Smiling as I stepped into my hoop-building garden, I took a deep breath and looked around. The smell of good soil and the sight of beautiful growing plants filled me with joy. I didn’t have time to weed, but did have time for making an inspection of the growing plants. I immediately spotted a problem. Something looked different.
There appeared to be fewer carrots than I remembered from the day before. Looking closer, I discovered a small carrot peeking out of the soil, its ferny carrot top missing as if someone had taken a scissor and lopped it off. Its developing greenery was nowhere to be seen.
In the row of peas, every single plant was either chewed down to a stub or entirely missing. Over half of the kale I’d planted was missing, too. I knew who the culprits were. Scanning my back yard, I spotted a small rabbit sitting next to a flowerbed. Another was fearlessly hopping across the lawn. Rabbit number three was nibbling on grass nearer to the river bank.
That evening when talking to my daughter Tammie, I complained, “Years ago when one of the mouse traps killed a rodent, a friend of mine claimed that for every mouse you catch in the house, there are ten more living in the walls. I suspect the same ratio exists for rabbits. For every rabbit you see out in the open, there are ten more hiding in the tall grass.”
My daughter exclaimed, “Ew! That means you have thirty rabbits in your yard!”
I answered with a sigh, “And there are probably also thirty deer who visit my yard every night. You should see what they’re doing to the flowerbed along the driveway.”
There’s a point when I need to stop complaining and start doing something. I reached that moment when I spotted those three rabbits hopping around in my yard acting as if they owned the place.
What could I to do? A Bugs Bunny cartoon with Elmer Fudd trying to shoot the “waskly wabbit” with his double-barreled shotgun came to mind. Shaking my head, I concluded, “Can’t use a gun, too many neighbors within buck shot range.”
When I have a problem I don’t know how to solve, I do what any good old-fashioned girl would do. I go online to ask Mr. Google for advice. I found several sites that dealt with the problem of rabbits and the damage they do. Their suggestions to remedy the problem were all similar. Unfortunately, none of the solutions made me joyfully jump to my feet and cry with glee, “Why didn’t I think of this?”
Suggestions one, two and three were, clear away hiding places, eliminate their access to food sources, and put up barriers. This would be impossible for me to do. There will always be hiding places and a food for them since my yard is beside a river with many acres of woodland on the banks. I already have chicken wire around some of my plants. The rabbits and deer use it as a trim-guide, like a bowl for an old fashioned haircut.
Another idea was to frighten the unwanted animals away. It suggested to put sheets of tin foil, silver flutter tapes or a radio in the garden. Hang bags of perfumed soap between rows. Get a dog. Even the article admitted the rabbits would quickly get over their fear and return to eating.
I know of only one sure way to eliminate rabbits in my yard, but I can’t just go out and buy what I want. We need to have fox living in the neighborhood. Several years ago, a female fox raised five kits in a den on the backside of my yard. We never saw a single rabbit when they were around.
The last Mr. Google suggestion was to trap and relocate. If I did this, where would I release them? Into another garden several miles from here? They are multiplying so fast, I would have to do that over thirty times!
I talked to my daughter after doing my rabbit problem research. I pointed out, “Getting Elmer Fudd…or someone like him…wouldn’t work, either. It would be like trying to catch all of Niagara Falls in one teacup.
For sure rabbits & deer are a problem. Most of my flowers were ‘chomped’ early this year & now some think they may make a comeback, but I feel it might be too late. Guess they need to eat & i can enjoy everything they didn’t eat!!!
I like you charitable view point. I didn’t feel the same spirit of sharing when I discovered every single pea plant in the garden chewed down to the ground.
Did your fox friend ever show up again? When food is so abundant, predators are never far behind to bring it all back into balance it seems, as long as we aren’t making it too hard to the predators. 🙂 Unfortunately, they don’t always arrive in time for one year’s garden.
Construction destroyed the fox den. They moved away. With no fox around, the rabbits are multiplying fast. I expect fox to move back again at some point.