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Added May 04 2012

There are a lot of bunny rabbits in my yard, both full size and youths, and, while adorable, they eat my flowers and perennials. Anyone else in the area have the same problem? Advice on keeping them out? Or, barring that, are there certain plant species that do well around here that the rabbits won't eat?

  • kenji Find us here -->


  • Ange Beach bum

    Small shavings of Irish Spring soap.

  • maryd Born, raised and remain in East Rogers Park

    Sara, marigolds often deter rabbits. They don't like the smell. In my experience though you have to pretty much create a border and surround the area with them. Good luck!

  • I too have a huge rabbit problem. I surrounded young sun flowers with a make shift fence of burlap and poles. I soaked the burlap in dish soap and sprinkled crushed red pepper on it and they have now left them alone. The rest of our garden is up for grabs-they are eating everything!!!!!

  • Jo

    My mother in law swears by baby powder.

  • Lori B. Resident and Business Owner in 60625

    My dog and cat keep them out of my yard. I dont' have any in my yard, but I see them in my neighbor's yard all of the time. Adopt a pet!

  • Moth balls work as well!

  • Against The Grain Lincoln Square

    85% raw linseed oil, 5% household detergent and 10% water around the foliage.

    Strategically placed marigolds and wild onion/garlic.

    Plywood Cutouts of Elmer Fudd. However, Chicago-bred rabbits are used to not flinching at the sound of small arms fire.

  • my mother used to sprinkle the plants with chili powder

  • I agree with MaryD and LoriB for right-now help. For next year get a few crown lily bulbs - unusual flowers, very hardy, and they stink - used to keep rabbits away from my herb garden. Check online at or Gethsemane Garden.

  • MichaelK Peterson Woods

    Don't know about rabbits, but my lawn has been free of dog poop (Inconsiderate neighbors!) since I started applying a daily dose of regular household black ground pepper around the periphery... going on two weeks now.

  • kenji Find us here -->

    add garlic, olive oil and some anchovy paste for a tasty side dish!

  • Jo

    I will definitely try the black pepper. Perfect!

  • Joe

    eat them back! Or at least bite them back.

  • Kate Albany Park resident since 2002. Small biz owner

    I'm a hairstylist and some of my clients swear human hair deters rabbits. Ask your stylist to give you some hair to spread around your garden.

  • Those rabbit thugs have no respect. I had this neighbor years ago, Mr. McGreggor. He know how to deal with them.

  • Moth ballZ

  • kenji Find us here -->

    Those must be really really tiny.

  • NinnyMuggins your neighbor

    Go to a barbershop and get as much hair as you can. Sprinkle hair around garden. Bunnies won't like the smell of it.

  • David Barnett Lived along Ravenswood since 1997.

    Jeff -- it is actually illegal to use mothballs outdoors. They are a registered pesticide and can only be used as indicated on the label. Placed in gardens, they can harm children, pets and other animals. Just one ingested mothball can seriously injure a child. Mothballs used outdoors can also contaminate soil, plants and water. Naphthalene, the active ingredient, is a class one carcinogen.

    Sprinkling fresh black pepper is a better solution

    Some folks also make dilute solutions of cayenne pepper in water and spray plants that the rabbits are eating. Just make sure it does not spray in your eyes and wash your hands thoroughly after using that stuff. It supposedly does not need to be incredibly strong concentration -- you don't want to damage the mucus membranes of pets in the area.

  • Inactive user

    Dog hair works like a charm. You can usually get as much as you like at one of the pet grooming places.

  • Heck, you can get enough dog hair to stuff a mattress at my house.

  • while on the subject of furry garden pests - how about keeping cats from doing their business under my shrubs?

  • Get your plants off the ground so that the rabbits can't get to them, grow the tomatoes that grow up-side-down from a bag as seen on TV

  • Jeremy McMillan Driven, somewhat by civic duty, sense of humor.

    People at the community garden at Waters School use two foot high chicken wire FWIW.

  • Great post Dave Barnett! Never realized how contaminating mothballs were, thanks.

  • Old Guys Rule "We have met the enemy... and he is us" - Pogo

    A good source of information for gardeners is the University of Illinois Extension website: You will find the latest and best information there. Free to use and paid for with your tax $$.
    This is from their Living with Wildlife in Illinois section:

    Habitat Modification
    One way to reduce the potential for damage caused by rabbits is to remove potential places that rabbits might take cover. Remove brush piles, weed patches, stone piles and other debris, and keep grass cut short.

