Rabbitat Phase One almost done

Discussion in 'Habitat Improvement' started by KYBH4Life, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. KYBH4Life

    KYBH4Life Banned

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    Well, I got real lucky. I don't have much woods or brush on my little farm to gather to make brush piles for rabbits. While driving down the road yesterday I saw a guy about 1/2 mile from my house clearing cedar with his tractor. I pulled up there this morning to talk to him while he was burning a bunch of it and asked him if I could haul some of it off to build brush piles for rabbits. He looked at me like I was absolutely crazy......a total stranger offering to do work for him...free of charge. After a few seconds he says "Knock yourself out" lol.I couldn't help but laugh at the situation. But I did get to meet a neighbor and in all honesty, riding down the road with my 4 wheeler and trailer picking up his limbs that were already piled up was MUCH faster than getting my tractor out and going hunting through my little woods to drag something out.

    This took about 3 hours to do. It's 12 brush piles about 30-40 yards apart. They are about 10 foot in diameter, not 20 like the KDFWR recommends on its site. They are about 3 feet high....some maybe 4 feet. I had 4 3 ft pieces of 12" plastic culvert pipe that I put in some piles.

    The pic below is the field on the side of my house. I plan on building 6-8 more behind my house tomorrow.

    brushpiles.jpg


    Sometime this month I'll be planting red clover. I'm unsure if I will plant the big bluestem this year or not. Regardless, I've gotten started on it. Hope to have everything planted the way I want it by next year.
     
  2. bigpuddin43

    bigpuddin43 12 pointer

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    Looks great get some native grasses and forbs in there and you could spend all day hunting that field.
     
  3. KY Swamp Beagler

    KY Swamp Beagler 12 pointer

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    It's looking good! You can't go wrong with brush piles. The only suggestion is to maybe keep adding brush to connect a few to make continuous cover. I kind of wind rolled brush piles on my farm. This keeps the rabbits from having to travel long distances. When your NWSGs take over it will connect them nicely. Adding more brush will help you out in the mean time.
     
  4. KYBH4Life

    KYBH4Life Banned

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    I got them done yesterday for a total of 19 brush piles. The biologist mentioned aerial predators as a key factor so this should help give them some cover. I filled that little 5x8 trailer up 10 times about 7 foot high....each load made 2 piles roughly.

    On to the next step now.

    I had my kids let the dogs out while I was running up and down the road and one of my dogs just loves to ride. I had them in the back seat of my car one time and this one climbed up into the front just like this with his paws on the steering wheel. I got plenty of looks on the way to picking the kids up from school.

    Logan and Jasper.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  5. skin_dog1

    skin_dog1 BBBC Members

    And why is that child choking that poor dog? lol, Great pic! Good luck with the habtat work. You mentioned planting blustem. Do you just plan to plant that or are you going to plant a mixture of grasses as well as forbes? Something you may want to try to save on planting cost is to get a good kill on the cool season grasses thn let it be. I'd imagine the seed bank has plenty of good stuff to keep all the rabbits you could want. Check out this article: http://fwf.ag.utk.edu/personnel/charper/pdfs/Making Old-Fields Productive--Forest Landowner.pdf
     
  6. KYBH4Life

    KYBH4Life Banned

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    Right now I plan on planting clover for food and big bluestem for more cover. I may add another variety or two in with it. The forbs are a lot more expensive than the NWSG.

    Great article but one thing that scares me is burning. It would knock out my brush piles and I'd be very nervous about it catching my woods on fire. I've never done or even watched someone do it. It looked like it really woke up that field.
     
  7. Jimmie in Ky

    Jimmie in Ky 12 pointer

    I was looking for seed the other day and remembered your posts on the cost of such. Last time I bought seed was about ten years ago. I bought enough seed to sow ground in various grasses and clovers back then for fifty bucks an acre. When I checked the ladino alone will cost that much now. It was 4 times the cost of crimson. Cost of even cool seaon grasses has more than doubled. Seed for what I want to do is almost as much as the lime alone.

    And burning is why I like brush piles in field edges. Makes it much easier to prep a field with a disc for safetey reasons.

    But with what you have done, you still have the option of mowing sections which may be much easier for you in your situation anyway. Strip mowing is almost as good a tool as fire. With it you can link each of your brush piles with tall forbs and grasses , keeping the mowed sections for tender feed.

    I tend to disagree with the state about what predators are the biggest problem. I have a pair of owls that nest here and know of a hawks nest as well. The evidence they leave tends to be more towards small rodents. Once in a while some rabbit fur shows up but not a lot. I see a lot more sign of rabbit in the scats of 4 legged predators.

    And that is one good looking pair ya have there. Keep that boy chasing that beagle. I haven't thanked my dad enough for keeping me behind some type of hound or other while growing up. Jimmie
     
  8. bigpuddin43

    bigpuddin43 12 pointer

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    Unless you are doing it for deer and turkey as well I dont think the clover will enhance your place much for rabbits. Best scenario for rabbits is to be able to feed while remaining in cover. A good NWSG/forb mixture provides this and with the cost of fertilizer/lime clover isnt very cheap to plant anymore. I paid over $100 an acre to plant mine last year with lime and fertliizer. No lime and no fertlizer with NWSG's plus very little maint. costs. Strip disk it on a 3-4 yr rotation and you are good to go for a lifetime basically as long as you keep it from getting to thick or let invasive weeds take over. Also talk to your Private lands biologist they can sometimes provide some seed or chemical depending on their budget.
     
  9. skin_dog1

    skin_dog1 BBBC Members

    Big puddin offers great advice. The problem with long term mowing is woody invasion. You can't kill the woody stuff by mowing, it really only makes it worse. Fire at the right time of the year is best but strip discing will work.
     
  10. KYBH4Life

    KYBH4Life Banned

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    I plan on buying some discs b/c I know I will need them sooner or later. Going to auction this coming Sat to look at a set
     

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