Man alive is there some rabbits around in Central Otago! But there is rabbits all over Otago as well, also hearing of build ups of rabbits happening in Southland.
This large early litters is a bit of a concern, the potential for a massive explosion of rabbits is right there.
Council both regional and district seem to be doing nothing about their own land which is causing its own issues for neighbours.
Evalynn has come up to give me a hand for September which is really handy.
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.
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….
Ferrets, and more so rabbits, are cropping up a lot more in the Otago Daily Times of late. One can only assume it’s because there is a lot more of the later appearing in the last few years. Reporter Mark Price got in touch a few days ago wanting to do a piece on using ferrets as a form of rabbit control, so out we went with all the gear plus a photographer from the ODT Craig Baxter.
A very effective tool in a spot like this is getting ferrets into the warrens. Open paddocks with a lot of rabbit warrens had ferrety boys on a killing rampage underground while pushing a lot out for me and the brothers, Bolt and Tom (on the left) to keep us busy.
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…
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?