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How to Attract Rabbits to Your Backyard

Wild rabbits are adorable, gentle, fluffy little creatures that can be a lot of fun to watch hopping through your backyard, which is part of why you might want to consider attracting them. Plus, they offer benefits to organic gardeners who want help to keep up with the weeding.

To attract wild rabbits to your backyard, you must create a safe space for them with plenty of food, shelter, and water. Rabbits need plenty of vegetation to eat and hide in, especially if there are predators nearby.

In this article, I’ll teach you how to revamp your backyard and turn it into a rabbit-attracting habitat. I’ll tell you why you might want to bring more rabbits to your backyard and walk you through the best ways to provide wild rabbits with food, shelter, water, and a safe space. I’ll also share tips for keeping your new backyard bunnies out of your garden.

So, let’s hop right into it!

Why Would You Want To Attract Wild Rabbits to Your Backyard?

wild baby rabbit in field
Aside from the fact that rabbits are incredibly cute and sweet, they can offer quite a few benefits to your backyard.

Most gardeners and landscapers don’t want to attract rabbits since they may munch on your crops, dig up your root veggies, and create burrows in your backyard.

However, having rabbits in your neighborhood comes with several benefits.

You might want to attract rabbits to your backyard if you want to use them as natural weed control, take advantage of their droppings as a natural fertilizer, or enjoy their appearance. Rabbits are part of a healthy ecosystem, so keeping them in your yard might help keep the land in check.

So, even though rabbits may eat your crops, they also weed your garden for you and fertilize your yard. These benefits are fantastic for any organic gardener.

In addition, bunnies are cute, gentle, fluffy, and tons of fun to watch, especially if you have kids.

Ways To Attract Wild Rabbits to Your Backyard

When you want to invite any animal to set up camp in your yard, you need to think about the ecosystem you have and how you can optimize it.

Rabbits need food, water, and shelter, which are natural features that can add a lot of biodiversity to your yard. So, attracting rabbits can make your garden even lower maintenance.

1. Create a Rabbit Habitat by Building Brush Piles

rabbit-hiding-in-brush-pile
Rabbits prefer to stay close to dense, brushy spots full of plant matter and twigs to stay warm in the winter, get some shade in the summer, and hide from predators year-round.

Like all animals, rabbits need a place to hide, stay warm, and sleep. So, creating a suitable spot for them to find shelter is the most effective way to attract wild rabbits to your yard.

As we build more houses, we lose more nature. So, to bring back the rabbits, we must bring back some nature!

The best habitat for a rabbit is a brush pile. These heaps of debris usually include fallen trees, shrubs, logs, and rocks. They provide rabbits and other animals with a warm place to hide from predators.

To create brush piles, leave old logs where they are. Allow prickly shrubs and bushy plants to grow without pruning them. You can also place your weeds, tree limbs, and other plant matter into a heap near the edge of your property.

Over time, these heaps will create fertile compost, but for now, they’ll provide great little homes for bunnies, birds, and small mammals.

You should also leave some overgrown areas near the brush pile for the rabbits to hide in.

Don’t make those areas too small. They need to be at least 8-10ft wide. These plots of land are perfect for growing ornamental grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, herbs, and all sorts of vining plants. So, feel free to make your overgrown rabbit habitat beautiful and fruitful!

2. Attract Rabbits With Food

wild-bunny-eating-weeds
Weeds, wildflowers, and bark are rabbits’ primary sources of nutrition, so allowing your plants to flourish is an excellent way to attract wild bunnies.

Rabbits are herbivores that need plenty of fresh veggies and leaves to stay healthy. Some foods that will attract rabbits include:

  • Clover
  • Dandelions
  • Grains such as wheat, corn, barley, millet, and rye
  • Nuts
  • Root vegetables like yams, potatoes, radishes, carrots, and turnips
  • Leafy green vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, kale, and chard
  • Fruits such as berries, apples, and cherries

So, plant some plots of wheat, barley, clover, corn, berries, cabbage, leafy greens, and cereal grains to attract more rabbits.

While these crops are great for humans, too, it’s best to provide rabbits with a separate garden to keep them from eating your other plants.

Try to locate this rabbit-feeding garden near the edge of your backyard and place it as far from your food garden as possible.

Leave the weeds in your yard, too. The rabbits will prune them for you, so you won’t need to worry about them taking over your backyard.

In addition, rabbits eat plenty of bark from trees and woody shrubs in the winter when the forage offerings are slim. They also use wood to grind down their teeth, which never stop growing.

So, to keep rabbits in your backyard year-round, ensure you have plenty of wood for them to consume. Logs, twigs, bushes, and trees are excellent wood sources for bunnies in wintertime.

3. Keep Potential Predators Away From Your Backyard

dog in field
Dogs, cats, and larger mammals scare off rabbits, so placing your rabbit habitat out of bounds from your other animals will help you cater to everyone’s needs.

Ensure you keep your rabbit friends safe from predators like dogs and cats.

My dogs are always loose, but they have a fenced-in area. There are no rabbits in this area; the dogs would relentlessly chase them.

However, rabbits will visit the areas outside the dogs’ pen every night. They instinctively know where they are safe. It is easier to fence dogs than to fence rabbits out!

Another predator to look out for is birds. Large predator birds may attack bunnies, which is part of why sheltering wild rabbits is critical for attracting them.

4. Provide Wild Rabbits With a Water Source

rabbit drinking water from stream
Like all mammals, rabbits need a source of water to survive.

All wildlife needs water, so you should think of providing your local wild rabbits with a pond or another form of clean drinking water.

This water source can take any form. For example, you can set out a shallow bowl for your rabbits, place a bird bath low to the ground, or install a full-scale pond.

