This year I’m a frustrated gardener as my bedding plants are eaten almost every day. Last month squirrels invaded the attic and required expensive extermination https://www.postworksavvy.com/squirrel-invasion-in-the-attic/ . This month the back garden has become a rabbit feeding station.
As well as bedding plants, especially the tender lettuces and spring greens, they ate the young leaves of several hostas that were robust last year. Tulips were demolished as soon as shoots came out of the gound. Sometimes they nibble at young leaves; sometimes they uproot the whole plant. No plants seem ‘rabbit proof’.
I believe the rabbits live primarily in the nearby conservation area and in my neighbour’s yard. They tunnel under the fence into my back garden. I see tufts of fur and rabbit droppings near this hole that seems to be an entrance. I’ve filled the hole repeatedly but these critters make new entrances.
The rabbits roam on the back lawn and feast on young plants. Google tells me that if I see one rabbit in the yard it most likely means there are at least a dozen. Sometimes I see a family of three or four happily grazing on my plants — does that mean there are 3 or 4 dozen nearby?
A bit of research on rabbit reproduction tells me that the gestation period for a rabbit litter is only 29 days. Litters range in size from 5 to 12 babies! That means a mature female can have hundreds of baby rabbits within her lifespan! These critters are abundant and annoying.
I’m not prepared to live with a rabbit problem but I don’t want to hurt them. I want some humane way to deter the rabbits from feasting on my plants.
Lights, shiny objects, and motion scare devices are recommended to scare rabbits from a property. None of these have worked for me. My neighbour suggested chicken wire around the base of our wooden fence but I’m not sure I want to do that as the backyard is fairly large.
The internet recommends some natural repellants such as hot chilli peppers. A few packets of extra hot powdered chilli pepper cost me very little at the grocery store. When I re-planted on the weekend, I sprinkled the chilli powder on the young leaves and around the plants. The problem with this method is that I’ll have to re-apply each time it rains or when the sprinkler system is activated during a dry spell.
Predator urine is also recommended as a repellant for rabbits as the smell makes the rabbit think a larger animal is nearby. When I went to purchase coyote urine from an exterminator (which was the only animal urine available from this firm) in the small city where I live, I balked at the price of $119.99 plus HST for a 1-litre container! I can buy a lot of veggies and flowers for that kind of money!
I’m checking other suppliers as animal urine — either coyote or fox — is highly recommended as a deterrent! I can order online from several US suppliers but I would like a local option. If I’m lucky it will also deter my neighbour’s dog from our front lawn!
In the meantime, I’m sprinting through the back garden whenever I see a rabbit. Good exercise until the chilli powder works or until I find an animal ‘pee’ solution.