Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 5: Protect Your Farm's Natural Assets
Tool 5.6
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This tool is a brief analysis of the range of rabbit control methods that can be used in appropriate combinations to suit your goals

Control option When best to use Benefits Precautions

1080 baiting

Late summer or when population is usually at a minimum.

Most cost-effective method.
Large areas covered quickly.
Many native animals tolerant of 1080 but can be affected if baits misused.
Foxes killed by eating poisoned rabbits. Loses toxicity on exposure to rain.

No effective antidote.
Livestock and pets (cats and dogs) can be at risk.
Uneaten baits should be buried.
Dry weather required.
Approval can be bureaucratic in some jurisdictions.

Pindone baiting

Best late summer.
Before seeding, planting or regeneration efforts.

Moderate cost.
Less hazard to domestic animals because an antidote is available.

Must not be used in presence of some native animals (toxic to kangaroos, birds of prey and bandicoots)

Warren ripping

Summer for sandy soils.
Winter for clay soils.
Before planting/ seeding.

Good for large, paddock infestations.
Reduces recolonisation.
Long-term solution.
Can be adapted (e.g. use of a back-hoe arm) for use in native shrubland

Labour-intensive but can be less than for fumigation.
Can cause soil erosion if not properly carried out.
Must be used selectively in bushland to avoid destroying native vegetation.
Not suitable in some rocky country.

Warren fumigation

Best late summer.
Before seeding, planting or regeneration efforts.

Useful if rabbits are underground in inaccessible or scattered areas.
Good follow-up after baiting, ripping.
Does not increase erosion risk.

Prior ripping or baiting required.
Cannot be used where rabbits live above ground or where warrens cannot be sealed.

Harbour destruction

Before seeding, planting or regeneration efforts.

Good follow-up method but not suitable in all situations (e.g. native vegetation).

Little value alone – must be combined with other methods.

Rabbit-proof fencing

Before seeding, planting or regeneration efforts.

Long-term effect, stops reinvasion.

High initial cost and labour requirement and needs regular checking.

Bio-control (Myxomatosis and Rabbit Calicivirus)

Effective in reducing numbers before other controls are used.

Naturally spread - no cost.
In NSW farmers can purchase Calicivirus baits from Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPAs).

Timing and effectiveness is unpredictable.
Deciding when to make releases depends on good knowledge of prior outbreak patterns.

Shooting, trapping, ferrets

Late summer or when population is usually at a minimum.

Appropriate for low rabbit numbers.
Can complement other methods.

Very labour-intensive.
Little value alone – must be combined with other methods.
Need permit for many trap types.
Trapping and shooting not suitable in built-up areas.


The PestSmart Toolkit ( provides information and guidance on best-practice invasive animal management on several key vertebrate pest species including rabbits, wild dogs, foxes and feral pigs. Information is provided as fact sheets, case-studies, technical manuals and research reports. Also, view the PestSmart YouTube Channel ( for video clips on best practice control methods for pest animal management.