Rabbit fence details for veggie garden

granite_grrlApril 7, 2008

So after my battle with the rabbits last year, we are putting a small fence around the garder to stop the rabbits.

Currently we have made a base of landscape timbers, two timbers high. The bottom one is burried halfway on the outside of the garden, and it looks like the dirt be higher than the timber on the insider of the garden (when we're done adding stuff to the poor clay soil we have around here). I have heard of rabbits digging under. Does this happen very often? Do I need to add something that goes deeper to prevent this?

I was going to attach some wire fencing for the top portion of the fence. A) any sugestions on materials to use that are commonly avalible? B) how tall should I make this fence?

I saw one garden with a fence like this a while ago and they had their beans growing along the parimeter and climbing the wire fencing. Its was a great space saving plan, but I'm wonding if the rabbits would take the advantage and eat what parts of the plants they could. Would this idea work if I have rabbit problems?



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I have never seen a rabbit dig under anything. They do dig shallow depressions for nesting, but the way they enter my fenced in back yard is via the gates which have large enough openings for them to squeeze in. Never have they dug under the fence.

You kind of have to understand the rabbits in your area and this comes from experience watching what they eat and do not eat.

In my case my veggies are only vulnerable as seedlings in which case a single rabbit may mow down an entire row of beans or peas in one evening. Once those plants grow larger they are left alone. YMMV.

In other people's yards I have seen them grazing on old shrubs. In my yard they only graze on woody stuff in winter when nothing else is available.

In any event, a fence 2' or so tall is a good idea. I doubt you will have issues with them actually digging to get under it.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 4:55PM
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grandad_2003(9A/sunset 28)

Rebecca, your story reminds me of the time I bought a 2 1/2 tall "rabbit fence". Not sure why they called it that because it did not work worth a hoot. The rabbits decided that it was no problem to just jump the fence. About 6 or so years ago I bought an electric fence charger and use it to surround the garden with wires set at 6 and 12 inches off of the ground. I use one of those extension cord reels for the wire so that I can take it up and down in a few minutes. Just last weekend I set it up when I noticed rabbit footprints in the garden. I sure did not want my recently planted snap beans to germinate and then become a midnight snack for the rabbits.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 4:59PM
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Good to know about the digging, I really didn't want to do anything on that end of things.

I noticed the rabbits would mow through my seedings last year, they loved the peas, beans and beets. The beats were totally safe once they started to age, the peas and beans took a little longer. But yes, they preferred the young plants, though I can't remember at what point the rabbits left my peas and beans alone. :(

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 5:00PM
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Rebecca, your story reminds me of the time I bought a 2 1/2 tall "rabbit fence". Not sure why they called it that because it did not work worth a hoot. The rabbits decided that it was no problem to just jump the fence.

I consider myself grateful that none of the rabbits around my location would jump a 2.5' tall fence, but it just goes to show that each garden is a bit different. This year I noticed that my raspberries and blueberries were 'pruned' by rabbits much higher up than I thought possible. The reason I suspect rabbits is because of the generous 'fertilizer' pellets they left at the scene of the crime.

The way I look at it is I would rather deal with rabbits than squirrels. Rabbits can be stopped with fencing, squirrels are only stopped by laser firing robots with advanced AI capable of making the "Terminator" movies come to pass.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 5:45PM
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I just saw my cat catch a young squirrel. Want to rent a cat?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 8:14PM
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I would rent *your* cat. Most I find just get fat and lazy and chasing down a mouse is asking too much. If you have a cat that kills squirrels I will gladly rent it and ask only for a care sheet ;-)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 8:55PM
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ole_dawg(7 UpCountry SC)

I grow lettuce and I also have a cat. I groom here ever day as she is shedding now and I save the trufs of hair and spread they around my containers and I have had no rabbit troubles and I know they are around as I see their poop in other places

THE DAWG Yes, she only has three legs. Trapped by a friendly neighbor.

1eyedJack and the Dawg

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 9:39PM
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granite(z6 NC)

I have a 2' fence around my more tender veggies to protect from rabbits. As long as you can keep them from pushing under the bottom edge or squeezing between areas where the fence joins, it does just fine.

