Rabbit

The wild rabbit is common (very) across the North York Moors.

The problem from a farm perspective is the damage they do to pasture plants and trees. There's a slim chance for any sapling that isn't protected by a guard and stake.

The picture shows how they create golf course conditions (including the holes!), so that feed for livestock is eliminated.

 

Without green plant growth, root development is restricted, reducing the volume of water held deep in the soil, the amount of carbon that can be sequestered is limited, both of which combine to reduce the quality of soil I can build. Which, in a circular manner, effects my ability to grow healthy plants.

Wild rabbit is absolutely free range and nutritious, especially when cooked with the bones in a liquid.

The goal...

To reduce the wild rabbit population about our farm and those of our neighbours (rabbits don't respect our boundaries), while selling nutritious food. It would be foolish and morally bankrupt to aim at local rabbit extinction, instead we need to strike a balance between our ability to steward our plants and trees as part of a healthy eco-system and rabbit abundance in an environment that lacks sufficient predators.

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Fencing Them Out

Recognising that you have a problem is part of the solution!

In this particular case, where I have a flourishing cover crop (planted 28 July 2021), I want the plants to last well into winter and for the perenniels to regrow when the conditions allow. Rabbits will attack the most nutrious food they can find, so a crop of diverse plants would prove irresistible.

Rabbit net fencing involves digging a trench and burying some of the wire in an L shape toward the direction the animal would dig from; a depth of 15cm and base of 10cm should deter digging under the barrier. The remaining height of the fence above ground prevents them jumping through the existing 'pig net' boundary.

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