- Rabbits are a major agricultural pest within the UK.
- DEFRA estimate the UK population at 30 million and rising.
- Myxomatosis is no longer a controlling factor.
- On average each rabbit causes £10.00 of crop damage a year, more in horticultural and other high-risk crops.
- Rabbits eat 1lb of green matter a day i.e 1 square yard of winter cereal.
- There is a statutory requirement for all occupiers of land , whatever its use, to control wild rabbits
- Good rabbit control, carried out at the correct time and in the correct way, can be very cost effective
Other Rabbit Damage Facts:
Cereals:-Wheat, Barley and oats can suffer up to 20% yields.
Grassland:-Newly sown grassland grazed by rabbits can fail to establish properly.
Scratching, burrowing and contamination and competition with livestock.
Grass fields can be seen with rabbits in that are like lawns. No grass for livestock.
A loss of 1% per rabbit per hectare.
Trees:-Rabbits and hares (as well as deer) can damage young tree plantations.
Nursery stock can be killed and older trees can suffer bark damage.
Rabbit grazing can prevent natural regeneration of woodlands.
Common rabbit problems are:
Loss of early combinable crops
Loss of young tree’s/plant/shrubs
Damage to amenity grass areas including playing fields, golf courses, landscaped spaces
Damage to private domestic gardens
Disruption and damage via continuous digging and burrowing.
Visual damage via scuts, scrapings etc.
Rabbits, in large numbers, have also been involved in the destabilising of buildings where they have excavated in and around the building foundations.
The rabbit is not only a major agricultural pest but also a major issue with regards to both domestic and amenity situations.
Due to their ability to reproduce at an alarming rate, early intervention where rabbit issues are present is always recommended.
In most situations the need for rabbit control is evidently clear. The main types of techniques used for rabbit control and clearance are presented below:
Trapping (live capture plus spring traps)
Shooting (We utilise night vision and thermal imaging in difficult areas, if the rabbits have been disturbed frequently)
Drop boxes (traps) used alongside rabbit proof fencing
Rabbit proof fence and fencing installation
It should be noted that under the Pests Act 1954 every occupier of land has a responsible duty to control rabbits on their land.
I had a severe rabbit problem in my wife's horse paddock, they were digging into the field and surrounding outbuildings causing damage. The problem has now been sorted, friendly and efficient, would use again..–Stuart Johnson, Richmond