Is rabbit poop good fertilizer?
If you are a rabbit owner, the thought of using your bunny’s poop as fertilizer will have crossed your mind. The thought always pops up as we are cleaning the litter box. This is because a healthy and well-fed rabbit can poop up to 300 poop pallets every day! But is their poop is suitable to be used as fertilizers? We will discuss it based on our research and also, on our experiment!
The short answer to your question is yes. Using rabbit poop as fertilizer is very good and is considered as “premium fertilizer” when compared to other manure fertilizers. This is because rabbit poop has up to four times more nutrients when compared to cow or horse manure.
How is rabbit poop so nutritious?
How is this possible? Considering how a rabbit’s diet is so clean it is a no-brainer that their manure will be packed filled with nutrients! A healthy rabbit’s diet consists mainly of dried hay, vegetable, and pallet. The percentage is about 85% dried hay, 10% leafy greens, and 5% high-quality rabbit food pallets. This diet makes your rabbit poop naturally be rich in nutrients. Some of the many nutrients inside a rabbit poop include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Other minerals such as zinc, manganese, and calcium can also be found in rabbit poop. That’s the secret! Feed your bunny well and they will make super fertilizers for your crop.
How do plants benefit from rabbit poop?
It is important to understand that plants and vegetation require 3 main ingredients to flourish and grow. The key ingredients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These 3 ingredients at the right combination (also known as the N-P-K formula) are what make plants or vegetation flourish!
According to the study “The Michigan Gardening Guide” by Minnich, fresh rabbit poop contains about 2.4% nitrogen (N), 1.4% phosphorus (P), and 0.6% potassium (K). This reading of nitrogen is the highest when compared to other livestock manure like cow manure (0.6% nitrogen), chicken manure (0.9% nitrogen), and horse manure (0.6% nitrogen). Please note that this nitrogen content is from fresh manure. The N-P-K content of composted manure may vary.
So what does this tell us? Considering how much a rabbit can poop a day (200 – 300 poop pallets), their fresh manure aka, super fertilizer is very accessible and beneficial.
Another good point about rabbit poop is that it comes in a pellet form. The pellet form is very easy to work with when compared to cow or chicken manure. Their pallet form is especially great for urban gardeners that don’t want much hassle in preparing their fertilizer. For instance, we use our fresh rabbit poop that is not touched by their piss (dry) and sprinkle them on the soil of our plants and this method is relatively effective. Occasionally we do burry their poop under a layer of topsoil rather than sprinkling on top for reasons that we will explain down below!
5 reasons to use rabbit poop as fertilizer
There are many reasons why choosing rabbit poop as fertilizer triumphs other manure counterparts like chicken, cow, and horse. We will list down a few key points for you that you can take into consideration when choosing your next manure fertilizer!
1. Rabbit poop does not smell bad
Unlike manure from chicken, cow, or horse—rabbit manure does not smell bad. A healthy rabbit has a unique digestive system that the poop they produce is both dry and firm. If your rabbit is producing wet or watery poop, it may be having intestinal problems! These dry and firm pallet poop carries little to no smell.
2. Rabbit poop is a “cold manure”
Being cold manure, rabbit poop can be applied directly to your crops without the need for composting or aging. Cold manure has a higher ratio of carbon and moisture to the N-P-K which is why it is safe to be used without processing. Other manures such as those from chicken, cow, and horse are considered as “hot manure” and applying it fresh directly to your crops may burn them. Because rabbit poop contains high nitrogen content, we recommend introducing it to your crop slowly. This ensures the crop can get accustomed to the sudden spike of nitrogen.
3. Rabbit poop is safer
By feeding a diet consisting mostly of hay, leafy green, and pallets, you can expect your bunny poop to be much cleaner and safer compared to other manure. Rabbit poop won’t contain seeds that may pose as an invasive species to your crop. Also, home rabbits have less chance of having harmful pathogens in their poop. If your rabbit is neutered or spayed, it also reduces the risk of them carrying disease. Read more about the benefit of neutering your rabbit here.
4. Rabbit poop is cheaper (for rabbit owners)
If you are a rabbit owner looking to grow plants and vegetation on the side, using their poop is more cost-efficient compared to buying manure! With your rabbit producing many poop pallets a day, your supply of fertilizer never runs out! Be careful not to over-fertilize as the high concentration of nitrogen may harm some crops.
If you are looking to buy rabbit manure, it may cost more per pound compared to cow or chicken manure. In some cases, it can cost up to 3x more if it is from an indoor pet rabbit. Indoor pet rabbit usually lives on a healthy diet and in a stress-free environment. This helps them to focus on their task to produce the best fertilizers!
5. Rabbit poop is easier to handle
As mentioned before, rabbit poops out round fecal pallet that is dry. The round shape and dryness of the poop make it easier to handle and also less disgusting. Rabbit poop tells you a lot about their health. If your rabbit is not making round pallets, there may be a problem with its health. If their diet is a bit off eg; you feed them less hay and more pallets, their poop volume will decrease and sometimes be watery too.
As shown in the image above, we usually handle our rabbit poop around the garden without using gloves.
3 methods to use rabbit poop as fertilizer
There are 3 different methods that you can use to prepare your rabbit poop for fertilizing. Each of the methods has its pros and cons so choose whichever suits your needs!
1. Fresh and unprocessed
As a rabbit owner that does a bit of recreational farming on the side, this method is by far our favorite. Since we are not too concerned about our pet rabbit’s poop containing harmful pathogens or worms, we are can their fresh poop as fertilizer. Although pathogen and worms in rabbit poop are rare, they can occur when the rabbit is not kept in a clean environment or is being fed the wrong diet.
