This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
I am always pleased to see the birds, rabbits, and even the musk-rat, rogue though he be, in my garden and nurseries, and occasionally give them " aid and comfort" when necessary, more especially by endeavoring to prevent the gunners from destroying them; and, therefore, rabbits are rather more numerous about those grounds than in some other places, and, excepting in rare instances, they do very little injury.
In the last severe and long-continued cold weather and deep snow, I placed apples, cabbage-leaves, and other vegetables, in places that they frequented, but I had a few large apple-trees which got their annual trimming during the deep snow, and the branches or spray remained on the snow, being difficult to collect and take away. Upon passing through the garden, I found on the surface of the snow rabbit tracks in great abundance in the vicinity of the trimmed trees, with well-beaten rabbit roads from tree to tree. Upon close examination, I discovered that the buds on the cut branches had been eaten, and especially those on fruit-bearing spurs, and that, after the trimming of the trees, the other provisions had been almost untouched, they evidently preferring the apple-buds.
To their enemies, who would destroy them because they are sometimes obliged to injure young trees and plants in order to subsist, and to their friends, who desire to preserve them alive in severe seasons, I recommend the providing them with thinnings and prunings of branches of orchard-trees, which are abundant at such times; then I believe they will not injure those who regard them as enemies, and they will be preserved to give pleasure to their friends.