You’re a rabbit lover, but admittedly, you don’t want wild bunnies getting in your garden. No one can blame you for that, since wild rabbits will make a buffet out of your plants and flowers. How exactly do you go about keeping them out?
There are plenty of ways to keep rabbits out of your garden, such as:
- Make a fence
- Get a motion-scaring device or let out your pets
- Fill your garden with plants that bunnies despise
- Apply natural repellent
- Remove hiding areas
- Don’t scare off predators
- Make a decoy garden
- Get your local community involved
- Call animal control
Want more details on methods for keeping rabbits out of your garden? You’re in luck. In this article, we’ll go in-depth on the nine tips we just touched on. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have plenty of tactics for driving wild rabbits away from your property.
What Causes Rabbits to Get in Your Garden?
First thing’s first, what is it about your garden that wild rabbits find so irresistible? Well, it’s often not just your garden, but any other sources of nearby vegetation. If you have a rabbit infestation, then chances are, so do several of your neighbors.
At the end of the day, rabbits are hungry creatures. In the wild, they don’t have anyone they can depend on to feed them hay and pellets. They have to forage for all their food. Considering rabbits are prey animals, if they can forage more easily, they’re going to.
That brings us to your garden. This is an open, exposed area. To a bunny, it’s like coming upon a goldmine. Here’s all this food just lying out in the open for them to eat.
If they like your food source enough, they’ll keep coming back. They may even decide to reproduce here. The more bunnies in your yard, the more destruction they’ll cause to your garden.
What Do Rabbits Do in Your Garden?
The main thing wild rabbits will do in your garden is eat. They’re not very picky about what they munch on. From flowers to shrubs, bushes, and many types of plants (even ornamental, decorative ones), rabbits will eat them all. If you have any garden fruits or vegetables, this is even better. They also won’t discriminate against shoots, plant leaves, flower buds, and even twigs, bark, and grass. They’ll take any of it.
That’s not all rabbits will do. All that food has to come out somewhere, so they will urinate and defecate around your yard. Some particularly brazen wild rabbits may even decide to start a family in your backyard, as mentioned.
Besides the destruction to your garden and the lack of sanitation, rabbits can cause even bigger problems. As we said in the last section, rabbits are prey animals. That means there’s lots of bigger predators who’d be happy to make a wild rabbit their next meal. If you have a lot of rabbits in your yard eating and reproducing, these predators will come out of the woodwork.
Suddenly, not only do you have rabbits to deal with, but now bigger, potentially more dangerous animals as well. All this because a hungry wild rabbit decided your backyard garden looked appetizing. What a headache!
The 9 Best Ways to Keep Rabbits out of Your Garden
If you have rabbits in your garden, eating up your precious plants and making a mess, you’re going to want them out ASAP. How do you go about doing that?
Here’s more in-depth information on the tips we listed at the beginning of this article.
1. Fence off Their Favorites
As we’ve discussed, the main reason wild rabbits keep coming back to your garden is because it’s an easy source of food. Sure, maybe they have to crawl under your fence to get to the garden. Once they’re there, though, they have free reign. They can gorge themselves on anything and everything that’s even remotely edible.
If you erect a fence around your garden, it becomes much harder for rabbits to get to their favorite food. You don’t need to make a complicated fence, either. One made of chicken wire is often enough to keep rabbits out.
Remember that rabbits are great burrowers. That’s why you must dig half an inch into the ground and make sure your fence is at least that deep. While rabbits won’t likely climb, the fence should have a height of two feet. You also want it to have a thickness of at least an inch so a heavy, determined rabbit can’t collapse it with a bit of effort.
2. Get Scary
Since rabbits are prey animals, they may be more easily spooked then some other creatures. Play up on their sense of fear by driving them off your property with scare tactics. Motion-scare devices are one such option you might use. You can also get decoys that look like predators, such as owls. Do keep in mind that eventually, the effectiveness of these items can wear off if the rabbit gets too used to the device.
Be ready to switch it up. Using aluminum pie tins can scare a rabbit off your property, as can strategically-placed lights. If none of those work, do you have any other pets? Just let your cat or dog out into the yard. That ought to do the trick.
3. Grow Plants Rabbits Hate
If rabbits are still getting into your garden, then give them a reason not to come back. While it seems like a wild rabbit will eat just about anything and everything in your garden, that’s not true. There are some plants they can’t stand. You want to fill your garden with these.
Try planting artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, rhubarb, garlic, onions, thorny cane fruit, currants, or gooseberries. It seems like the sticky sap, thorns, and large leaves can ward off some wild rabbits. This method may not deter all rabbits, especially the hungrier ones, so you might have to try something else as well.
4. Fill Your Garden with Repellants
Another way you can drive off unwanted wild bunnies is through repellant. There are many store-bought repellants you can try, or you can make your own.
One such mixture that rabbits do not enjoy is dish detergent with garlic powder and cayenne pepper. You start by filling a bowl or cup with warm water, about 20 ounces. Then, squeeze out some dish detergent, but not much. Combine that with garlic powder, only two tablespoons. Add the same amount of cayenne pepper and mix the whole thing together. Keep it out around the garden or mist it on the leaves of your plants (just make sure it won’t damage them).
