Good planning and community involvement and cooperation, can produce good control of rabbits not possible if rabbit control is done individually and in isolation. Torquay Landcare is co-ordinating local efforts and provides some support.
BackgroundThe program has been divided into five steps. Participants need to make a commitment to carry out each step in the process and, at the same time as others within their area. Please note participants not wishing to use poisons will not be required to undertake Step 3 Bait Laying and Pindone Carrots or Step 4 Burrow Fumigation. The key feature for successful rabbit control is the removal of rabbit warrens. It is not essential to use baits, although baits will enhance the success of the control program especially in large open areas. Torquay Landcare organise for carrots to be mixed with pindone and bring them to one point, ready for collection. The Landcare Group is also prepared to co-ordinate contractors for fumigation and ripping to be in particular area at a particular time. Participants will be required to purchase the pindone carrots and pay for the contractors’ time while working on their property. February 2011 is likely to be the next co-ordinated baiting program - when the ground is dry and there's not much alternative fed around.The following Rabbit Control Program Five Steps describes each stage in the process and what is required.
The Five Steps
Step One: Planning Your Rabbit Control Program and Monitoring Works
Undertaking a site inspection of your property prior to beginning the program will help you plan which control methods will best suit. It will also allow any burrows, warrens or surface harbour you locate to be clearly marked so they can be quickly treated by contractors. Plan to have a bare paddock for laying the bait so the rabbits won’t have much else to eat except the carrots. Move stock so that the grass is eaten now. Watch the rabbits' behaviour, preferably at dawn or dusk, if you can’t get out there at night. Work out where the bait trails should best be placed. At completion of the program you will need to monitor the works and follow up where required.
Step Two: Rabbit Count (Before and After Rabbit Control)
Before commencing the program and at completion, you will need to count the number of rabbits on your property. This is best done at night. Recording rabbit numbers will provide valuable information on how successful the control program has been and changes over time. Torquay Landcare can provide information on how best to conduct the count.
Step Three: Bait Laying and Pindone Carrots
Pindone is the poison now used against rabbits. Although pindone mixed with oats can be purchased by anyone from a farm supply stores, pindone mixed with carrots, needs to be mixed freshly by a person with appropriate chemical user qualifications. Carrots are juicy and appealing to rabbits.
Rabbits must be given three feeds of pindone carrots during the course of about one week. A 'free' feed first, without any pindone content seems to be a good idea and also helps estimate how much carrot you need to lay out on the fresh trail over the following week.
Bait trails need to be freshly dug to attract the rabbits, one or two days prior to starting the pindone carrot treatment. A bait laying machine, which can be connected to a Ute, is available from Torquay Landcare to create the furrow or trail, into which the carrots can then be spread by hand. You will need to estimate how many carrots you require. The carrots can be spread (legally) by individuals without requiring a chemical user’s qualification.
The carrots are laid in furrows at a rate of approximately 20kg for 1km of trail. contact torquay Landcare if you need assistance to work this out for your property.
Torquay Landcare will organize for the carrots and pindone to be mixed prior to delivery for collection at a pre determined location. The bait laying trailer will be available the week before the carrots are distributed as the same trailer can also dig the shallow furrows for the carrots to be dropped into. However, you don’t have to wait for this bait trailer: you can use other implements, such as the wide end of a mattock, dragged behind your ride on mower. A pindone sign is available to alert your neighbours. An antidote is available to the pindone and local vets will be notified it is being used in the area. Cost: $40 for 20kg bag for approximately 1km of trails. Landholders pay for the carrots, direct to the contractor.
Step Four: Burrow Fumigation
Fumigating burrows involves a number of steps and needs to be undertaken about a week or so after the pindone carrot treatment has taken effect. Aluminium – phosphide tablets are placed in the burrows after a smoke machine, the ‘Agmurph Smokey” has been used to locate all entrances, which are then stuffed with newspaper/ wool and filled in with earth, packing the earth as you go. The use of Aluminium-phosphide tablets requires the user to have an Agricultural Chemical Users Permit or be under the direct supervision of an ACUP permit holder. Because of this requirement Torquay Landcare is prepared to organize a contractor to undertake the works over consecutive days.
A follow up inspection is required to make sure all the burrows have been sealed. This can be done by the contractor or by the landowner. Further 'follow up' fumigation works following ripping may be required due the high incidence of reopening. This is particularly important where monitoring has shown rabbits to be medium-high and/or where baiting has not taken place prior to fumigation and ripping.
Cost varies from one contractor to another; e.g. $80-$90 per hour for two workers and $55per hour for one worker. If the the landholder becomes one of the two workers, this helps reduce costs. Again, the Landholder pays the contractor direct.
Step Five: Warren Destruction
Warren destruction can be undertaken by a contractor or by the landowner if they have the equipment. Torquay Landcare is prepared to co-ordinate for a contractor to be in the area over one or two days, so as to reduce the cost of the 'machinery float' for each landholder; as well as to help the simultaneous rabbit eradication in any one area at one time.
Cost varies; e.g. excavator, 3 tonner $85/hr plus GST and 4. 5 tonner $100/hr plus GST. A 'ripper' is attached to the 'arm' of the excavator and can dig up to six foot deep. Again, the Landholder pays the contractor direct.For further information about the control of rabbits visit