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Question Anyone an expert on rabbit breedng/behavior?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Andy Wales, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. Andy Wales

    Andy Wales Donator

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    I have copy/pasted this from another thread I posted it to, making it a "Standalone" new topic as the thread just died away. I was hoping some of you may have a view or opinion on the topic I raised about the rabbits around my mates farm. The main part I am interested in is the "EDIT" section I added at the bottom, though all of it *may* be important. So if any of you know a lot about rabbit territory, breeding, warrens etc and want to share a view on this topic, please do so :). It's something I would really like to know the answers to. Thanks! Andy :)


    My mate told me recenty that rabbits were completely gone from his main farm for many years at one point. He never saw any. He said they have only just started to slowly come back about 4-5 years ago and then not in huge numbers. I never see ANY during daytime/daylight hours? I saw one at about 7am one morning 2 weeks ago, right by the farm yard and I saw one other at about 8pm as dark was falling 1 week ago in exactly the same place and that's it. He tells me that he sees maybe 4-5 most days when he drives down the farm road early in the morning scattering in front of the landrover or running ahead of it, and also in the fields directly surrounding the farmhouse/barns/buildings, but of course he lives there and would have more chance than me to spot them. I believe him for sure. I however haven't seen that amount yet, but they must be there somewhere. All the ones he/I have seen are clean, fresh looking and mixy free thankfully.

    I wonder with my mate seeing at least 4-5 rabbits several times weekly, that are mixy free and look young breeding age, why is the farm not covered with them during they're re-appearance 4-5 years ago? Why are they not breeding in huge numbers? Makes you wonder about the old saying, "Breed like rabbits" doesn't it? A mystery for sure. Get breeding you little b*****s so I can have some great shooting there lol :D.

    EDIT: Also, just below the yard about 100yds away, there is a stream approx 4-5ft wide. It cuts the farmland in half but many many acres are still owned the other side by my mate. HE has NEVER seen a single rabbit on the land (Green fields/woodland and forestry) the other side of the stream!!! :eek:. Now why the heck would that be? There is a bridge, (2 old rails and some sleepers I think just wide enough not to fall off it hehe!) that he uses to cross with the landrover/tractor etc and where I take my 4x4 to park when shooting in case it gets crashed into in the yard lol. All he has seen up that part is the occasional Hare. Rabbits could easily cross the bridge or hop, swim across this stream and continue their breeding/feeding cycle up there and yet for some reason they don't? Most strange don't you think guys? Tons of woodies, squirrels, crows and maggies etc over there though if only I could get near them, but not one single rabbit has been seen :rolleyes:

    Andy :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
  2. DR2501

    DR2501 Donator

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    Could be there's a council of Elil living on that side of the stream and el-ahrairah doesn't want to take his people over :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
  3. DR2501

    DR2501 Donator

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    By the way, that was a serious suggestion, albeit hidden in Watership Down references. Could there be a badger set or some fox holes or weasels etc living on the other side of the stream? If so, the rabbits won't choose to live over there.
     
  4. Rabbybhoy

    Rabbybhoy Member

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    On my perm I have a similar situation

    There are 4 fields, intersected by a footpath on one axis and a trainline on the other. 3 of the fields are absolutely alive with rabbits this year, most I have seen in a long time, not that I have managed to shoot many but thats a skill thing for another thread

    However the 3rd field is completely empty, never seen a one, not a clue why as on 1st glance it seems to be the most "rabbity"

    Weird isnt it how sometimes they just dont seem to take to a certain area
     
  5. thedogsbollox

    thedogsbollox Engaging Member

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  6. Andy Wales

    Andy Wales Donator

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    There would be foxes over there for sure mate, but we see foxes in ALL parts of the farm even where we also see rabbits so I can't imagine that would stop them living over there. I haven't seen any badgers or weasels but they may be there too.

    The area across the stream is quite big mind. We're probably talking in the region of 200-250 acres at least. The vast majority is however a mix of deciduous woodland and a LOT of living/cut down forestry (Think most planted forestry commision land for an idea how it looks, but it's actually ex british coal land "refurbished" with pine/larch rows etc and bought by my mate). Tall trees now though as the opencast finished many years ago. There is some "Green field" over there, but not much. This I guess may be the reason? Lack of food, i.e. Grass for the rabbits? I'm no rabbit expert that's why I'm asking :D.

    Andy :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
  7. Andy Wales

    Andy Wales Donator

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    Please do tell :D



    Back on topic. Yes, it's very strange why they do this. It's not just my mates farm then. I just assume where there are rabbits living in one part, why not another part of the farm which looks just as good for them? Rabbits are weird lol :p

    Andy :)
     
  8. Andy Wales

    Andy Wales Donator

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  9. Rabbybhoy

    Rabbybhoy Member

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    Haha well my main problem is getting close enough to take the shot, my stalking skills leave much to be desired!! Saying that I did manage a lovely wee 3/4 grown rabbit last night, manage to creep up behind the only bush in the place and get within about 30 yards. Thats as far as I trust myself :)
     
  10. David M

    David M Donator

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    Maybe if your mate has only seen surface living hares over on that area and it was once british coal owned, the ground isn't really suitable for warrens to establish easily.. They need soft soil banks or slightly sandy areas really. Round here, they colonize in the soil below the safety of bramble bushes or find a soil bank to burrow out. Hares live in shallow scrapes on the surface......:up:
     
  11. Accuspell

    Accuspell Pro Poster

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    As David has said above - soil type. Rabbits will do better on lighter land. Heavy clay soils will have rabbits, but they won't have the extensive burrow systems of lighter land - on heavier or stoney soils they rely on features to provide the cover they need - some areas rabbits are surface dwelling, using the likes of gorse to give them the cover they need, or their burrows are very shallow.

    The soil could be tainted by run off or former activites.
     
  12. Andy Wales

    Andy Wales Donator

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    I thought this was probably the reason as they never seem to restore the land to how it used to be. It is typical ex opencast land with stoney and black earth no doubt with coal/coal dust still mixed in with the top soil they try to put back. Having said that, there was another area, ex opencast I used to shoot on not too far from the farm that used to have tons of rabbits living on it and at that time it was only a few years since the opencast had finished and it had still not been restored at that time. That was 30 years ago though and I have been there recently several times, (can't shoot there, no perm) and it has been put back to green field a long time and a pretty good job has been done. However, I have not seen one single rabbit there day or night. Strange.
     
  13. ALEXON

    ALEXON Engaging Member

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    Reclaimed land is sterile of wildlife many years after being reclaimed certainly in my area. The grass that grows on it is always stunted, even sheep do not fare well on it. It is usually well drained and from a wildlife point of view this is not very good. However strange as it may seem old disused Limestone quarries abound with rabbits in spite of the lack of grass. I suspect good cover is the main priority for these rabbits. Also location is a big factor many rabbits prefer a south or west facing bank to live on. Good evidence of this can be found on motorway embankments, rabbits prolific one side but none on the other. Further woodland with good winter cover is very important hereabouts. Obviously this criteria does not apply in the same way for food producing lowlands, as rabbits appear to be well spread out where lots of crops are grown. It is important to point out I live some five hundred feet above sea level and the the weather is more inclement at this height.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  14. Andy Wales

    Andy Wales Donator

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    On the reclaimed ex opencast where the rabbits where 30 years ago, this is exactly how the grass looks, so you seem to be on to something there. It wasn't recently cut by the farmer either I would say, it was just not as "lush" and thick and natural looking as most farms best quality grass/grazing fields. Some good points you make :)
     

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