My wife and I are long-time urban gardeners. Traditionally I have grown the vegetables, while she has grown the flowers. Over the years she has helped out with the vegetables and me with the flowers.
We really enjoy our gardens. Like every gardener, we have our share of challenges — plant diseases, bad weather, insects and especially rabbits.
Rabbits don’t cultivate, they don’t plant, they don’t weed, they don’t thin, they don’t pick, they don’t do any of the things that make gardening a combination of work and fun.
They do one thing, though — they eat. They eat bean plants. They eat parsley. They eat tulips. They eat our gardens and I don’t like it! Nothing personal. They’re cute, furry little creatures. But they don’t belong in my yard and my garden.
Unfortunately for us, our Linden Woods neighbourhood is rabbit central. It’s home to untold numbers of rabbits. It’s a land of opportunity for bunnies.
So it’s me against them. I started by fencing in my vegetable patch. The rabbit got under the fence and ate my beans. I’m no dummy, though. Now I anchor my chicken wire fence with metal pegs that hold it firmly down. Score one for Farmer Joe!
The rabbits were breeding under our deck. Chicken wire to the rescue again. We closed in all the space between the bottom of the deck and the ground. Let them go breed somewhere else. Score two for Farmer Joe!
Rabbits have a keen sense of smell. We tried spreading blood meal around the plants. Not very effective as the blood meal kept washing away with every rain or watering. So we moved on to a wicked spray called Liquid Fence which reeks like rotten eggs. The spray is supposed to not wash away, and indeed it did help quite a lot. Another point!
And finally, the trap! For about $100 I bought myself a real genuine rabbit trap. And it works.
Here’s what I do: When I spot a rabbit lurking around our yard, I put out some of the bait on a little plate and leave the trap nearby. The rabbit stops by and enjoys a meal.
The next day the bait moves inside the trap. This part is trickier. The rabbit wants the food but he’s usually wary of the trap. He sniffs at it, circles it and often goes away. But usually the temptation is too great. He comes back, summons up his courage and crawls in. Score another big point for the Old Guy!
And for you animal lovers, I don’t do them any harm. I transport the trap, rabbit inside, to just outside the city and open it up. Voila! The urban rabbit is now a country dweller.
Joe Leven is a Winnipeg-based writer.
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