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Simple Wooden Box Catches 76,000 Rabbits
Nearly 99% of all rabbits in Great Britain were wiped out in 1953 by a disease. Recently, rabbit populations have reached pre-disease levels and farmers in some areas have had to go on the attack to prevent damage to crops.
One of the most successful is Scottish farmer John Bruce who tried shooting, gas-sing, ferreting and other conventional methods before coming up with a simple box trap that has caught more than 76,000 rabbits since he first started using it several years ago.
Bruce was experiencing substantial crop losses, particularly to winter crops. And he figured losses in pastures had started to reach levels of 20 percent or more. The final straw came when a 13-acre field of winter barley was totally wiped out.
"I had had enough of feeding my prof-its to rabbits. I decided I had to manage the problem more effectively," Bruce told Farmer's Weekly Magazine. He finally built a simple wood box trap that's placed in the ground under a rabbit run. Each box measures 3 by 2 by 2 ft. Rabbits get trapped as they run across a balanced tilting lid which acts like a trap door. The lid opens and the rabbit falls into the box. The lid then swings back up, preventing escape.
Bruce now has more than 100 rabbit boxes in place on his 1,900 acre farm. Along one fenceline, four box traps have each caught more than 400 rabbits a year for the past four years. On one exceptional night, 62 rabbits were caught in one box.
It takes careful planning to get the best results with the traps, says Bruce. He set up rabbit fencing along badly infested areas. The rabbits, eager to return to their feeding grounds, eventually find a way over, through or under the netting. Once a run has become well established (easily identified by beaten down vegetation), a trap is installed under it. For the first week, the trap lid is weighted with a heavy stone so rabbits become used to running over it. Once the run is well established over the trap, the weight is removed and rabbits drop into the box.
It works best to set the boxes just one night a week. Rabbits will then continue to use the run and not avoid it. Bruce says the traps are easy to manage. He sets a few traps each evening, getting into a rotation of areas. Half an hour in the morning, and again in the morning is all it takes.
Bruce recently starting making and selling the traps at a cost of about $88 apiece. Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Bruce, Balmanno Farms, Bridge of Earn, Perthshire, Scotland, United Kingdom.

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1996 - Volume #20, Issue #2