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