When are the most effective times to implement rabbit control?

5 February 2021

When are the most effective times to implement rabbit control?

We are officially in February and that means, if you haven’t already done so, now is the ideal time to start implementing your rabbit management program.

During late summer and early autumn, low breeding numbers, combined with biological control and naturally harsh environmental conditions, can cause added stress on rabbit populations, making rabbit control more cost effective and sustainable at this time of year.

Best Practice Rabbit Management (BPRM) uses integrated and proved methods that are applied in the correct sequence in the right seasonal conditions (Williams et al., 1995).

Completing each of the steps in the BPRM approach will ensure all rabbits are exposed to some treatment.

By implementing your control tools in the following sequence, you are more likely to maximise the long-term impacts of your program.

Summer/Autumn

  1. Assess the rabbit problem: Locate burrows and estimate rabbit numbers, e.g. spotlighting or survey of damage and rabbit abundance using a tool such as the Rapid Rabbit Assessment Guide or the RabbitScan App.

Autumn/Winter

  1. Baiting: applied across the whole area, to reduce the rabbit population by 90-98% and slow re-use of breeding burrows. Monitor bait uptake to ensure effectiveness.
  2. Warren modification: e.g. ripping or destroying every burrow to stop any opportunity of burrows being used for shelter or rearing of young.
  3. Follow up and maintenance: a program of further baiting, fumigation or burrow modification to maintain gains and protect your investment.

All Year Round

  1. Monitoring: e.g. measuring changes in burrow activity (number of active burrows), recording rabbit abundance, undertaking spotlight counts (rabbits seen per km), taking photo points to monitor damage and regeneration.

Take Care

Please be aware native wildlife may also be using rabbit harbours. If any rabbit control work is to be undertaken which may result in disturbance of native vegetation, culturally significant areas and waterways, contact should be made with the responsible authorities prior to works being conducted. It is your responsibility to be aware of your legal obligations and obtain the necessary permits. If you are unsure, seek advice from Agriculture Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Aboriginal Victoria or your local council.

For more information about BPRM:

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