Rabbit Manure in the Garden

comments (22) February 13th, 2010

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ChrisMcLaughlin Chris McLaughlin, contributor
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Turns out, bunnies are good for the garden.
 
Photo by Peterastin under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.Click To Enlarge

Turns out, bunnies are good for the garden.

 

Photo by Peterastin under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.


Anyone who comes within a few yards of my garden gets to discuss rabbit poop and its many gardening benefits - whether they want to or not. I'm determined to spread the bunny-gospel.

There's just no poop that works as well for the garden as rabbit poop. It has all the uber-benefits of horse and steer manure but with a distinct advantage. Because it's considered a "cold" manure, you don't have to let rabbit poop age or compost before you use it. Other manures that come from chickens, sheep, horse, cows, and pigs or "hot" manures, need to be composted for months before you can safely use them or you'll burn your little plant darlings to death. Not so with rabbit poop.

Rabbit Pellets as a Super Fertilizer

Grab a handful from under the rabbit cage and spread it all over the garden. I like to think of them as time release capsules, as the pellets don't completely break down right away. It's slow-release thing. If the pellets are urine-soaked, (which they usually aren't) you can let them dry out a bit or just fold them into a couple inches of soil.

As they do break down, they build your soil's structure, improve the porosity, add stability, and hold nutrients for plants as well as other organisms in the soil. And I haven't even mentioned how much red wigglers love rabbit poop! (Don't even get me going on the benefits of red worms in your garden.)

There are two schools of thought on applying rabbit manure to the garden. Some gardeners are cautious about potential pathogens and prefer to toss them onto the compost pile as a precaution. For some, adding poop to your veggie garden sounds (on some level) suspect.

I'll be honest, I haven't heard of there ever being a problem - but it's worth mentioning especially if you're adding them to a vegetable garden. Then there are those gardeners that apply the rabbit pellets directly to the garden without a second thought. This is one of my practices; but I'm daring like that.

Another great way to take advantage of rabbit pellets and all their growing goodness is to make "bunny brew" or rabbit compost tea. Find a five gallon bucket, and a large scoop of rabbit pellets and drop them into the bucket. Give it a good stir every now and again for a day or two.

Let the manure settle and use the tea at the top of the bucket to water your plants. You can dump the remaining manure at the bottom of the bucket onto your compost pile (no waste here). Of course, the proper English way would be to use a big piece of muslin or burlap and make a big tea bag and let it dangle into the bucket.


Rabbit Manure in Compost

Oh my. If I gave you an earful on the virtues of rabbit poop in the garden, then you have to know that this goes double for the compost pile. If you can get your hands on even a small pail of rabbit poop every once in a while, you'll be in nitrogen heaven as far as composting goes. Bunny gold is nitrogen on steroids; it really gets a pile going. If you have rabbits, you'll never be at a loss for a green (nitrogen) source for your compost pile.


posted in: compost, compost tea, rabbits, manure

Comments (22)

Paperbackstash writes: I have a house rabbit, Kirby, and been thinking of using his stuff for fertilizer. He's over 6 years old now and raised in the house. A sweet thing but this would be a nice benefit too as I'm just getting into gardening myself and have planted a lot this year. Not sure which of the above methods I'll try yet first though, I think the dry pellets and mixing in with the soil. Kirby by himself produces tons more than I would ever use lol
Posted: 1:09 pm on April 4th
bp1977 writes: We raise Silver Fox rabbits, a heritage breed, for meat and pelts and always have an overabundance of their pellets. I heavily mulch our perennial beds with them, and add an inch or two (turned in) to my brassica beds. In both of these cases, the plants have responded really well. I've been thinking about mulching my tomato beds with them this year but only have about 1 to 1-2/2 months before the plants will need to go in the ground. Has anyone here tried this, and to what end?
Posted: 2:53 pm on March 16th
CPTNRSK writes: @ rockmockenough I see you created an account on the day (July 5th 2012) that you actually posted, and with that its the only post you have made, that which is nothing more than propaganda. I submit you are another toady collectivist asshat that thinks you are doing something of value by parroting tired old political rhetoric espoused from the demoncratic party and their control freak natures. Does Elmer Fud give rabbits their shots in the woods? NO! Why should I put poison in their veins. They are not PETS. The only reason you want people to think of them as Pets is because the law has a monopoly on the word PET which they can use against you if you do not follow their stupid rules. People like you are the problem in the world.. (3rd most domesticated animal) Prove it! And what if it is? So what, what does that have to do with you? What does anyone else having a rabbit have to do with you? Not a damn thing! Get over yourself. Liberal idiot.
Posted: 11:07 pm on February 21st
Spgsamuel writes: Rabbits are grazers and eat constantly a little and often, because their digestive process is very different to most animals such as as scavengers and hunters. A rabbits digestive system is only able to gain a certain benefit from the nutritional value of what it eats per hour, the rest is pooped out into its pellets. This is same for Deer, mice, hamsters and most vegetarian animals that produce pellets as they also eat, and in turn poo often, leaving what many survivalists have come to call natures vitamins.

