Category Archives: Rabbits

New virus approval

Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has given approval for the new strain of the rabbit calicivirus.  The full statement can be read HERE

The local regional councils expect to start the release at the end of March this year (2018) hoping to have it fully released some time in April.

What this means for people with rabbits is once the virus goes through you will end up with approximately 35% less rabbits than you have now, in some areas there may be no difference, in other areas slightly more.  This is the results they have found overseas, namely Australia where is was released over 12 months ago.

For people with smaller holdings it isn’t going to make a great deal of difference, for every 3-4 dead rabbits you see there will be another 6-7 that will not be affected.

However where the real difference will be is on bigger properties were even 35% is a huge number of rabbits.  The stations and larger farms should be planning now on what follow up work they intend on doing as that is the critical part.





Early breeding rabbits and pups

It seems we are into a bumper season for the rabbits as they have started very early, here we are at the start of July and we are already digging nests up and seeing young rabbits. A litter of eight was found two weeks ago and everything is heavily pregnant or has already dropped.

These were got last week, very well developed rabbits for this time of year.


We also have a litter of puppies on the ground and ready to go!  Knowing the parentage these should be great rabbiters.   They’ve just come home after being rared by a young lass,  it makes for such better dogs when kids are around as they handle them so much, where as adults are always a bit busy….


Rabbits almost everywhere

It’s quite easy to see who has been keeping on top of the rabbits and who hasn’t!

I didn’t realise how long since I last posted here, but with good reason. The dogs (well not so much as it’s been to hot), ferrets and I have been very busy killing rabbits. The places that haven’t been doing any rabbit control are starting to have real problems….and it’s only going to get worse!
I’ve had a lot of people saying “we need to get the virus here”, meaning the RCD (rabbit calicivirus disease).  What these people fail to realise it’s here all the time, however there is roughly an 80% immunity to it now which changes from area to area. Alarm bells ringing yet?  So for every two rabbits you see dead there is another eight that are immune. Once the conditions are right the virus activates and we start to see a few dead ones around.

The photo below is from a block I last did 5-6 months ago,  to say I was happy with how it looks is an understatement.   Yes it still has rabbits but over all it is looking bloody good! This farmer rings me when he starts to see a few around and I shoot in and have a quick mop up.   In fact this property is proof of how well a good pest management plan works.  A little often so any problems are nipped in the bud before they turn into big expensive problems.

Dogs from the left: Jack, Tom, Shake, Otis (big hairy one with the nickname wanker), Fly, Penny, Bolt, guy and in the foreground Patch. The shotgun is a Yildiz 20 gauge side by side.


Till next time have fun…

Pest Management plan

A critical part of owning land, from the holiday home in Ida Valley through to the big stations is having a good rabbit control plan in place, or Pest Management Plan. Everyone hates spending money on them, but they are here and have to be controlled. It might be something very simple/basic or it might have to be relatively detailed, that depends on a series of factors including the numbers involved, type of country etc.

With every property being different, they each require some thoughtful planning to get the most benefit from any program put in place. This is why an individual plan is needed and should be stuck to with maybe a six monthly to annual review to check and make sure everything is working for you and your property and if needed adjustments to the plan should be made. This of course can happen throughout the year, like if a hotspot appears. Obviously there is then a plan change and the problem area dealt with.

A good way to do this might be as simple as doing your own monitoring, driving around the property once every month or two with a spotlight to see what is happening and whether the numbers are under the required Modified McLean Scale 3 (MMS 3, you can see the scale here), or if it is feasible to get them well below that. Anything over the MMS 3 and work pretty much has to be done, if you don’t then expect a letter from the local regional council with a compliance notice which always involves poison if left to the council to organize. Their preferred method even in this day and age.

A big thing to remember here is the lower the rabbit numbers are the cheaper it is to do control, but somewhere in there is a big multiplier. The more rabbits there is the longer it takes to do an area, but also ammunition costs go a way up.
One of the easiest thing’s to understand is rabbits hate long grass. They don’t like to feed or live in it. Long grass when wet causes a lot of health problems so is in essence it’s own form of control. So the lower the rabbit numbers, the longer the grass….

Facts About Rabbits

Breeding: Wild rabbits in New Zealand can start breeding at the age of two to three months old. Their gestation period is 28-30 days. They are pregnant within 12 hours of dropping a litter.
The saying breed like rabbits didn’t come from nowhere.

Food: They eat approximately .1kg of grass per day, love garden type bushes and vegetables.

An old English saying on the food intake; three rabbits to a hare, three hares to a sheep.
So going by that, for every nine dead rabbits there is the food for another stock unit…

The Rabbit

Rabbits, damned rabbits!   They are coming back in places around Otago and Canterbury thicker than ever.  Central Otago is, well, on high alert again as they little buggers need controlled, and quickly.
In case you aren’t sure what these little pests look like here is a few photo’s of them just to keep your mind refreshed.

The rabbit enemy!


Ok, so we see a few Quail around the place. Very cool wee birds!






If I wasn’t trying to kill these rabbits I’d be laying in the sun too!


There’s four rabbits here.  Can you spot them all?