It's hard to think of a rabbit as a pest. Seeing one in your yard in the early morning can be exciting. Cute, fuzzy bunnies evoke a certain image of harmlessness. Most rabbits are not a problem for homeowners since the damage they do to plants is usually minimal. However, if you have nuisance rabbits, there are steps you can take to control them.
Although they live for just a year, rabbits are prolific breeders. A typical cottontail can raise six litters per year each averaging six rabbits. That's 36 rabbits a year. Since most rabbits live within a 20-acre radius of their food, you can quickly see how they could become a problem. Rabbits take shelter in burrows that are often natural cavities or were created by other animals and deserted. They will also a grass and weed shelter in the spring, called a “form”. This nest will protect them from the weather. In more urban areas, rabbits will seek protection under decks or in rock piles.
Rabbits like to feed in the mornings and late afternoons. They like various types of vegetation and tree bark as well as the stems and buds of woody plants. Their habitats are usually dense grassy and brushy areas. They are active year-round and don't travel far from their homes to forage. Rabbits will eat the flowers and vegetables during spring and summer and the woody plants during fall and winter.
To control rabbits, the easiest thing to do is to clear brush and debris piles away from your home and garden. Since they usually travel a limited distance to gather food, ridding your home of the debris piles and dense vegetation will greatly affect the rabbits' habitat. Fencing also helps control rabbit damage, and if buried in the soil 2-3 inches, the fencing will also manage vole activity.