They can be brewed in a tea if dried out sufficiently or if fresh eaten straight from the ground, they still taste like poo but in an emergency or as a go go supplement taken in the morning they can be used to great effect. I do not recommend eating poo, it does taste bad and all meat eaters poo contains dangerous bacteria that can lead to serious illness. So if you don't know what it is or simply don't like eating poo, leave it alone.

I checked this post as I am thinking about adding wabbit pellets directly onto my veg patch and was worried about any possible scorching effects that anyone may have had.

If you live near some woodland you can collect bunny poo fairly easily as they tend to poo in the same locations which is very, err sophisticated of them i suppose.

Anyway due to their high nutritional value they sound like a tasty addition to any veg plot.
Posted: 7:55 am on July 3rd
CityBoyCountryHeart writes: As a child some 20 plus years ago, My gradparents moved to the country and had one awsome garden with just about any thing you could grow in it. They also had around 60 rabbits at any one time. I must say that from the experiance I had as a child growing up there during my spring breaks and summer vacations, I plan on doing the same soon when I move with my family to the country. I never found so many worms in my life with the turn of a Single shovel scoup. And yes they used the manure in the garden because that was one of my chores to shovel it and wheel barrow to the pile. Some of the best tasting foods I ever had, and they did not use any thing other than that for fertilizers,. but also had spring water to keep them healthy. other than basic compost like table scrapes of egg shells, and coffe grounds and such.
I aslo plan to use the manure for worm beds to collect and sell the worms on the road side or to a local shop. Theres all kinds of money to be made once you start homesteading. Its not just about self living.
So, you got the Food from the garden, the meat from the rabbits, the worms and poop for helping make food and such and worms to sell for money... can't loose really. About as Organic as you can get!

Posted: 7:08 pm on May 1st
zsd writes: I started a worm farm under my rabbit cages, i checked the cages the other day diging in several spot and found 3 worms out of the 3 dozen i put in. what did i do wrong?
Posted: 8:48 pm on March 27th
smacd1961 writes: After reading all the comments about rabbit manure for tomato plants I will say this. I have a large rabbitry and gave a 50lb bag to my best friends aunt last year and she had more tomatoes on the her vines than she had had in 30 years in the same spot. Just saying.
Posted: 5:37 pm on September 25th
rockmockenough writes: I see that most of these posts are a bit dated at this point but wanted to jump in none the less.

I realize that this site is focused on gardening so I will refrain from a complete tirade on how rabbits belong in the house (they are the 3rd most owned domesticated animal in the US)and should under no circumstances be housed outdoors.

That said, if you are interested in adding rabbit poop to your garden please, please, please do not buy or adopt a rabbit just to do that. Rabbits are a 10 year commitment and require spaying/neutering and regular vet visits just like cats and dogs.

Instead ask around about who already has rabbits. Friends, co-workers, church members, etc. Most rabbit owners are happy to supply you with fresh poop for your garden. Or look online to see if there are any rabbit shelters in your area. They will also be happy to have you take some of the many, many bags of poop they dispose of every day.

Please check out the website www.rabbit.org for information on rabbit ownership as well as a list of local shelters.
Posted: 10:22 pm on July 5th
kostasgreece writes: hello im interesting to take only liquid from rabbit mature to use in my greenhouse but i dont find any kind of machine to do this.Do you know anything ?

thanks for your time
Posted: 7:15 am on November 6th
Heaseba writes: I raise rabbits for meat. I have used the 'pellets' in the garden. My snow peas love them and so do my passionfruit vines. I will be seeding the vegie garden with them this coming spring. On a slightly different note.. I feed the rabbits guts to the chickens.. waste not, want not.. *smile*
Posted: 4:32 pm on November 4th
savingtimeandmoney writes: Okay Iam new to the graden We live in a sub. have small pool type graden Now we have a few bunnies showing up for early breakfast!! (totmates/Pepers/Cuck this year)
I also have ain door bunny we use ceadar shaving in his cage /Can i use his poop mixed with ceader from cage to mix with dirt or should we mix it in the composter bind for next fall/spring , Any help would great?
Next question
What can I do to keep the wild bunnies out ? Fence I know But some one told me I could use cat littler around the area ?? (mother law has indoor cat??

Can you use cat litter in the composter ?/
I just wondered??
Thanks
Posted: 8:23 am on June 7th
Kahlo writes: Chris,

Since you have experience with rabbit manure -- I've been adding the winter manure to our garden and find that much of it is full of little reddish brown seeds (or eggs?). They are smaller than sunflower seeds, closer to sesame seeds.

