Rabbits

The snow certainly made my nursery more accessible…and inviting.

Tomorrow i can probably see more damage with the snow gone but a partial tally:

Several harrow sweet bit it, they NEVER hit pears before
Somerset redstreak, only tree
Blue pearmain, had 2whips, both gone
Not sure what else destroyed

And lots girdled halfway-ish around.

Displeased.

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So sorry to hear that! How disappointing and irritating. !(#@*&$! rabbits!

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My guess is this summer i will be feeding myself or the crows…

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Sounds like a good plan. Last rabbit my son shot was cooked with supper. :yum:
I found some rabbit damage a few days ago too. It was on a pear tree that I am growing down in our pasture, far enough away from the house that the dogs and cats weren’t a threat, apparently. They girdled it halfway around the trunk in multiple spots.

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I posted somewhere about this myself. I had my worst rabbit year ever. Honestly I should have expected it because I saw more rabbits around the yard and orchard this winter. I learned that they prefer apple over everything…by a wide margin. THey don’t seem to like peach at all. Pears in the middle here.

THe good news is I find them quite tasty and have no reservations about harvesting them for the table!

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I didnt see them, but one day in late dec. i passed the nursery and saw it: rabbit turds in the snow. A second after i saw all the girdled trunks but even seeing the poop i was like “oh noooo”

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I am with you 100%. Its never a good sign to see those little round drops!

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Why don’t you guys use those commercially available plastic trunk wraps to protect from rabbits? Or don’t they work?

They don’t work, rabbits will chew through them. Just my experience, but cotton tails will eat anything. In the winter, I found them eating my spruce trees! Nothing was safe you would need something thicker, or maybe hardware cloth could help. The real issue comes with the snow, they are light enough that they can often stay on top of a deep snow, and depending on how high your drifts are, this could get them to the canopy of a tree (depending on age and how you are growing/training the tree).
I now live where there are more jackrabbits, and they don’t seem to be as much of a nuisance, but time will tell.

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I used plastic trunk wraps, hardware cloth, Liquid Fence spray repellant, Jaws mouse traps, plus deer fencing and chicken wire in various combinations, so I wonder what I will find when the snow melts and I get out to my orchards both here at home and several miles away. The critters especially go after my Nelson blackberries. I spritzed them with repellent generously in late December , so we will see. It is predicted to rain all day tomorrow, so that should melt much of the snow. It got up to 63 today, so the snow is melting fast.

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It is a pretty bad rabbits year this year. I have never had so wide and severe rabbits damages in my yard . It not only chewed bark off of plum, pear, peach, but also ate one of my flowering plants to about couple of feet left. I have bamboo shoots growing in the yard, they were chewed half way through and floped on the ground now. My Shiro J plum grows closer/lower to the ground, now it is only half of the original size . The lower branches of Dripping Honey lost their fruits buds. The rabbits are gourmet eaters and only eat the best parts in a branch, the flower buds. One of peach branch that I was going to let it grow into a new scaffold(to replace the old scaffold), it only have couple of centermeters stub left. Talk about rabbit drops, they’re all over the yard! Friends of mine thought it was so cool, natural organic fertilizer :roll_eyes:. I need a barn cat to help control this sucker.

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The rabbits didn’t chew the trunk, they chewed tender/juicy branches. What I am talking about is the rabbits standing on 3~4 feet high platform of snow.

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Our cats have helped control the rabbits tremendously! We went for a period of a year or 2, can’t remember exactly, with no cats and the rabbit population boomed! They were into everything, especially every green thing I planted in my garden in the spring. I highly recommend at least 2 cats. You should let them hunt outside at night, you might be surprised how many different kinds of rodents they will get.

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I lost my boy couple of years ago and I miss him everyday. He was a strayed cat. We found him in the wood of a state park in bad shape. He walked over and started to play with us. He let us known that he wanted to go home with us so we took him back. The vet said he was a adult cat about 1~2 years old at that time. He was a wonderful, well trained, well behaved cat. Didn’t know how long he had been in the woods by himself. But he certainly gained excellence survival skills of hunting for food. Since he was a outdoor cat , we let him continued to be outdoor. We had a cat door made for him so he could be in and out anytime he wanted except he must be home by 9 O’Clock at night. He executed curfew very well. 90% of times, he came back home around 9:00, occasionally he was later till midnight, handful of times in his almost 10 years living with us he stayed out the whole night. When he was alive I had never had rabbits problem. I have been thinking adopt another cat since my boy passed away. But as a member of the family, adopting a cat is not as easy as one thinks. It is like a marriage, needs to have certain connections and traits in order to live together in harmony. I have not found such luck yet.

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My daughter has a rabbit (Netherlands dwarf) and I use its bedding and droppings throughout the yard. It has significantly reduced my issues with wild rabbits destroying things. Of course I have a much smaller homestead to deal with (1/8th acre including the house and garage) but our rabbit population has been significant for a number of years.

Beautiful cat Annie. We have a couple, but they are pretty timid and almost never go outside. My dog, a Jack Russell/Beagle mix doesn’t even like spending time outside without me there with her.

I have had my tube traps out and been busy with squirrels and a lone rat so far this year already. I’m hoping to get a jump on the buggers before breeding season begins in earnest.

Scott

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He sounds like he was a great cat, and you were blessed to have such a good hunter as part of your family! If we lived closer to each other, I would be tempting you with pictures of our kittens. We have a few more than we need right now and I want them to go to good homes/farms. :grinning:

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If you were closer I’d be out there looking at your kittens. My ex-wife and son have been wanting to get a kitten since last summer and they’ve had the hardest time. Everytime they respond to an ad about kittens they are told that there have already been many inquiries.

Who would ever suspect getting a kitten would be difficult? (besides who here would turn down getting to see another member’s garden??)

Scott

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Oh gosh, it’s hard to imagine not being able to find free kittens! But it does go in cycles around here too. Right now all the farm and ranch families have plenty of kittens, so many of us are trying to find homes for a few of them.

And I could maybe get some free advice out of it too! win-win! :smile:

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Rabbits were out here, too. I wrap my trees with hardware cloth, so they didn’t get through that, but apparently the snow was high enough that they were able to do quite a bit of damage above the wrapping.

Mostly they hit my pears, and they hit them pretty hard, chewing off a number of branches that were supposed to become scaffolds in a Belgian fence. Since they didn’t get to the trunks I’m hoping they’ll bounce back eventually. Interestingly, they also got after my aronia and my Nanking cherries, which they’d never showed any interest in previously, but they didn’t do any damage to my apples that I’ve been able to see at this point.

My eight-year-old daughter is a devoted bunny-lover, so aggressive tactics are off the table, but I will have to find a way to protect the trees better next year. I’m thinking that I will wrap the scaffold branches on the more vulnerable trees, put chicken wire around the bushes, and try to stamp down/shovel away the snow so the rabbits can’t reach what’s not protected.

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It indeed a blessing. He was the first cat I touched (at the park) and lived with. Surely he had made great impression on me. He provided me an window of opportunities of understanding the intelligence of a cat, an amazing animal.

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