here in Jamaica are imported pets.

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image

      PETER LUMETTA 6 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Good advise and a lot of good ways to keep the bunnies at bay. Thanks, Peter

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