With the weather being perfect for rabbit control and ferreting we fitted in a few jobs which had been waiting for the right conditions – cold and frosty. Ferreting is one of the most effective methods of rabbit control because you know that all the burrows are completely rabbit free as the ferrets visit every hole and no rabbit is going to stay in there with a ferret!

Where ever possible, we use a technique called Long Netting for catching the rabbits once chased out of the burrow by the ferrets. Where we cannot use this method, we use purse nets. With purse nets you have to clear all the holes for brambles and cover, then place purse nets over each hole to catch he rabbits. This is time consuming and also creates a lot of disturbance, thus warning the rabbits of pending danger. This generally makes them stay in the burrow, despite having a ferret in there with them, forcing us to dig them out, again wasting valuable time. With Long Nets, time is reduced, and so is the disturbance. We rarely use shooting with ferrets as a method of rabbit control due to the disturbance and also from a safety viewpoint. Shotgunned rabbits are also pretty useless and it is a waste of good wholesome meat.

Long nets are set about 5 metres away from the bush or hedgerow, circling the whole area where the burrow is, with little or no disturbance. Once a ferret or 2 are placed in the burrow, the rabbits bolt (quickly run out) to safety…or rather straight into the awaiting net. Once they hit the net, there is a lot of spare material in which they tangle, then you simply remove them from the net and despatch them humanly.

We use 2 x 50 metre nets to create a large cordon around burrows and use 3 or more ferrets on a large burrow. To set a long net takes about 10 minutes in total, but will depend on the circumstances, in comparison last year we did a very large hedgerow where we could not use long nets, and set about 200 purse nets. Setting the nets took over 4 hours, and the ferreting took only about 30 minutes, so by using long nets we can cover much more ground and clear more burrows – which makes ferreting a very cost effective option – and better for our clients.

In some cases we still have to use purse nets or a combination of both purse nets and long nets for rabbit control, but ferreting is one of those “on the day” exercises as every situation is totally different from the last.

Here is a short video of the morning ferreting in Basingstoke, which shows the difference between long netting and purse netting, and some of the problems we face when ferreting, particularly with rabbits not bolting. Digging is something we have to do from time to time and we use the radio location collars fitted on the ferrets to pinpoint the exact spot to dig down to, again this video shows this in action.

Please note, this video does show some graphic images of rabbit control in action, including the right way to humanely despatch a rabbit – please do not watch this if you are likely to be offended.

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So if you have a rabbit problem, particularly on a farm or small holding, then please contact us at Rapid Pest Control now for help and advice on rabbit control in Basingstoke, Newbury, Reading, Swindon and Oxford