Rabbits are cute, fluffy, little animals that everyone loves, right? Well, that isn’t completely true. When you’re hanging out on your deck, you don’t want to wind up finding a rabbit – or worse, a family of them – living under there.
Sure, rabbits are cute, but they can cause a real set of problems. Two adult rabbits can produce three different litters, all of which can have anywhere from 2 to 10 bunnies during the warmer months of the year.
While that may sound mildly annoying, it can turn into a real problem. This is especially the case if you have a garden in your backyard. Rabbits can decimate a garden in short order and play havoc on your yard.
Even worse, if wild rabbits are nesting under your deck, there’s a pretty good chance that they will also die under there. If you haven’t smelled rotting rabbit before, consider yourself lucky. It can be highly unpleasant to deal with. Not only that, the rabbits can attract local predators and before you know it, you’ll have a troop of animals in your yard.
So, that brings us to the question of how to get rid of them. A bunny here and there may be a wonderful surprise, but a litter is something that you want to keep at bay. Here’s how you can do it.
Know What You’re Up Against
Before you can get going in earnest, you should know exactly what you’re dealing with. Take a look under the deck to see if there are droppings. If you do find them, you’ll know for certain that you have at least one rabbit on your hands.
The trick is to look for matted fur all over the ground. If you see matted fur, your worst nightmares have been confirmed: you have a rabbit’s nest under your deck. The problem here is that you won’t really know the full extent of the nest. It could be as few as two or as many as a couple dozen.
But just knowing that you have a problem is the first step. From there, you can go into the next steps of dealing with the rabbit problem.
Dealing with the Issue
Rabbits are actually a common enemy of the farmer. This is because rabbits can play havoc on a crop, making all of that effort wasted. Farmers don’t hesitate to eliminate rabbits (and other pests) as soon as they see the problem arise.
Of course, we’re not talking about farmers here and not all of us want to kill some cute little rabbits, so let’s look into other options.
The first step is to chase them away for the time being. You can use some kind of rabbit repellent or even humanely trap them, though the latter may require some kind of trapping permit from your local municipality.
Whatever method you go with, just make certain you get the rabbits out from under your deck before proceeding to the next step.
After You’ve Chased Them Off
When you are confident that you have chased the rabbits away, now it’s time to make sure that they don’t come back anymore. If you have any decorative lattice that you may have installed from the ground all the way up to the deck, it needs to be removed. Don’t worry, you’ll reinstall this after you put the steel netting into its proper place.
The next step is to use a hand trowel to dig out a small trench. You’re looking for about three inches of depth all the way around the perimeter of your deck. When you have completed your trench, you’ll install some hex netting into that trench. The reason it needs to be underground is to prevent the rabbits from crawling underneath.
Using Chicken Wire
Now it’s time to cut a couple of 2x4s into 3×4 lengths. This is to give yourself a base when it comes to installing the chicken wire. Keep in mind that you won’t need to install uninterrupted wood around the entirety of the deck; you just want enough installed so that your chicken wire is attached as firmly as possible to the deck. You will do this by drilling 3/4-inch holes at 12-inch intervals on the center of your 2x4s.
Next, lay down those cut and drilled 2x4s from before. You’ll want to put them on the ground all around the perimeter of the deck, just on the inside of the trench that you dug. Make sure that you work as tightly as you can around any footings and posts of the deck. You can secure the wood into the ground by hammering some nails or steel bars into the ground; whatever is easier for you to use.
Before handling the chicken wire, make sure that you are wearing leather gloves. Chicken wire can and will cut your hands if you don’t use protection and the leather gloves will allow you to work safely without worry.
Now comes time to install the hex netting. Start where the deck comes to meet the outside wall of your house. When unrolling your chicken wire, start with about two feet of it at a time. Make sure that the bottom edge of the chicken wire is down in the trench and touching your secured 2x4s.
Use a hammer to attach the chicken wire as well as your galvanized nails to the 2x4s as well as the outer floor joist. If your deck is higher up, all you have to do is nail your chicken wire to the posts instead. The goal is to make sure that the chicken wire stands up high enough off the ground that they won’t be able to jump over it. When you get to the stairs, work around them by going underneath them. This will allow you to walk up the steps without giving the rabbits access to the space between the stairs.
Lastly, make sure to fill the trench back in with dirt. When you are doing this, be certain that your buried wire will extend below the 2×4 to keep the rabbits from digging under. When you’ve finished installing the chicken wire, all you need to do is replace your lattice work over the top and your chicken wire will be secure.
This should successfully keep rabbits from entering the space under your deck, forcing them to find another space to nest. No more rabbits, no rabbit deaths on your conscience.
Trap If You Must
If building an enclosure around the entirety of your deck is not something that you want to do, it’s understandable but it leaves you with the question of how to get rid of the rabbit problem. You could, of course, trap them but there are some things to know.
The first is what your local animal control regulations are. You can’t just trap and release rabbits randomly; there will be release laws in your area that need to be complied to. When you’ve cleared this with your local municipality, the trapping is the easy part.
Live traps are great because they not only allow you to capture the rabbit but also remove them from your property entirely. If you have a severe rabbit infestation, keep in mind that this may take quite a bit of time to successfully get rid of all the rabbits.
Traps are also readily available both locally and online. You can bait the trap with something such as carrots, brussels sprouts, apples, or lettuce to entice the rabbits to hop in. Make sure that you monitor your traps regularly; you don’t want the rabbits to be in there for too long.
When you handle the traps, make sure that you wear protective gloves while releasing them. Make sure to go at least a mile away from your home before you release them; this should ensure that they do not return to your home.
Call in the Pros
If all else fails or you simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting rid of them, call in a professional pest control service. The best thing is that the pest control service specializes in getting rid of the problem and keeping them gone.
Not only can they safely remove the rabbits from your yard, they can help to implement repellent techniques that will protect your property from further infestation. Generally speaking, the service will schedule a follow-up. This is to ensure that the techniques that they are implementing are in accordance with any local laws.
While it may cost you a bit of money, it will also likely be the best possible way to get rid of your problem. Amateur techniques are just that and there are things that can go wrong in the process. Give yourself peace of mind in knowing that the job is done properly the first time out.
Rabbits may be cute, but they can be a huge problem if you let them be. There are lots of things that can be done to get rid of them, so don’t let them be a problem for long.