If you are a professional farmer or do farming to sell, this method may not be suitable for you. You would want to take the safest route to ensure all your cash crop grows and flourish the best that they can. We use this method because we grow our crops for self-consumption and also because we know the state of health of our rabbits.
To use it fresh, you can simply just topdress your soil with fresh rabbit poop. If possible, you may want to avoid having the rabbit poop be directly in touch with your plants. Fertilizing the soil of the plants is proven to be the best method.
2. Make it into a rabbit manure tea
Another way to use rabbit poop as fertilizer is to make them into rabbit manure tea! Unlike the other two methods, rabbit manure tea’s end product is liquid. You are breaking down the rabbit poop’s nutrients into the water then using the water as liquid fertilizer. Moreover, the leftovers from the unbroken down poop can be still be used as fertilizer or composting.
What you need
- 1x cup of rabbit manure
- 1x bucket (4.5 liters) gallon bucket
How to make rabbit manure tea
- Pour 1 cup of rabbit manure into the 1-gallon bucket. You can use a bigger bucket if you have a large garden/plantation. Since our space is limited for gardening, a 1-gallon bucket is sufficient for us.
- Fill the bucket with water and keep it closed for 5 to 7 days. This gives the water enough time to break down the nutrients in your bunny’s poop to make liquid fertilizer. It is also advisable to open it up once a day to stir the solution. This practice helps to break down the rabbit poop more efficiently and equally.
- Use the liquid fertilizer to water your plants. After 5 to 7 days of soaking and mixing, the color of the liquid in the bucket will be a little darker than clear. This is when the nutrients have successfully mixed with the water. We like to fill a spray bottle with this liquid and gently spray down leaves or the stem of the plant with it.
3. Compost it
Composting rabbit poop is best if you want to make sure that the fertilizer provided to your plant is 100% safe. Composting allows the rabbit manure to be free of harmful pathogens and potential unwanted worms (tapeworm). We recommend composting if you do farming to sell as this method guarantees the safety of the fertilizer.
Since we don’t do much composting, we hope you can take our composting guide with a grain of salt. We only composted our rabbit poop once as we can’t bear the smell and hygiene. But that one time did give us a good batch of tomatoes!
Composting time may vary depending on the size of your pile/bin. Other factors such as humidity and sun exposure contribute to the composting time as well. Generally, you will want to wait at least 3 months for a smaller pile and up to 1 year for a larger pile. We used an old rubbish bin for composting so the scale of it is considered small. The compost was ready to be used after 3 months.
What you need
- Rabbit poop
- Composting materials (leaves, cut grass, uneaten hay, kitchen waste)
- Worms (Red Wiggler)
How to compost rabbit poop
- Mix rabbit poop with composting materials. We recommend an equal amount of rabbit poop with an equal amount of composting material (1:1 ratio).
- Water the compost pile/bin with adequate water. The term “adequate” means just about enough. Overwatering the bin will cause mold to form as it is too damp and underwatering may slow down the composting process as the humidity is not there.
- Cover pile with a tarp or the bin with a lid. After everything is ready, make sure you keep it covered and place it under the sun. The sun will heat the compost and condensation will occur. This helps maintain the humidity and moisture level of the compost.
- Turn the pile/bin every 2 weeks. Turning the pile/bin every 2 weeks ensure that every part of the compost gets an equal amount of oxygen. The movement helps open up air pockets for oxygen to penetrate. Oxygen enriches the microbes in your compost pile. Also, now is a good time to check the humidity and moisture of the compost. Add water if necessary.
- Introduce worms to compost pile/bin. After letting the compost pile/bin stabilize for amount 6 weeks, it is time to introduce some worms to it. Introducing worms like red wiggler to your compost can speed up the composting process as red wigglers are known to eat up to half of their body weight of waste every day!
Having worms in your compost pile/bin also is not necessary but it is beneficial for your compost. Some benefit includes improving the air circulation in your compost with their tunneling and increasing the nutrient richness of the compost.
- Use compost when it is ready. Once your compost achieves a rich and dark in colored look. It is ready to be used! Another telltale sign is that your compost doesn’t smell like a rotten vegetable! Some of the ways of using the compost are by mulching, sprinkling it on top, or mixing it in with soil. Choose the right method for your planting style and enjoy!
Should you burrow rabbit poop when using as fertilizer?
There are times when you wouldn’t want to sprinkle your rabbit’s poop all over your garden. The reasons can either be something strategic or preferences. Here are some reasons why you would want to choose to burrow your rabbit poop over sprinkling on top.
1. You grow crop that naturally attracts many pest
If you are growing crops like tomatoes, you may want to burrow the rabbit poop instead. Rabbit poop can sometimes attract bugs and this may add more problems to your already pest-prone crop. Not only that, you will most likely be using some sort of pesticide if you have these kinds of crops. You wouldn’t want the pesticide mist to touch your rabbit poop fertilizer!
2. Rainy Season
During rainy seasons, we always choose to burrow our rabbit poop than leave it out on top. Too much water and a shaded environment may cause the rabbit poop to develop mold. Moldy poop is quite awful to look at and it may attract unwanted insects. We once had a bunch of clumped-up rabbit poop develop mold and the area was filled with flies!
3. Aesthetic Purposes
Sometimes it’s up to personal preferences whether you want to burrow or sprinkle rabbit poop. Burrowing it makes your potted plant look neat and clean. It is best suited for indoor plants as burrowing provides extra hygiene and cleanliness.
Rabbit poops are very Rabbit poops are very good fertilizers. Treat a rabbit well, and it will reward you with their super fertilizers. Use the fertilizer well and generate much more leafy greens to feed your rabbit. It’s a never-ending cycle!