3 Ways To Use Rabbit Manure To Improve Your Garden!

3 Ways To Use Rabbit Manure To Improve Your Garden!

As you probably know, we raise rabbits on our homestead, which means we have a LOT of rabbit manure.

 

What you may not know is that rabbit manure is one of the easiest to use, yet super healthy, fertilizers for your garden. In this article, I’m going to show you how to use rabbit poop to improve your harvest.

 

Garden compost made from animal manure does two amazing things for your garden. First, it’s a free byproduct of your animals, so it’ll save money on topsoil and fertilizer. Second, it is a nutrient rich way to help your garden grow and thrive.

 

Why Rabbit Manure?

 

Great question! Unlike other manures which have to be well composted before you can even think of using it in your garden, rabbit poop can be immediately applied to your soil. It won’t burn crops, and can be used as a stand-alone planting medium or mixed with topsoil (although your best bet is to mix it with soil.)

 

As rabbit manure decomposes, it helps build up the structure of the soil, and injects valuable nutrients and organisms into your garden that will promote strong, speedy plant growth.

 

Rabbit manure, in particular, is rich in potassium, nitrogen, zinc, and calcium, and it’s one of the most nitrogen-rich manures out there – so you’ll get lush, green, well-fertilized growth. The potassium will also improve the quality of the fruit your vegetable plant sets.

 

Finally, unlike cow, horse, or pig poop, rabbit manure is odorless – so as you collect it and incorporate it into your garden, your nose (and your neighbors!) will thank you.


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How to Use Rabbit Manure In Your Garden

 

First decide on the source of your rabbit manure. If your kids have pet rabbits, have them collect the rabbit’s waste each day. If you already raise bunnies on your homestead, then what are you waiting for? Go start collecting rabbit manure for the garden!

 

Collecting it is relatively easy, and everyone has their own “system.” One of the simplest methods is to place plastic tubs under your rabbits’ cages and dump them out every day (don’t wait on this – flies WILL lay eggs which will hatch into maggots – GROSS.)

 

You can dump them into a compost pile, or directly into your garden. If you haven’t planted anything in your garden yet, then till the rabbit manure to a 2-inch depth.

 

If your garden is already established, then side dress your plants with the manure – it’s usually best to do this as your plants are flowering and setting fruit. They’ll need all the nutrients they can get during that time!

 

If you just got your rabbits, or don’t want to raise any but definitely want to use bunny poop in your garden, then you might also be able to find rabbit manure to buy. Check with neighbors or even Craigslist in your area.

 

How to Make Rabbit Manure Compost

Not everyone is enchanted with the idea of directly applying manure to their garden. That’s ok – you can compost the rabbit poop.

 

To make rabbit manure compost, mix the poop with other compost ingredients that will decompose, such as fruit peelings (like bananas), bits of leftover food, coffee grounds, and grass clippings, and leaves.

 

Add equal parts of wood shavings and straw, then blend all these things (and other kitchen waste) thoroughly, then add enough water to moisten. Be very careful not to completely saturate the compost pile.

 

Cover with a protective tarp and turn every two weeks. If you’re hot composting (which is unlikely with rabbit poop but, hey, stranger things have happened!), then water regularly to maintain heat and humidity levels. Keep adding to the pile and turning and blending it until it fully composts.

 

If you’re cold composting, then simply turn the pile until the manure and other ingredients have turned to sweet-smelling soil.

 

Making Rabbit Manure Tea for A Larger Garden Harvest

 

A third option, other than putting rabbit manure on your garden directly or composting it, is to make a tea fertilizer. Luckily, this is pretty simple.

 

In a 5 gallon bucket, place a burlap bag. Fill the bag about half way with rabbit manure (or however much manure you have on hand), and close it tight with string.

 

Add water to the bucket until the burlap bag is full submerged. Allow your tea to “brew” for 5-7 days, stirring daily. Once the allotted time has passed, simply remove the bag of manure from the bucket.

 

You can use the tea directly on your garden, and compost the rabbit manure, or use it on your garden as well.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you use rabbit manure in your garden? Leave a comment below!

Check Out My Other Rabbit Articles:


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Raising Rabbits On The Homestead For Beginners

Raising Rabbits On The Homestead For Beginners

Raising rabbits on a homestead for their meat is not for everyone.

 

Realistically, rabbits are usually kept as pets, and it’s hard for some people who haven’t ever butchered rabbits to make that mental shift towards looking at rabbits as a food source.

 

But if you’re looking for a consistent, quick, easy source of lean meat, then raising rabbits are a good option for any homestead.


 

We keep several rabbits on our homestead of varying colors and sizes.

 

They’re easy to care for, have few needs beyond food, water, clean cages, and a little companionship. Rabbits are easy to breed and make hardly any noise, so they’re perfect for an urban homesteader.