Do you (or anyone else with rabbits) know what these might be?

Thanks.


Posted: 8:47 pm on May 7th
jessicagarrett writes: I have a pet rabbit that does her business in a litter pan filled with paper bags and shredded newspaper. We typically dump the full litter pan into the compost because we've read that the urine will burn our plants. Can we dig/mix the paper/poop/pee mix into my garden beds and avoid that? If so, how long would we need to wait before planting our veggie starts?
Posted: 1:15 pm on March 26th
joeinvirginia writes: How much rabbit manure would you recommend per 100 sq. ft.?
Posted: 8:45 am on February 22nd
dabrain writes: hi as far as putting rabbit manure on tomatoes wait until they flower, you will have no problem,myself i dig hole 12 inches deep put in 1 shove of rabbit manure 1 half of a coconut cut into small pieces, worms love them greatly, by time roots hit this flowers are on plants, done this many times have lots of tomatoes, oh if u have corn cobs 3 or 4 of those great with this they hold water
Posted: 2:13 pm on August 8th
ChrisMcLaughlin writes: Moonvine ~ Couple of thoughts. I'm not sure if you mean the urine run-off...but my thoughts would be that while tomatoes LOVE the nitrogen when they're getting going, when they get big, it's better to have the potassium and phosphorus on the higher side because if the tomatoes get too much nitrogen, they'll produce more leaves than fruit - and you don't want that. In the case where actual run-off would be steady it seems that they plants could be over - run with urine.

Technically, it makes more sense to let it run-ff onto the leafy struff right? Still, it doesn't sound appetizing to have straight urine on the leafy greens either.

So, is there anyway to make the ground lean away from the garden? Or maybe catch pans placed underneath? Because you really do want to take advantage of all the terrific manure you'll have!
Posted: 8:10 pm on April 28th
Moonvine writes: Thank you, this was good info. i have 2 flemish giant rabbits that i am wanting to build an outdoor habitat for. it will be in very close proximity and on ground level next to my veggie garden. i have some concern about waste run off from the rabbits to the veggies. my thought is to not plant leafy greens or herbs in close proximity, but rather the uprights like tomatoes and peppers. of course, the leafy greens would love the nitrogen i suspect. i donno, any words of advice before i start on their outdoor habitat?
Posted: 12:12 am on April 1st
ChrisMcLaughlin writes: PeterGarnham: I agree and if folks are concerned about pathogens, really it's best to compost the rabbit manure first (although, bigger concern with pathogens is with meat-eating animals). As far as too much nitrogen, yes - it's always best not to overwhelm veggies that produce fruit such as tomatoes. Good advice.
Posted: 2:42 pm on February 18th
PeterGarnham writes: I believe rabbit manure is the highest-nitrogen animal manure, so I would hesitate to add it too generously around plants such as tomatoes. You could get HUGE plants,and very few tomatoes. And if you are making what is essentially compost tea with rabbit manure, it is much safer to run an aquarium bubbler in the bucket. Without oxygen, any manure mixture can create some really nasty pathogens, including e.coli. That's not something you want on your lettuce . . .
Posted: 8:15 pm on February 17th
ChrisMcLaughlin writes: myseasons: That was sweet story! Just to be clear, the bunnies I'm referring to are domesticated bunnies that would be housed in rabbit hutches. This is the easiest way to collect manure, keep your plants alive, and have a wonderful pet to boot!
Posted: 11:10 am on February 17th
myseasons writes: I have had two bunnies in residence in my garden over the years. The first was a very small bunny I found nestled in the coriander. He(?)was so sweet I let the herb continue to grow to seed, allowing him cover. I never saw any damage to any plants the entire time he stayed. That was more than a month, as I recall.
Years later my garden was chosen by an adult rabbit. He made his home in the the flower bed, in the Watsonia to be precise. As spring came and the chrysantemums popped out of the ground he ate them all, and continued through the flower bed for all meals, then, of course, my neighbor's gardens, too.
He disappeared for a few months and then came "home" to my garden to die.
If you can tell the marauders from the grateful homeless you will enjoy your bunnies.
Posted: 10:43 am on February 17th
JadaE writes: Well, I'm still on quest to adopt a couple of bunnies...but... :)

Since I last posted, we've added a lab retriever puppy and two parakeets to our family! The puppy certainly takes up my limited free time (joyfully!), so my bunny adoption will have to wait a bit longer...

My understanding is that lab puppies will play with bunnies (with direct supervision, of course), so they can learn to live together.

Anyway, my oldest daughter mentioned that we were getting a bunny or two for Mother's Day?? Hmmm....We'll see! :) VIVA LA BUNNY POOP!!! :)
Posted: 11:16 am on February 16th
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