How to Deter Rabbits From Eating Vegetable Plants


The time and effort spent growing vegetables may seem futile if rabbits get to your produce first. Present in rural and urban locations, rabbits pose a major challenge to gardeners, but one that can be managed with planning and effort. Fencing generally is considered one of the most effective means for keeping rabbits out of the vegetable garden. Combined with a few steps to modify your yard habitat, putting up a fence should provide adequate rabbit control.

Step 1

Remove rabbit hiding places by getting rid of debris, brush piles, stones or brambles. Consider cutting down vegetation around fences, ditches or brush areas to discourage brush rabbits and cottontails from hanging around close to the garden.

Step 2

Place fence posts, using a hammer if needed, in each corner of the garden and then about every 3 feet or so around the perimeter of the garden.

Step 3

Fold the bottom 5 inches of the chicken wire out at a 90-degree angle. Make a 5-inch cut in the chicken wire at each corner to create neat fence corners.

Step 4

Tie the chicken wire using twine to the fence posts with the folded segment of the mesh on the ground, sticking out away from the garden. Create a fence around the entire garden in this way. Secure the starting and ending points together so there is no gap a rabbit could squeeze through. Do not tie the two ends together permanently as you will need a way to get in and out of the fence.

Step 5

Bury the folded portion of the chicken wire that is resting on the ground with about 1/2 of an inch of soil to prevent rabbits from digging under the fence.

Step 6

Inspect the fence and your vegetables periodically to ensure that rabbits are staying out of the garden. Perform repairs to the fence as needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Fence posts
  • Hammer
  • 2- to 3-foot high chicken wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Twine
  • Shovel or trowel


  • University of California: Rabbits
  • Rutgers University: Keeping Rabbits Away From Desirable Plants
  • Iowa State University: Protecting Gardens from Rabbits
  • University of Illinois Extension: The Green Line
Keywords: deter rabbits, prevent rabbit damage, vegetable garden

About this Author

Ann Wolters, who has been a freelance writer, consultant, and writing coach for the past year and a half, has had her writing published in "The Saint Paul Almanac," and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a master’s degree in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota and taught English as a foreign language for nearly seven years.