Run, rabbit, run
Toby’s fluffy new friends are mad about his greenhouse – prompting some creative measures with garden tools
MUCH of my career has followed in the Wellington boot steps of Beatrix Potter’s Mr McGregor – chasing rabbits out of the veg patch. Now, thanks to my daughter’s new pets, I’ve spent the last week trying to keep my once furryfoes inside a designated garden space.
Although rabbits aren’t the brightest buns in the cakeshop window, they have excellent memories. Trying to keep them penned inside their run has been a challenge, due the fact that during their first daring escape – minutes after they arrived from the pet shop – they found a narrow space behind the greenhouse and they have spent every waking moment since trying to get back there.
Maybe there’s some carrots or homeburrowed beer stashed there? From the guilty glint in their doe-eyes and the exploratory excavations in the corner closest to the greenhouse, I know they are hatching a plan to break out again.
“I know they are hatching a plan to break out”
Whether you’re keeping rabbits in or out, chicken wire is the first line of defence. This needs holes no larger than 1in (2½cm), and should be at least
28in (70cm) tall on the flat and over
35in (90cm) where the ground slopes. Rabbits just love a slope – much like Olympic high jumpers, they approach the wire from the side and use the higher ground to Fosbury Flop over the top.
Because rabbits tend to burrow right up next to whatever they want to get under, a 6in (15cm) strip of chicken wire that is bent ‘rabbit-side’ of the fence and wired to it fools the bunsters into thinking the ground is inaccessible.
I say ‘tend’ because, despite the flap, my rabbit-responsibilities have escaped twice – they clearly remember that there’s a route to the Shangri-La behind the greenhouse there somewhere.
All they need do is dig and scrape for long enough and, just like Alice’s tunnel to Wonderland, it will appear before their whiskers.
And that’s where my collection of old and broken garden forks has come up in… well, spades! Their days of digging might be behind them but, when pushed into the soil, they pin the mesh in place and create an impenetrable portcullis.
Carrots-crossed, my bunny pals never learn to make a ladder…
Make sure you aren’t tantalising bunnies with easy escape routes! Chicken wire is ideal for a bunny run
Old garden forks help to pin mesh fences in place