 

A Note On Laws

 

Now, first a word about raising rabbits on your homestead. If you plan on raising rabbits on your homestead for their meat, first look at the laws in your state, county, and town. 

 

In some areas of the United States, butchering rabbits for their meat can land you in hot water as our society moves ever further from sustainable farming.

 

In some of areas of the country, rabbits are considered pets and not livestock. Whether you don’t care or don’t agree with the laws, the bottom line is if they exist, you need to know.

 

Lack of understanding by neighbors might cause some unwanted legal drama, so first make sure your area doesn’t have any laws that can land you into trouble. 

 

We’ve all seen social media spin out of control when a human violates local laws regarding pets, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of that particular hammer.

 

Florida, for example, has laws that protect home butchering. However, I’ve seen many people get in trouble for homesteading when a nosy neighbor decides the animals “aren’t being cared for properly” (read: They object to butchering because they don’t realize that’s how meat is produced).

 

While the homestead owner was right under the eyes of the law, they still had to pay for an attorney and replace their stock after animal control seized their livestock.

 

In Missouri, on the other hand, owners are permitted by law to butcher any animal they own regardless of method. It varies by state. So know your local laws to avoid problems.

 

(As an aside, I’m not an attorney, just a keen observer. Consult an actual attorney about the laws in your area if you start raising rabbits for meat.)
Raising rabbits on your homestead for meat is a great way to have a consistent supply of lean, healthy meat. Rabbits are easy to keep and breed for even a beginner. Here's a look at our rabbits and what you need to know.

Selecting Rabbits

The first decision you’ll have to make when raising rabbits on your homestead is which breeds you want.

 

We raise mostly mixed breed rabbits with Rex, Chinchilla, Wild Rabbit,and New Zealand bloodlines.

 

New Zealand and Rex rabbits are probably the most popular rabbits for raising on a homestead because of their size and easy going natures.

 

In our area, people like to eat wild rabbits in addition to more domesticated breeds so we keep a wild-bred rabbit (one that was from a wild rabbit that was tamed).

 

When you look for rabbits for raising on your homestead, look for healthy animals that are in good flesh and don’t appear ill. You’re best off getting your breeding stock from a reputable dealer who cares about the quality of the animal.

 

If you don’t have much money to spend, then you can still easily acquire rabbits for raising. Four of our rabbits were given to us by someone who just didn’t want them anymore (raising rabbits for meat wasn’t for them).

 

If you feel prepared to give a home to a free rabbit and it appears healthy and able to breed then free is a good way to go. You will still have to feed it regularly, so make sure you’re able to bear that financial responsibility before acquiring free rabbits, however.

 

In this case, patience and time yield favorable results.

 

If you don’t want to wait, however, you can acquire rabbits for as little as $10 with the average price being between $15 and $20. For pedigreed Chinchilla male rabbits, we paid $12 each.

 

Feeding Rabbits You’re Raising

Rabbits require little specialized feeding and a regular ration that you purchase at a feed store will work well.

 

I recommend purchasing 40 lb or 50 lb bags of feed at a feed store. In our area, we can get a 50 lb bag of feed for $10, while at a big box store, they sell 5 or 10 lb bags for the same amount.

 

We offer our rabbits plenty of fresh vegetables too, and they especially love lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes.

 

We also provide fresh water in large waterers that you can buy at any pet store or big box store.

 

Housing for Your Rabbits

We keep our rabbits in large cages that we have permanently placed in a greenhouse. The rabbits are able to be outside in the fresh air, but still be out of inclement weather. 

 

Anything is appropriate housing for raising rabbits on a homestead as long as the rabbit has enough room, is out of the elements, has food and water. 

Cages must be cleaned regularly.

 

We use hay and straw as bedding, which the rabbits love because they can nibble on it.

Raising Sustainable Meat With Rabbits

Of course, if your goal is raising rabbits for meat, at some point you will have to breed them.

 

While we won’t get into breeding too much in this article, large rabbits reach maturity at about 7 months of age.

 

Female rabbits have a 30 day gestation cycle, and can have litters of 1-10 kits (baby rabbits are called kits) and the average litter size is 6.

 

Rabbits breed by induced ovulation, meaning when the female is bred, she is then induced to ovulate.

 

The advantage to this is you don’t need to worry about heat cycles and making sure you mate her at just the right time, like you do with other mammals.

 

I recommend breeding rabbits with caution because it is easy to become overwhelmed quickly. We try to breed only 1 rabbit every month or two.

 

We’re raising 8 rabbits as our breeding stock,  so unless we keep a strict schedule, we can easily become overrun with rabbits.

 

Raising rabbits on your homestead as a sustainable source of meat is easy, as long as you keep some of the ideas in this article in mind.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Are you thinking of raising rabbits on your homestead? Email me or comment below!