Sweet little wiggly noses, cute puffball tails, soft silky ears – there are so many reasons to love rabbits! Some backyard farmers are hesitant to add rabbits to their little farm because they don’t raise animals for meat. Rabbits are so much more than a source of rapidly reproducing meat!
I don’t keep my rabbits for meat. We started with Angora rabbits – usually raised for their gorgeous, long, silky fur prized by spinners and crafters. I had grand plans of spinning fiber and knitting all kinds of creations. I got a spinning wheel. I had bags and bags of Angora fiber I “harvested” over the years. After about 5 years I had to be honest with myself, I just didn’t have time to practice spinning. Once the last of our Angoras passed away, we were already hooked on keeping rabbits. We switched to Lionhead rabbits – super cute and fluffy but with a lot less fur to groom.
So if I’m no longer keeping rabbits for fiber, and I don’t eat them – why am I keeping rabbits on my farm? Aside from being adorable and gentle companion animals, they are amazing garden helpers. They might not be helping pull weeds or reminding me to turn on the sprinklers, but they have done more for my soil fertility than even my chickens!
If you are looking for an organic way to build soil health and improve the structure of your soil, you can’t do much better than rabbit manure. Rabbits are also a super easy addition to make on any backyard farm. They are small, don’t require a ton of space, and are quiet – making them the ideal animal for any suburban or urban farm. Click here to learn about basic rabbit care
Rabbit manure is the superior choice for the backyard farmer for several reasons
Rabbit poop is dry & odorless
I love my chickens and ducks but they stink!
No composting required
Rabbit manure is “cold” manure, which means you do not have to compost it before you use it. Most animal manure is “hot” and if applied without composting will burn tender seedlings and plants.
Excellent NPK values!
In fertilizer speak, these are the big three elements you want for healthy, strong plants; N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus), and K (potassium). Nitrogen grows healthy green leaves & strong plants. Phosphorus helps big blooms, fruit, & strong roots. Potassium helps with fruit quality & disease resistance. Rabbit manure’s NPK values are N 2.4, P 1.4, and K 0.6. Compare that to chicken manure’s values of N 1.1, P 0.8, and K 0.5, and you can see rabbits have them beat! Click here to learn about testing your soil
Rabbit poop comes in these convenient little dry, powerhouse pellets. When you apply these pellets to your garden, they break down in the soil, seeping nutrients into your plants the whole time! While breaking down, they are also helping to improve the structure and stability of the soil.
Red wiggler worms LOVE rabbit manure!
Red wigglers are composting superstars and are the preferred worm of vermicomposters everywhere. I have so many red wigglers in my compost bin that even with the chickens regularly digging them out and eating them I have TONS. I have my rabbits to thank for that!
Rabbit manure can be used year-round
It’s great for giving your garden a nitrogen boost in the spring for seedlings, for side-dressing plants in the summer, and for adding nutrients back into your soil after a prosperous growing season.
It’s free and plentiful!
Rabbits poop. A lot. It’s totally normal and healthy for each bunny to produce 100 or more pellets a day! Even with just a pair of bunnies, all that poop really adds up and can keep your garden green and lush.
How to use rabbit manure in your garden
Straight from the rabbit
You can literally take the dry pellets and sprinkle them right in the soil. Rabbit urine & urine-soaked litter needs to be composted, but the dry fecal pellets can be used right away. Pop a few in the hole when transplanting plants into the garden, side-dress currently growing plants, or work them into the top few inches of an empty bed before or after planting season.
Does the thought of putting fresh manure in your garden make you feel uneasy? No worries, rabbit manure is great in the compost bin too. Add equal amounts of dry shavings/leaves and manure. Mix with a pitchfork occasionally and keep the pile moist to encourage everything to break down. Click here to learn more about composting
Rabbit manure tea
Manure tea is an awesome organic, liquid fertilizer that seedlings and young plants love! Click here to read about making compost tea. The process is simple, you put the manure into a bag and let it seep into a bucket of water. As the manure dissolves, the water becomes dense with plant-loving nutrition!
Purchased rabbit manure
If you can’t keep rabbits, you can still benefit from rabbit manure. You can buy it prepackaged in garden centers or from rabbit farmers. You might also be able to get some for free or cheap if you have a friend with a rabbit who doesn’t garden, or from your local animal shelter.