Keep Rabbits Out of the Garden

Fluffy, Cute, Cuddly little creatures that is how many people would describe bunnies. To be honest so would I most of the time, unless they are in my garden. They can be the bane of many large or even small gardens.  So how do you keep rabbits out of the garden?

First we need to keep in mind that they are only there because there is easy food to be had. I have mentioned several times that I love animals and really I don’t want to hurt them.  If you are one of those people who just love rabbits, and I am not talking about eating them, you can check out more about bunnies here.  That is not what this site is about though.  So there are many methods that people say work and others that do not.  Most of them work to some degree or another, but the animals can become used to the tactic and ignore it.

Plants

It is no secret that cute little bunny loves to eat plants, and many kinds of plants.  Mostly soft tender ones.  There are some plants that people claim to be rabbit proof.  That being said if you are just looking at trying to make your garden or yard look good and it is not a vegetable garden then you are in luck.  Plants like foxglove, yarrow, yucca and even elderberry seem to be somewhat resistant to the furry little eating machines.  This does not mean they wont touch them it just they are somewhat resistant to them.

Believe it or not there are some veggies they are actually not that fond of which include, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers (although I would argue this at times), squash, and even peppers.  The hot peppers tend to deter them the most.  Again these are things that they like less than other plants.

Some people suggest planting a small garden of things they really like to keep them off of the stuff you want to keep.  To me this is just short sighted.  We all know rabbits are great multipliers, and I am not talking about mathematics here. Since I mentioned mathematics, just keep this in mind.  That cute little animal only lives about 1 to 2 years, but can have 16 babies in a year.  So if you plant a small garden of their favorites, you might have more than you bargained in a short time.  To me it is better to get them out safely from the beginning.

Trim your bushes back, clear the undergrowth, and keep up with the undergrowth.  Doing this will cut down on places for them to hide and they may move on from your yard on their own.

Scent Repellents

We have all seen that little bunny nose twitching a mile a second. Guess why they do that?  Yep, they are smelling things.  They have a great sense of smell.  They use this to make sure things are safe around them and safe to eat.  You can buy a variety of commercial rabbit repellents or even make your own.

There are all different kinds of commercial repellents available.  Many of them use a mix of blood meal and bone meal.  These are normally made with animal blood and the smell makes the animals think a predator is nearby.  You can even get coyote or fox urine to spread around the yard.  This will keep the prey animals away.  When buying urine though you want to make sure the animals that it is taken from were handed ethically.  You can find out with just a little research.

One of the ones that works well for both rabbits and deer is mixing two eggs in a gallon of water and spraying it on the leaves of the plants.  As it dries the egg lets off a small sulfuric smell that will repel the animals.  The issue with this is you need to re-apply this often.  Every few days or after a good rain.

Another good one is to take a gallon of water, mix in 7 or so cloves of garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper, 1 tablespoon of dish soap liquid (like Dawn), and a good pinch of black pepper.  Let this set overnight and then spray the plants with it.  You will need to do it every few days for a few weeks.  The dish soap helps the liquid stick to the plants. After a week of not seeing any new signs the rabbits are munching away you can stop.  You will need to keep an eye on things though as it might start again.

Rabbit Fences

One of the most effective ways of keeping bunnies out of the garden is to put in a rabbit fence.  You can make them out of chicken wire.  Make sure they are 2 to 3 feet tall all around your garden.  The biggest thing is to also make sure that you did down and place it 6-10 inches deep.  One of the best tricks when building the fence is to make sure you bend the fence 90 degrees outward  from your garden.  Making this lip underground extend 6 inches as well.  What this does is even if they start trying to burrow under the fence, they run into another barrier.

While these can be very effective, they are also somewhat unsightly.  So you might want to look at other methods as well.

Motion Sensor Lights

Most nocturnal animals, if you shine a light on them they will run for the hills.  This might work for some rabbits but in the long run they get used to the lights.  It will work well for other animals though.  So keep that in mind.

Ultrasonic Motion Sensors

I actually really like these for their versatility with scaring away many animals.  They can cover a large area relatively easily and they are not an eyesore.  The best part of them is you don’t hear them go off!  All of that being said, they don’t tend to be as effective on rabbits.  I think they just adapt to them too quickly, but ultrasonic motion sensors do have their place to rid your yard of other pests.

Motion Sensor Sprinklers

These are one of my go to items for garden animal control.  After all do you like it if you suddenly get sprayed in the face with water?  Probably not. The best part is it doesn’t hurt the animal (or you, other than your pride) in any way.  You hear the nice little click and a spray.  Perfect a trigger noise and the result of a spray, this is why it is effective.

Depending on the number of animals you are trying to get out of the garden or yard, you may at times over water it.  Normally this is not an issue though.  Many of the models also have a feature that only utilize the motion sensor during certain hours.  This allows you to go into the garden and not get sprayed because you forgot to turn it off.

Other Animals

Nothing can send a rabbit running quicker than if something is running after it; enter stage right Fido, Rex, or Spot.  That is right your old best friend loves to chase things.  Well that can be a good thing.  A quick bark and then a short chase will get those rabbits out of the way.  That being said you want to make sure your dog doesn’t catch the bunny or it could get sick.  So just make sure the dog is well trained.

Conclusions

There are many ways to keep rabbits out of your garden or yard.  The biggest thing is to get started at the first sign on a rabbit.  Don’t wait until it is too late and you are overrun by them.  Also don’t forget to alternate what you do or the animal will get used to it and simply ignore the threat.  Another way I did not mention above is to trap them and release them somewhere else.  If you choose to do this make sure that you check your local laws so you don’t get in trouble.  Save your prized veggies like I did and keep those animals out of your garden.

If you have any questions, comments, your own experiences please comment below.  I love hearing about them.

6 thoughts on “Keep Rabbits Out of the Garden

  1. andrejs

    Hi and thanks for the really valuable post.
    I am not familiar with rabbits and their habits. I recently moved to the countryside. About three months ago we decided to buy Indian Runner ducks.
    Before that was an idea about rabbits. Honestly and luckily my wife had changed her intention about rabbits. I do not wanna say that rabbits are worthless animals, but in my situation, it would very hard keep them out of the garden.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks or the comment. Yeah rabbits are great but they also can quickly become a problem. What were you going to do with the rabbits? Sell them as pets or as food? Just curious. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

      Marc

      Reply
  2. Margaret

    You are right. Rabbits are so pretty and cuddly but a huge pest to farmers here in Australia. Where I live keeping one as a pet is illegal and the fines are huge. Even if you have them de-sexed. Is one type of repellent better than the others? Are they just for home gardeners? it would be great if you could come up with a solution for market gardeners.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      For large scale farms it is quite different. Although they do have some larger motion sensor sprinklers that do work. They are just not as practical for a large farm.

      Thank you for the comment.

      Marc

      Reply
  3. Sethu

    As you said, it’s kinda cute to see those rabbits in our yard. But the chaos they make is a sharp contrast to their cute looks. Our neighbor is doing rabbit farming for about a month or so, but they opt not to use cage system. But they couldn’t control them either. Most of the time, they can be seen in our yard eating all the vegetables and flowers.

    We told our neighbors about the problem but they’ve tended to turn a deaf ear to our requests. Now it seems like we should find a way to solve this issue. Your article certainly helped and we’ll try to put these suggestions into practice.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Sethu,

      Thanks for the comment and I am sorry to hear about your neighbor’s reaction, or lack there of, to their rabbits.

      Once you implement the things you were going to try, let us know what ones were most effective for you.  We would love to hear about your results.

      Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you out.

      Marc

      Reply

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