Did you know most rabbits also hate blood meal and chili powder? Blood meal is a type of fertilizer that uses real blood. By covering your garden area with the stuff, rabbits will not come by. The same is true of chili powder. Once rabbits smell either the blood meal or chili powder and it gets stuck on their delicate whiskers, they will know not to come back.
5. Leave Them Nowhere to Hide
No one wants wild rabbits making their home in your backyard near your garden. This will only lead to more rabbits, which means your garden dies even faster. What you have to do is nip this problem in the bud.
While you can always scare off or repel rabbits, you also want to make sure they have nowhere nice to settle down. Rabbits are natural burrowers, as we’ve said, and like to be hidden away from predators. If you have any areas of the yard with lots of debris, rocks, or wood piles, clear these away.
The same goes for deep shrubs or other spaces where a rabbit can obscure itself. Cut these down. The next time your wild rabbit comes back and sees they have nowhere hidden to live, they won’t want to stick around your garden anymore.
6. Let in the Predators
Having predators like owls, snakes, foxes, and hawks lingering around your property might not be your idea of fun. Before you drive these animals out, wait and see what happens.
Nature will play out predictably. At the sight of these animals, many rabbits will get out of dodge. Now that they know predators are swarming the area, they’re less likely to come back to your garden.
We’re not advising you let predators kill off the rabbits, but that could happen. It may be wise to call an animal control expert before any rabbits die, as you’re just trying to get them away from your yard, not kill them.
7. Make a Decoy Garden
Another great method you can try to keep rabbits away from your main garden is to plant a decoy garden. In this garden, grow rosemary, parsley, peas, and beans for starters. Besides the few veggies we mentioned above that rabbits hate, any other fruits and vegetables are suitable.
You want to set up this decoy garden on the outskirts of your property. If rabbits have invaded your backyard, then this secondary garden goes in the front yard. You could also plant these yummy fruits and vegetables in the side yard.
You may be wondering what’s the point of a decoy garden? Won’t it attract wild rabbits? It absolutely will. After all, you’re growing all a bunny’s favorite greens in one easily accessible place. By giving them free reign of this decoy garden, they’re more likely to leave your home with a full belly without ever having touched anything in your real garden.
The key here is distance. If your decoy garden is anywhere near the real thing, then a rabbit will have twice the luck and thus twice the food. Your decoy also shouldn’t be so far away that a rabbit can’t easily get to it. That defeats the purpose.
8. Get in Touch with Your Municipality or Community and Let Them Step In
Earlier in this article, we mentioned that if you have a wild rabbit problem, more than likely, so do some of your neighbors. Call or knock on the door of those who live on either side of you and ask if they’ve had any bunnies munching away in their yards.
If the problem is severe and the above methods haven’t worked, you can always reach out to your municipality or local community. The town or city might decide to begin a wild rabbit relocation program. They may also get the rabbits spayed/neutered, trap them, or otherwise remove them from the neighborhood.
This is typically only a viable option if wild rabbits have become a citywide nuisance that many people have to deal with. If it’s only a few residents around town, you’ll likely have to take care of your rabbit issue yourself.
9. No Traps, Please
It’s really tempting to use traps on rabbits. After all, this will certainly get rid of them, right? Many experts recommend skipping the traps. Why is that? Rabbit traps are not like the rat or mousetraps you’re used to working with. These are far bigger and a little more difficult to set up.
You might think you’ll humanely catch the rabbit in the trap. They won’t be severely injured, and so you can release them somewhere else. What really happens is rabbits get extremely upset and distressed when caught. They can thrash and buck in an attempt to get out of the trap, breaking their own bones or severely injuring themselves. That is, unless the trap itself kills them.
If a rabbit is still alive and in a trap and you come near them, they will try to protect themselves. You could be scratched or bitten. Since this is a wild rabbit we’re talking about, you could end up with a case of rabies or other diseases.
If you’ve really had it up to here with your wild rabbit problem, then please, call animal control. They can catch and release your wild rabbits humanely.
A Note on Using Chemicals or Other Harsh Products
If you decide to use chemical treatments on your plants, do keep in mind that you could possibly kill the rabbits that eat the plants. If you’re trying to remove your rabbits in a humane way, then a chemical treatment is not the right option.
Some chemical deterrents are not necessarily bad for the rabbit. They tend to include natural ingredients that rabbits don’t like. Others are more chemical-heavy. If the wild rabbit by chance consumes this chemical deterrent, death may or may not occur.
In general, we recommend using natural deterrents over chemical ones. Sometimes, though, that’s not always possible.
If you have wild rabbits eating through your garden, you’re going to want them out immediately. You might create scare traps, plant foods rabbits hate, use natural repellants, or cut away any bushes and burrows. While you should not use traps on rabbits, the other options we presented in this article should give you some effective ideas on getting rid of your wild rabbits for good.