    “If you have a small area or certain plants that you wish to protect from rabbits, exclusion can be effective. Wire mesh fencing can keep rabbits out of garden areas. A four-foot wide roll of wire mesh fencing should be used to exclude rabbits. The mesh size of the fencing should be small enough to prevent both small and full grown rabbits from slipping through. The bottom six inches of wire should be bent outward and then buried six inches deep to prevent rabbits from burrowing under the fence. This will allow three feet of fence to remain above ground. The fence must be tall enough that rabbits cannot get over it during periods of snow cover. The fence should have a mesh size of one inch or smaller.

    Young trees or small shrubs can be protected with cylinders of wire mesh fencing (¼" × ¼" square openings). The cylinder should extend at least a foot higher than the expected snow depth. The fencing should also be placed far enough out from the plant that it will not impede the plant's growth”

  • Thanks for the advice, neighbors. My whole purpose for keeping rabbits from eating my flowers and plants is aesthetic, so I don't want to use wires or fences. I think the pepper or hair solutions are the way to go (don't think I have enough sun for a marigold border, nor do I want to take on the responsibility of caring for a cat or a dog just to scare away pests!).

    There were some great suggestions on this thread; I'm glad I asked.

  • The company i work for sells stuff to help you safely detour the animals. feel free to pm as i am not sure about the advertising rules here.

  • Zach not sure how to pm you as you don't have email enabled on your profile

  • I'd like to know what the product is too, Zach. Thry've already attacked my plants.

  • I work for a company in chicago called bird-x. We are over at I manage the IT dept here, but i can help you out, just shoot me an email at

  • I just read that hybrid marigolds don't repell pests. Anyone know where and how to buy "heirloom" marigolds?

  • MichaelK Peterson Woods

    Hey, David Barnett;

    Nix on the cayenne pepper, as it may cause the animals throats to constrict... or even close off the airway completely!

  • David Barnett Lived along Ravenswood since 1997.

    Michael -- I originally found the cayenne pepper suggestion on an organic gardening site. They suggested it appears to be safe for mammals in dilute concentrations (I noted it does not need to be a strong concentration).

    One site I just found suggests the following for pests. I think it was targeting bugs but I suspect it would also discourage rabbits:

    One good overall organic concoction that works well with vegetables and ornamentals is a soap, garlic powder and cayenne pepper mixture that can be prepared at home. Add 2 teaspoons of liquid Ivory soap to a gallon jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a cheesecloth or coffee filter. On top of the filter add 1 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Add water to the container through the filter. The essence of the garlic powder and cayenne pepper will go into the jar. This prevents clogging of the sprayer. Remove the filter from the jar's mouth. Shake up the mixture and attach to your sprayer and you are ready to go. The soap smothers sucking insects and the garlic-cayenne mix repels chewing pests.

    Dry cayenne pepper can have a lot of adverse effects (as can liquid forms in strong concentrations) but I think dilute solutions serve as more of a mild irritant and deterrant. There may be a rabbit somewhere that has a cayenne allergy that will go into anaphylactic shock but I have not read of that ever happening.

    Do you have sources that indicate dilute solutions sprayed on plants (and not directly on the rabbits for them to inhale) can cause throats to constrict or close airways? I can't find anything that shows that is likely. Some homeopathic sites list ingesting cayenne as a treatment for asthma (which seems unlikely if it can cause the airway to constrict!).

  • oh %$# - just bring in Elmer Fudd and his shotgun!!
    isn't this enough already about baby bunnies trying to grow up into big strong wabbits?

  • Jo

    Too funny nancy.

  • painhertz butterknife ninja

    My bunnies are Cajun, no doubt. The pepper just adds a little spice to their diets.

  • I find that adding a little high velocity lead tends to significantly decrease the appetite of bunnies in my back yard.

  • Inactive user

    The bunnies avoid my yard after they see me serve my dog a plate of Fava beans and a nice chianti.

  • painhertz butterknife ninja
  • NinnyMuggins your neighbor

    Regrettably, pubic hair works just as well as head hair.

  • Inactive user

    Ninny, is that the Judge Clarence Thomas method?

  • Inactive user

    I certainly know human (head) hair works as a deterrent, but just one rain will wash off the "human" scent. No doubt, as gross as it sounds, pubic hair would probably be more effective. Just...wouldn't want anyone to ever know I've used such a method.

  • People used human hair to deter deer at a community garden I used to belong to, but it soon became apparent that it didn't deter the deer at all. In fact, some deer started coming into the garden to graze while people were there. They had to build a higher fence.

  • Rob in the hood New to the neighborhood

    Saw a bunch of bunnies today on my street. You know what they say about how they (over) breed. NIce to know that if I get really hungry - just kiddin.'

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