Those Plentiful Rabbits. . .
It seems like there are more rabbits than ever in neighborhoods throughout the Denver metro area. The reason behind the increase is not clear. In Broomfield, Open Space staff feel that one factor could be that about three or four years ago, some of Broomfield's foxes came down with mange, a skin disease caused by mites. Serious cases of mange thinned out the fox population, and foxes are a major rabbit predator.
When summer gets hotter and drier, some of the rabbits' favorite areas tend to be neighborhood lawns and landscaped areas. Landscaping provides a real smorgasbord of tasty treats—tree roots, lawns, and summertime flowers.
Rabbits can sometimes chew grass down to the roots, causing bare spots, and eat many seedlings, flowers, and shrubs that homeowners have planted to beautify their landscape.
Residents should consider making landscaping adjustments if they want to keep the rabbits out of their yards. If there is evidence of rabbits around your home, modifications can reduce the opportunities for rabbits to take up residence. Autumn is the best time to make changes as the babies are out of the nest by then. Try these methods of reducing rabbit attraction:
- Minimize the number of areas that offer safe havens for the rabbits, such as piles of leaves and twigs, shrubs that offer shade, and sheds. Also insure that patios do not have voids underneath where the rabbits can den.
- Trim bushes and trees to minimize areas that might be used as a shelter.
- Use 'rabbit-resistant' plants in your landscape. View this handy reference card for information.
- Use chicken wire guards around decks and young plants in gardens, and on fences, embedding the wire in the ground about two inches deep. Guards should be 18 to 24 inches tall and encircle plants far enough outward to prevent rabbits from reaching through to the plant. Bury guards at least two inches deep and stake into the ground.
- Ammonia does not work to deter rabbits, but they do not like the smell of eggs. Mix one egg with 1.5 cups of water and pour it over patches of grass suffering from rabbit damage. This must be reapplied every few days.
- A natural rabbit repellent spray can be made from a mix of onions, jalapeno peppers, and cayenne pepper. Combine a chopped onion, a chopped jalapeno pepper, and a tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Boil mixture for 20 minutes in two quarts of water. Let mixture cool and strain. Apply to landscaping with a spray bottle. Reapply every three to five days.
Organic repellents also can be purchased at hardware and garden shops. More information on repellents. . .
In the case of rabbits, CPW statute permits property owners to trap but has regulations that apply to this process. This solution is not recommended as more rabbits typically move back into the area that has been trapped. However, if this process is used, compliance with the applicable CPW regulations and permits is required. CPW should be contacted to find out the latest requirements. However, be aware that Broomfield Municipal Code prohibits the discharge of weapons in this circumstance.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Broomfield Wildlife Masters
Open Space and Trails