All You Need To Know About Gassing Rabbits
Gassing rabbits is one of the most popular methods of rabbit extermination in the UK. It has been known to kill over 50% of a rabbit population with just a few days of burrow fumigation. This is achieved by using toxic chemicals directly into holes and them filling them up, trapping any occupants for a quick and (relatively) humane death.
There are of course downsides to this kind of treatment. There is a strong risk to other animals, people and yourself. And it is far from cheap! There is also a pile of paperwork you need to be ready for. My advice is to never perform any form of gassing unless you have had training. Paying a professional will not only save you from the possible risks of harm, but will also mean you are likely to see greater results; with a lot less work!
How it Works
Gassing rabbit is done with two different kinds of powders. This powders react with water and create a toxic gas with fills the warrens. The chemicals used are Cymag (40% sodium cyanide) and Phostoxin (55% aluminum phosphide). Tests have proven that both are as affective as each other so it should come down to which you can get cheapest.
The powders are applied in three different ways. The most popular is ‘Spoon-gassing’, in which a long handled spoon is used to put the powder/tablet into the burrow entrances. ‘Hand-pump gassing” is using a hand powered pump to apply the gass generating powered into the holes. And ‘power-pump gassing’ is as the name suggests, it uses a motor driven pump.
Once the chemicals are applied the holes are blocked or filled in. What happens next depends on the rabbit gassers, but it is common that burrow fumigation will take place again in the next few days on any holes that have been reused (dug out again).
Is Rabbit Gassing for Me?
If you are considering this form of rabbit extermination, you need to ask consider a few things. One of the very first things to ask yours self is whether you really need to start gassing rabbits. Its a high cost and a (relatively) dangerous pest control method compared to others, such as ferreting.
The next thing to consider is can you afford the treatment. The price differs a lot depending on where you are, how many holes you have and who does the gassing etc etc, so its very hard to give an example price. But keep in mind the more holes, the bigger the cost. Its best to call a few firms and get an idea of a price in your head.
The final consideration is whether or not your land is suitable. First things first, is your land the right size for this treatment. If your land is relatively small (one medium sized field is fairly small) the rabbit gassing will be overkill. But keep in mind the bigger your land, the greater the cost. And if your land joins onto other land with a rabbit problem, there is a good chance that they will refill your land.
Oh, im forgetting the bit everyone loves the most…
Health and Safety
The following advice is not to replace any form of training. If you plan to gas or handle/store any dangerous chemicals, please consult
this HSE document.
When gassing rabbits, its important that you consider the safety of the person/s using the gas, anything living thing around the area and the environment. The environment in which you use the gass MUST be:
• 3 meters away from anything living other then the rabbits (houses, dog cages etc)
• A decent amount (3 meters as rule of thumb) from any stream, river or lake. The chemicals used are activated by moisture and the effects are highly damaging to aqua-life
• On land you own or you have been granted permission to gas
When the gas is in use, all persons involved MUST :
• Be upwind from the gas
• Have no conditions that affects their lungs or ability to breath
• Not eat, drink or smoke near the gas. Or eat the chemicals, but im sure you had that one figured out.
Other ways of decreasing the affects of the chemicals are using protective clothing(gloves, overalls etc) and taking short breaks between gassing rabbit warrens. It is important that the weather is right for gassing. If it is too windy or wet (even mist should stop you from gassing) then no rabbit gassing should be performed.
If you plan on gassing or having it done I strongly suggest you read
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