How to Bunny Proof Your Backyard and Garden in 5 Steps

Bill Taylor
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Step 1: Getting a Positive ID

The first important step in bunny proofing your home is to get an accurate identification of the pest you're dealing with. It's important to realize that what you think is a rabbit may not actually be a rabbit. The first step to successful bunny proofing is a proper identity of the bunny. To make a positive identification of the pest you are dealing with put a small amount of chocolate on a small plate. Place the plate in the garden (or separate area) where the bunnies frequent. Within 15 minutes you should have your answer.

Should you have your determination in your mind, in the mind of others or you cannot wait for an answer you may choose a different method. Place some good quality dog food in the garden. Within 15 minutes you should have your answer. If you have not determined what type of animal you are dealing with yet you can use a few different methods. The first is you may use the chocolate method or the dog food method. The advantages of these two methods are, you will know what you are dealing with and if you have a dog or cat that is your animal is not in danger.

Step 2: Clean Up the Yard

What are you going to plant, how will you plant it, and what is the most efficient way to maintain it without destroying the bunnies’ habitat?

The area of your lawn that the bunnies are taking care of will be very important in the landscape design and home improvements that you make.

According to the Humane Society of America, the ideal environment for bunnies is similar to our ideal landscape: provide them with ground cover such as grasses or low-lying flowers (but keep it flowering) and add a few low shrubs for shade. Keep the flowers in bloom throughout the year.

Bunnies like to live close to fresh water sources like rivers, streams, ponds, and small bodies of water. So be sure to have a constant supply of fresh water in your pond or water feature.

Your landscape design could include a vegetable garden, anything you want to plant that the bunnies could possibly eat.

Step 3: Fence Them Out of the Garden

You'd be surprised by how much damage a pair of rascally bunnies can do in a matter of days, especially when it comes to your beautiful garden. However, if you want to take measures to protect your edible plants, there's no better solution than putting a fence up (preferably wire mesh) to prevent them from approaching your backyard.

When you're dealing with bunnies, a fence at least two feet tall will be necessary. If you opt for a solution with caging, build it high enough that they can't hop over it and secure the bottom, so the fence won't topple. You can also use the fencing to segregate small sections of your backyard for specific plants. This will allow your garden to be more productive.

Step 4: Make Your Backyard Uninviting

This step is probably the most important to prevent your rabbit from escaping. The main reason is that a rabbit's instinct is to get over, under or through any obstacle in the environment. Think of it as baby bunny superpowers. Rabbits are likely to squeeze through any opening that even remotely looks like it will fit their head. Your rabbit is not trying to destroy your house. They don't know that they can't fit through that hole or around the side of your chair. They just know there's a gap and they need to get through it to survive.

First step: close off any gaps that are big enough to fit your rabbit's head through. Doors, windows that open for access, any fencing that has a hole big enough for a rabbit to squeeze through should be blocked off. There are many products available to temporarily block any gaps. You can buy a piece of cardboard, cut a slanted hole in it and press it over the top of the opening. When you are done, take it down. You can also use a wire mesh or a sheet of metal that you can lay over the opening for a temporary solution. You can also staple, nail, or tape some hardware cloth (strong galvanized steel mesh that you can buy at any local hardware store) over the top of the opening to make it impenetrable.

Deterrents

If you have bunnies that come into your backyard, garden, or feeder, they don't fear humans, and people probably feed them. Moving them to another area is the only thing that will really work. Your rabbit-proofing will not work completely, but it will give you some relief from the constant chewing and digging in your garden or flowerbed.

Deterrent 1: Don't feed your bunnies.

Prevent bunnies from ever visiting your yard again. Even if you clean up afterward, a taste of your yard will cause them to return.

Deterrent 2: Use rabbit repellent

A stronger product for repeated visits, sometimes bunnies dig around the product to eat food from your flowerbed.

Deterrent 3: Use fencing

Your fences should be at least 2-3 feet high with no way to climb over or dig under.

Deterrent 4: Use plastic mesh

Scatter plastic mesh over the top of your garden to discourage digging and chewing throughout the season.

Deterrent 5: Use large-mesh netting

For hard-to-reach places, this mesh will discourage digging and chewing.

Step 5: The Last Resort

The last and least desirable step is to trap the rabbit. Most rabbits are smart enough to avoid traps. Cats that are outside are great for scaring them off, but if they get into your home they are really not of much use. If you have used the previous 4 steps and the rabbit is still getting into your garden you have no choice but to use a trap. There is a really good one made by Havahart designed for catching pet bunnies. The trap is basically a large cage that you bait to attract the rabbit. When the rabbit goes into the cage to get the bait it slides closed and you place it in the back of your truck. The rabbit will be out of your garden in a few days.

Pet Care

Pet care can be a great and relatively inexpensive way to boost confidence by caring for creatures less fortunate than yourself.

Pets of all sizes can make good company and can be a lot of fun too… if you get the right match … and it needn’t be an expensive one.

This mini guide will help you to choose a pet that is right for you and your family. It will also provide you with information to keep you and your pet happy and healthy, and provide you with advice you can trust.

Tips for Keeping Rabbits Out of Your Yard

Your first step is to stop using all human food as a lure. Next, remove anything that might provide shelter. The purpose of these first two steps is to make your yard inhospitable to the rabbits. Don't throw food out your car window, or keep a bird feeder on the deck. Don't feed wild birds, squirrels, or other wild animals.

Next, to further discourage rabbits from your yard, make it as impossible for them to gain access as possible. Rabbits love to burrow, so seal your foundation vents with metal or hard plastic mesh to keep them out. If you have any openings near your yard – like an access door or underground pipes – seal them off with a metal grate.

If you’re still encountering problems, it’s time to move on to the tough love phase. Next, put on thick gloves and chase the rabbits out of your yard. If they’re coming back you’ll have to use a little physical force. Look for weak access points and work your way in, this time using heavy objects to force the rabbit out.

Final Thoughts

If you want to get an idea of what your backyard would look like with cute little rabbits running around, watch the movie Babe. This is where the movie Babe the pig was inspired from.

Rabbits differ from other animals. You can't simply leave them in your backyard, and when you can't take your eyes off them, you have to take action.

Once you begin to understand rabbits, you will be able to bunny-proof your garden and backyard in no time.

Here are a few final thoughts before you begin to bunny-proof your garden and backyard:

Vaccinate your rabbits: Unfortunately brown-tail mites and viral haemorrhagic disease are common in wild rabbits, so vaccinate your rabbits against these diseases. A rabbit's immune system is not as strong as other animals. So a simple infection can devastate a rabbit.

Heart worm pills: You may have heard of heartworm from your vet, table, or clients. What about rabbits? Rabbits are susceptible to heartworm, so the more you know about your pets the better.

Rabbits in gardens: You might run into a variety of other animals that you want to keep out of your garden. Find out how to keep finches out of your garden.