No help against the boomers though. For those of you not from this area, a "boomer" looks like a long-tailed chipmunk and is correctly known as a golden mantled ground squirrel. My husband thinks they are "cute" and forbids me to do them damage. They have cleared out all of my crocus and dig holes and tunnels everywhere.

Yeah, they are cute. But I'd kill them if I could get away with it.

Granite_grrl you are in my name territory! I'm granite because my family says I am stubborn as a rock and they've called me granite since I was very small (rhymes with my real name, Janet).

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 10:31PM
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Janet, the user name I have doesn't come from my new found enjoyment of gardening at all. I major hobby is Rock climbing, and I learned to climb on the granite cliffs in Nova Scotia. But yes, I am also stubborn as a rock too. :)

From the sounds of it 3" should be sufficient for the average rabbit. I don't think the ones around here haev become super jumpers yet.

I really enjoyed what sugar snap peas I managed to get last year so I may keep the bush type and experiament with some beans and peas growing up the fence. If the rabbits leave them alone, great. If not then I've learned my leasson.

The stories of the othe vermits that every one else has to deal with is funny. The squirrls are an annoyance, but not a crop destroyer. Here's hoping that I'll have a fruitful garden once I get the bunnies under control!


    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 8:20AM
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granite(z6 NC)

Well then we stubborn granite girls will just have to stick together...or knock heads.


I've found that if you can protect that first 6 to 8" of growth on beans, the rabbits will then leave them alone. So...a temporary buffer of some sort (chicken wire tunnel, motion activated water sprinkler, a line of carnivore/omnivore hair [hey I have shelties, they shed; and I've heard of people getting hair clippings from the local salon], pinecones, short upright sticks as pickets) can baby the new beans until they're tall enough/tough enough to not be interesting for the bunnies.

Bunnies graze off the tender stuff, once the growing tip gets past their nibble height they generally look for other things to eat. I leave a patch of clover going to distract them. It usually works but last year's drought had the grass at a non-growth period and so the danged rabbits attacked my garden and ate all the beans to the dirt; every stem, every leaf.

Squirrels (including boomers) like to eat the fruit off the plants...so they will grab the tomatoes and eat one bite and drop them, pick the peas, etc. And no fence will stop them. Cats help, but then they poo in your garden.

This year we hope to fence the entire backyard with a short fence at the garden so that our shelties can run the yard. I'm hoping to scare the crap out of the moles, voles, bunnies and boomers by having an intermittent and unpredictable dog patrol.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 9:49PM
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wayne_perrier(z9 CA)

electric fence or dogs : That's the way to go

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 12:56AM
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barngod(Z7/ VA)

either my garden is to big to affordably fence..or I'm to cheap/lazy to fence it all in (pick one or all)...the best cure I found for my bunny troubles, (since after feasting on my seedlings they decided to eat the beans off the surviving green bean plants) was to put a cable run for my rabbit dogs between the woods and my garden..kills 2 birds with 1 stone the dogs get plenty of exercise and the rabbit is too busy playing with the dog to get into the garden. as for squirrels....umm either terminator robots or landmines....maybe??!!?? The local tree-rats are to busy getting into the coffee grounds in my compost heap to bother the garden!!!!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 9:06AM
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You granite girls are in for a rude awakening one of these fine summer days. I had a row of pole beans growing up a trellis about 3 or 4 ft when I noticed them getting a putrid tan color. Upon closer inspection the bottoms were eaten. I assume it was a rabbit as I am plagued with them.

I was catching 1 or 2 a week in my haveaheart trap. Everything was good until I caught a skunk. OK but then I caught another one or maybe the same one and I haven't used the trap since.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 10:28PM
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granite(z6 NC)

Oh greengrass1 I am aware of the bunnies changing ways. As I said earlier, the bunnies GENERALLY eat only the tender tips; but last year with the drought they ate my beans to the ground, every stem and every leaf. They don't seem to be interested in tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, or zucchini.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 9:24PM
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If you throw an old blanket over the trap the skunk wont spray. Cover the trap FULLY with the blanket. Transport to a save location. Open the trap and run like he**. Cause when he comes out the tail and butt will be gunnin for ya.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 10:11AM
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