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Fencing Most Effective Method of Keeping Rabbits Away from Gardens

LINCOLN, Neb. — When little bunny foo foo hops through your garden and eats your flowers, you don’t need an elaborate trap to get him out. All you need is a fence.

“Fencing really is the solution,” said Stephen Vantassel, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln program coordinator for the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.

Vantassel recommends using a chicken wire fence around gardens with the bottom buried about four inches or flared outward and securely fastened to the ground to protect against digging.

The fence needs to be two feet high to protect against cottontail rabbits and three feet high to protect against jackrabbits.

Fence life can be extended by removing it in the fall and storing it for the winter.

If there is a fence around the yard, a perimeter fence built on to the existing fence with a two by three inch mesh will exclude adult rabbits.

Large areas such as tree farms and nurseries can be protected with a double-strand electric fence or an electrified plastic-net fence. Place electric wires at three to four inches and at eight to 12 inches about the ground.

There are other methods of ridding rabbits from a garden, but Vantassel doesn’t recommend them.

“I think a lot of people are always looking for some sort of potion that they can spray to keep the rabbits away,” he said.

Trapping is often impractical because Nebraska regulations prohibit relocating rabbits more than 100 yards from site of capture. Shooting is prohibited in developed areas due to concerns about safety, Vantassel said.

More information is available in a NebGuide at: http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=1293

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