Rabbits: A neighbourhood pest!

neighbourhood rabbit landscape

Rach went to drive to her workplace at Foxeys Hangout earlier this week and was startled to see two rabbits and a guinea pig sitting under our car!

For days the rabbits hid under our house. Every time we tried to lure them out, the rabbits were simply too fast. Every now and again they would wander down the road – but by the next morning they would be back in our yard nibbling out our delicious vegetables and favourite plants! Seemingly there was nothing we could do…

neighbourhood rabbit
The brown rabbit was a little more brazen than the grey rabbit. Apologies for the poor quality image – within a second the rabbits disappear so I had to be quick!

Over a few days, we would see the guinea pig, a brown rabbit and a grey rabbit. We could see them, and try and catch them – but we were never successful.

One night we had about five friends over for dinner and (being good friends that they are) they decided to help us catch these pests. Well, it was quite an interesting experience! With seven people set in position around the duck coop, and darkness falling, we laid a hand on the guinea pig but it was able to escape with sheer desperation. When we all went out to try and catch the grey rabbit, we were able to corner it but it was still able to duck and weave and get away from all of us. It was at this point our confidence was at its lowest ebb.

Fortunately, several days later we played a more aggressive game with the rabbits. We found the brown one nibbling away at our plants so Matt chased it behind the pile of bricks. Fortunately it got stuck, and we were able to pick it up and give it back to our neighbour to keep it safely locked up. One rabbit down – one to go!

Only a few days later, we were given the opportunity to catch the guinea pig. After blocking up its usual escape routes (we had seen it escape way too often by now) we made our move. After lifting the duck coop, the guinea pig ran under our nesting box for the chickens. Matt lifted the box, and the guinea pig was caught. Another pest down!

Rabbit damage

The grey rabbit in particular seemed to love feasting on all of our favourite plants. Rach’s vine cuttings from the vineyard took a big hit, and you can see the damage in the picture below. After most of the damage we set up some chicken wire to fence off the cuttings, but the damage was already done.

Oregano also seemed like a favourite for the rabbit. Normally we wouldn’t be at all worried, but we had just cut back the oregano to dry out – leaving very little of the plants left. Perhaps the rabbit enjoyed nibbling the fresh new growth, but some of our oregano definitely got nibbled back a bit. Our property seems to have perfect growing conditions for oregano however, and all the oregano has bounced back marvellously.

rabbit damage
Because we were unable to catch the grey rabbit, we suffered some damage to the vine cuttings Rach put in the garden bed.

Compare this to the cuttings that were on our garden shelf, and therefore inaccessible to a ravenous rabbit (below).

Finally the grey rabbit was caught. It wasn’t on our property though. One night while having dinner with some more friends, we looked out and saw 8 of our neighbours encircling a bush and looking jubilant after catching the grey rabbit. As it turns out, that rabbit was terrorising the whole neighbourhood’s vegetables, and there were plenty of relieved people after it was finally caught!

We were surprised at how much damage could be done in such a short amount of time. When we’re growing much larger quantities of fruit and vegetables we will need to be more careful and take many more precautions than we have this time.

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