As long as the water is within reach for little rabbits, they will be satisfied.

Still, you do want this water to go stale. Running water is best, but if you don’t want to install a fountain, you must clean the water bowl regularly. It needs to be safe, fresh, and drinkable water.

Tips for Keeping Wild Rabbits Out of Your Garden

wild rabbit hopping
Even though you can’t tell rabbits to stay out of your garden in plain English, you can give them cues to tell them where they should and should not look for food.

Attracting rabbits to your backyard can be beneficial for weeding, fertilization, and amusement purposes. Still, it’s no secret that rabbits can eat your veggies and flowers before harvest season.

Still, there are some tricks to keeping rabbits in your backyard without suffering losses in your garden:

Keep The Rabbit Habitat Away From Your Garden

Placing your brush piles, water source, and uncut grasses far from your garden can help you set boundaries with your local bunnies.

Rabbits rarely hop out into open spaces with no nearby places to hide from predators. Thus, keeping the boundaries of your garden trimmed, clear, and neat can also keep rabbits from entering.

Use Barriers To Keep Rabbits From Eating Seedlings

Seedlings are the most vulnerable to damage from rabbits. These young plants are sweet and crunchy, which rabbits love.

However, that means that all of your young, tender plants are prime targets for your new neighborhood rabbits.

You can use barriers, such as a mesh cloth, to keep bunnies from munching on your seedlings.

You can always remove this cloth once the plant has become strong enough to withstand some munching. Otherwise, you can leave it on to ensure that no rabbits can ever get to your crops.

Plant a Garden Just for Your Backyard Rabbits

Growing a convenient garden next to your rabbit habitat is a great way to add diversity to your backyard while protecting your crops from wild rabbits.

A simple plot full of wildflowers, grains, clover, and root veggies will keep rabbits satisfied and prevent them from looking for food in your garden.

In addition, planting flowers that rabbits love, like nasturtiums, pansies, sweet peas, and zinnias, will attract bees to your yard (which I’ve also written about), helping you pollinate your garden. It’s a win-win scenario!

Grow Enough Food for You and the Rabbits

Consider growing extra crops to compensate for potential losses. Providing for you and the rabbits is a great way to make friends with them and ensure you get a good harvest.

You might also want to consider growing a wild food forest. A food forest gives rabbits the protection and habitat they need while making it harder for them to find ALL your food.

I’ve written a detailed article on food forests and self-sufficient gardens. I welcome you to check it out!

Grow a Food Forest!
Turn Your Backyard Into a Lush Food Forest

No matter the size of your garden, you can create a lush food forest using forest garden techniques. Step-by-step, you’ll learn how to work with nature to grow edible crops, all the while creating a haven for wildlife.

A forest garden emulates the edge of woodland, working with nature to reduce the amount of watering and maintenance, with a permanent living ground cover and a self-sustaining ecosystem of nutrients & pest control. Mostly perennial plants are used, in all three dimensions, as they are more resilient, lower maintenance, and more nutritious.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Attracting Wild Rabbits

I’ve been happily coexisting with my backyard rabbits for many years now, and I’ve heard quite a few questions about how I keep the rabbits around. So, I thought I’d share the answers with you:

Is it OK to Feed Wild Rabbits?

It is ook to feed wild rabbits as long as you provide them with natural forage rather than hand-feeding or setting out snacks for them. Feeding wild animals directly might make them dependent on you, and if you stop feeding them, they may die. So, it’s best to plant veggies for rabbits and let them do the harvesting themselves.

What Foods Attract Wild Rabbits?

Foods that attract wild rabbits include leafy green veggies like cabbage and kale, root vegetables like carrots and radishes, berries, fresh green tree bark, clover, and many weeds. Rabbits are most attracted to leafy vegetables.

How Do You Keep Wild Rabbits in Your Yard?

To keep wild rabbits in your yard, provide them food and a safe, dark, warm shelter year-round. Brush piles are excellent permanent habitats for wild rabbits since they consist of twigs, logs, and plant matter, all of which provide warmth and food for rabbits in the wintertime.

Final Thoughts

Rabbits aren’t garden pests – they’re sweet little animals that can weed your garden for you, fertilize your backyard’s soil, and add a bit of biodiversity to your yard’s ecosystem.

It’s very simple to attract them, and all you need are some piles of debris, weeds, veggies, and a water source to help rabbits find their forever home in your neighborhood. Plus, once they’ve settled in, you’ll get to enjoy spotting fuzzy little bunnies in your backyard.

More Reading on Homesteading and Attracting Wildlife to Your Backyard:

How to Attract Rabbits to Your Backyard

Authors

  • Elle

    Jack of all trades, master of some. Wild garden grower. Loves creating stuff. From food forests and survival gardens to soap and yoghurt. A girl on a farm with two kids and one husband (yep, just one - although another one would be handy). Weirdly enjoys fixing fences and digging holes. Qualified permaculture teacher and garden go-to.

  • Aimee LaFon

    An enthusiastic fiber artist, woodworker, and experimental archaeologist, Aimee LaFon loves spending time spinning fiber from invasive plants, foraging for dye materials and medicinal herbs, snuggling with her two dogs, reading up on historical crafts, crocheting, caring for her large brood of indoor and outdoor plants, and dreaming up her next project. She has tall dreams of becoming a professional yarn maker and herdswoman and will never stop writing about her experiments. No matter where she is, Aimee would rather be crocheting in a field right next to a cow.

Diana Davies

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

We had a huge red sow called Clarabell after the clown character on th Howdy Doody Show. She was very friendly and funny, but don't get between her and the food bucket!

Elle

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Ha Diana, such a familiar statement - we have many animals that are super friendly until we bring out food, then all bets are off!

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