Quick and easy rabbit protection

Baby kale tucked safely away from nibbly rabbit teeth.

Cute and fluffy, rabbits can cause a lot of damage to your leafy greens, broccoli and more.

While a hinged cover on a raised bed is great, it doesn’t make sense for everybody, especially if you don’t have a raised bed. Fencing an entire garden can be costly and not necessarily effective, as rabbits can hop over low fences when they want to, and humans can have a hard time getting over tall fences.

A smaller, less cumbersome and less expensive solution can be found in chicken wire “chimneys” or cylinders. (See video below.)

Chicken wire chimneys are quick to make and easy to install. By making a simple cylinder that isn’t too wide, rabbits cannot get at your greens. They don’t jump in because the cylinder opening at top is too small to be safe.

Once the plant requires more space, simply remove the chimney and save it for next year or move it to where you’ve started succession seedlings. I find that by the time the plant needs more space, the rabbits have either found other food sources or have become someone else’s food source.

Random pieces of chicken wire are often available free, or you can buy it from any local hardware store. Given a choice, I prefer 2′ tall chicken wire which I cut in half to get two 12″ chimneys, using the center wire as a guide when cutting.

In the video, I used 3′ tall chicken wire because that’s what I had available. In the video I made two 18″ chimneys, but after the camera was off, the next batch I made three 12″ chimneys from each piece.

HOW TO: The short video above should make it all clear, but for those who prefer the written word-

  1. Unroll the chicken wire to form a circle the size you want for your chimney, allowing enough room for plant growth but small enough that a rabbit will fear jumping in. I never measure these but they’re about 9″-12″ diameter.
  2. Cut the chicken wire. In the video I am using red aviation snips (designed to cut straight and to the left) similar to this, but you can use any snips or even pliers.
  3. You now have a bunch of pointy pieces of wire on at least one end of your chicken wire. Wrap the wires from one side to the other side, making the cylinder shape. I usually wrap available wire, but since these don’t need to be all that sturdy you can probably skip a bunch.
  4. Once it is tied together in a cylinder shape, cut the cylinder as appropriate. As I said above, you can cut in half, in thirds, or whatever size you want. I like to have chimneys about 12″ tall.
  5. Finally, use some stakes when installing the chimneys so rabbits don’t just push them over to get at your spinach.

That’s it!

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