Rabbits, with their endearing twitching noses and fluffy tails, can be delightful creatures to observe in nature. However, when it comes to our gardens, they transform into unwelcome guests, with their insatiable appetites causing havoc among our carefully tended plants and vegetables. But worry not! By building a rabbit-proof fence, you can protect your garden while co-existing peacefully with these adorable creatures.
Qualities of a Rabbit-Proof Fence
The first step towards defending your garden from rabbits involves understanding the qualities that make a fence rabbit-proof.
- Material: Wire mesh, particularly chicken wire, is a popular choice for garden fences. Its tough construction and narrow openings prevent even the most determined rabbits from breaking through or squeezing past.
- Buried wire: Rabbits are notorious diggers and can easily burrow beneath fences. Therefore, to ensure your garden’s protection, dig a trench at least a foot deep and about eight inches wide around the periphery of your garden. Lay an L-shaped wire in the trench with the base of the ‘L’ facing outward. The ‘L’ shape design confounds rabbits, discouraging them from digging under.
- Electrified fence: An electrified or ‘hot’ wire at the base of the fence can deter rabbits attempting to crawl under. Installing two hot wires—one two inches above the ground and another four inches above—creates an electrifying circuit, which delivers a mild shock when touched, deterring rabbits from approaching your garden.
- Height: Considering rabbits cannot climb or jump significantly high, a fence with a height of about three feet (roughly one yard) is typically sufficient to keep them at bay.
Constructing a Large-Scale Rabbit-Proof Fence
If you have a spacious garden that needs protection, consider constructing a large-scale rabbit-proof fence. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- One steel fence post every ten feet
- Chicken wire—60 inches wide—enough to encircle your garden
- Fence clips—typically sold with fence posts—five per post
- Optional: Wires and charger for the electric fence
- Ensure the chicken wire you select is at least 60 inches in height to have a finished fence standing at 36 inches tall, keeping rabbits out.
- Place steel posts every ten feet. If posts are spaced out more, the wire may sag in the middle, allowing rabbits to sneak in.
- Dig a trench one foot deep and eighteen inches wide all around your garden’s perimeter.
- Lay the chicken wire in the trench, forming an L shape facing outward.
- Pull the wire tight and secure it to the posts using five fence clips per post.
- Backfill the trench with dirt.
- For added security, attach two hot wires—one two inches above the ground and another four inches higher—and connect them to an electric fence charger.
Portable Fencing for Smaller Gardens
If your garden is relatively small or if you’re facing temporary rabbit issues, consider constructing portable rabbit-proof fence panels. They’re easy to assemble, require fewer materials, and can be stored and reused as needed.
- 16 wooden strips—each 36 inches long by 2 inches wide
- Chicken wire—36 inches long x 36 inches wide
- Staples and a heavy-duty stapler
- Small nails
- Wire cutter
- Flexible wire
- Nail or staple the wooden strips together to form a square panel measuring 36 x 36 inches.
- Cut the chicken wire into 36 x 36-inch squares using wire cutters (wear gloves for protection).
- Stretch the chicken wire over the wooden panel and staple it securely, ensuring there are no gaps.
- Dig a trench about 6 to 7 inches deep around the area you want to protect.
- Position a panel in the trench, ensuring that at least 6 inches of the panel’s bottom is covered with soil.
- Repeat the process until you’ve installed all the panels.
- Use flexible wire to secure the panels together at the top, middle, and bottom sides.
Creating a rabbit-proof garden does not have to spell the end of your appreciation for these charming creatures. With these strategies, you can enjoy the sight of rabbits frolicking in your yard without worrying about them ravaging your garden. Happy gardening!