Rabbit control: bait stations

Page last updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2016 - 9:32am

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How to use bait stations effectively

Depending upon the size of the area where rabbits are to be controlled, the spacing between individual stations should not be more than 30m (urban use) to 100m (broadacre). These distances may need to be reduced if the stations are to be used during periods when rabbits have well defined territories, such as during the breeding season.

The stations should be placed within known rabbit feeding areas, around 20-30m away from the areas where the rabbits reside (for example, obvious warrens or bush/scrub refuge). If non-target animals such as kangaroos are known or suspected to be present, enclose each bait station with ring-lock wire-netting so that large animals are excluded (1.5x1.5m). Do not place bait stations in areas where small native animals like bandicoots are likely to be present. Bait stations can also be made more secure by running wire straps over the stations which are then pegged to the ground.

To ensure maximum effectiveness, a pre-feed period must be used with bait stations. This involves the provision of unpoisoned plain oats in the stations for at least two weeks before adding the poison bait. Check the stations regularly (every two to three days) and make sure that adequate pre-feed is always available. This allows the rabbits to become accustomed to the stations, and ensures that the maximum number of rabbits will feed at the stations once the poison bait is added. Remember to remove any remaining pre-feed before adding the poison bait.

The best method for applying bait is to place 1kg of plain or poison oats on plastic saucers (30-40cm diameter) within the stations. This enables easy monitoring of bait take, and reduces the potential for the bait to become scattered outside the stations. Also place half a house-brick in the centre of the saucers as this prevents rabbits from sitting in the bait, and from moving the saucers.

Scattering some unpoisoned oats outside the stations will also help to attract the rabbits. The 1kg of bait should last for up to four weeks for poisoned oats and around two to three days if plain pre-feed, depending upon rabbit densities. However, you must check the stations frequently to ensure sufficient bait is always present.

The poisoning phase should not last for more than four weeks. If you still wish to continue with the bait stations in a particular area, then leave the stations empty for one week and then repeat the above procedure. Do not leave the stations permanently loaded with poison bait, because this is likely to increase the development of resistance to the poison used.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080