How To Use Rabbit Droppings In The Garden

Rabbit manure, bunny honey, bunny gold. No matter what you call it, rabbit poop is nutritious, easy to work with, and great for your garden. Learn how to make rabbit manure fertilizer here.

If you raise rabbits, then you know how much poop they create. A single rabbit can generate between 200 and 300 rabbit pellets per day, and one ton of manure in the course of a year.

That’s a lot of manure. And if you’re not using rabbit manure, you’re wasting it.

Using your rabbit manure for gardening turns it from waste into something valuable. Click To Tweet

Yes, you can use rabbit manure directly on your houseplants, flower beds, and in your soil. It’s easy.

Why is Rabbit Manure Good Fertilizer?

It’s not just good, it’s amazing. There’s a reason people refer to rabbit pellets as “bunny gold.” 

The truth is, rabbit manure contains four times the nutrition of  cow or horse manure. And it’s twice as nutritious as chicken manure.

But that’s just the beginning.

The Right (Nutritional) Stuff

Plants need the right combination of three main nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You might see this described as the N-P-K formula. Carbon is also important.

Nitrogen helps a plant to generate enzymes, amino acids, and proteins. Plants also need nitrogen for growing healthy leaves.

The carbon in soil works similarly to the carbohydrates in our diet. That is, it gives a plant energy for growth.

Plants also need the proper balance of these two elements.

Why? Because a plant can only utilize the carbon in soil if there’s an appropriate amount of nitrogen.

And what does phosphorus do?

Phosphorus helps a plant to develop a strong stem, healthy root network, flowers, and blossoms.

And potassium? Potassium helps plants to digest the other nutrients and produce their own food.

Rabbit manure contains two percent nitrogen, and one percent each of potassium and phosphorus.

This makes it very, very nutritious for your plants.

Less of the Wrong Stuff

Some kinds of manure, particularly horse manure and cow manure, contains amounts of uric acid and ammonia that can make a fertilizer harmful unless it’s composted out.

Rabbit pellets contain less uric acid and ammonia than many other types of manure. It won’t burn plants if applied untreated.

Easy to Handle

When you clean your rabbits’ litter box, you scoop the pellets and throw them away. Why not use them for gardening instead? It really is that simple.

Free

Using your rabbit manure for gardening turns it from waste into something valuable. Why pay for a manure-based fertilizer when you have a more or less unlimited supply right at hand?

And if your pets are generating more than you can get rid of, you may even be able to sell it to other gardeners.

Do You Have to Compost Rabbit Poop?

No, but it does make a wonderfully rich compost.

Cow, horse, and chicken manures are considered “hot” manures. That is, they can burn  plants’ roots if don’t compost them first.

Rabbit manure is considered a “cold” manure. So you can spread it directly on top of your garden.

You can utilize rabbit manure as top dressing for your trees, garden beds or houseplants. Alternatively, you can work it into soil as a soil treatment. 

How Can Rabbit Manure Help Your Soil?

In addition to adding vital nutrients, mix rabbit manure into your soil in order to:

  • Improve drainage
  • Increase moisture retention
  • Improve the soil structure

For starters.

But I Want to Compost it. How do you do That?

There are a couple of different ways to treat your rabbit manure for gardening.

First, you can mix rabbit manure into your compost pile. Because rabbit manure is high in nitrogen, you’ll also want to add equal amounts of a high-carbon organic matter like straw, grass clippings, or shredded newspaper. This will keep the carbon-nitrogen balance of your compost pile where it should be.

Another way to compost your manure is to make rabbit compost tea.

To do this, fill a five gallon (19 litre) bucket with water and add a large scoop of rabbit manure. Let the mixture steep for two to four days, stirring it every now and then.

You can water your plants with the resulting “tea.” You can also add the sludge to your garden bed or compost pile.

Can You Use Rabbit Droppings With Worms?

You can! In fact, some say that rabbits are an earthworm’s best friend (red wigglers, too).

But you have to do it right.

First, never use fresh rabbit manure as a bedding for your worms. The high nitrogen content, plus the additional nitrogen and salts present in rabbit urine, will kill your worms.

Instead, pre-compost any rabbit manure intended for bedding.

After a few days of composting, put a small amount of the manure into a test bin and add a handful of worms. Wait 15 minutes then open the bin. 

If the worms are huddled together, or if they’ve crawled up the sides and ceiling of the bin, then the manure isn’t ready. Let it compost for a few more days. 

When your test worms seem happy to bury themselves and stay there, then the compost is safe.

Are There Any Special Considerations When Using Rabbit Manure?

Of course. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Pathogens

Although rabbit poop is generally safe directly out of the litter box, you might have concerns about using it on food plants.

For an extra measure of safety, compost any rabbit droppings before applying to food plants in your garden.

Flies

Like any manure, rabbit manure can attract flies. This, in turn, can increase your rabbits’ risk of flystrike

If you’re concerned about attracting flies or other pests, bury your rabbit droppings or work them into the garden soil.

Smell

Rabbit droppings, in general, are pretty inoffensive. But if you’re concerned about the smell, burying them in a bit of garden soil can help.

Which Other Pet Manures Make Good Fertilizer?

Not all manures are created equal, of course. Different animals have different diets. And an animal’s diet will affect the nutritional content of its manure. 

Not every animal’s manure is appropriate for the garden. Some manure is, frankly, harmful.

There are other considerations, as well.

Guinea Pigs

Pet guinea pigs and pet rabbits have a similar diet: feeding hay and nuggets. As a result, their manure has a similar nutritional profile.

One difference, however, is that guinea pigs can carry the parasite Giardia, which causes giardiasis, a serious diarrheal disease.

Never use fresh guinea pig droppings on food plants (though you can compost it.) Also, use gloves when handling guinea pig droppings, and wash your hands afterward. 

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs, unlike rabbits, are omnivores. Their diet is considerably more protein-rich. As a result, hedgehog poop doesn’t have the right nutritional balance to be appropriate fertilizer.

Also, hedgehogs can carry and spread Salmonella

Don’t use hedgehog droppings on your plants, and wash your hands when cleaning your hedgehog’s house.

Chickens

Chicken manure is a time-honoured fertilizer. It contains many vital nutrients. But you can’t use it untreated.

Chicken manure contains numerous bacteria and pathogens that can spread to people. Moreover, these pathogens may remain active for up to a year.

If you want to use your chickens’ droppings in your garden, don’t use them fresh from the coop. You’ll need to compost them first.

Cats and Dogs

No.

Like hedgehogs, cats and dogs consume a lot of protein. This gives their droppings an inappropriate nutritional balance for garden use.

In addition, cat and dog droppings contain numerous bacteria and pathogens that can be harmful to people. They can also carry a host of parasites.

Finally, unlike rabbit droppings, dog and cat poop takes a very long time to break down.

Your Litter Box is a Gold Mine

Bunny gold, that is.

Why throw away perfectly good, nutritious, organic fertilizer, when you can use it in your garden?

Have you used rabbit manure in your garden? Do you have any tips or tricks that might help our readers? Drop it in the comments section!

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2 Responses

  1. awesome article not the typical rabbit related article yet refreshingly brilliant.have a new appreciation for the stuff!! thanks Jess Faraday:)

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