Want to grow a bountiful organic garden yet avoid chemical fertilizers? The solution may be hopping right in your backyard. Rabbit manure is one of the best natural fertilizers you can use. This soft, pelleted poop contains an ideal blend of nutrients to nourish vegetables, flowers, trees, and more. Rabbit droppings promote lush foliage growth, abundant blooms, and large harvests thanks to their rich nitrogen content. Best of all, this all-natural fertilizer is renewable and free if you have backyard bunnies. Their manure output can easily feed even large gardens. In this article, learn how using rabbit poop can help you grow a thriving organic garden that produces impressive results.
Is Rabbit Poop Good Manure for the Garden?
Rabbit manure is an excellent organic fertilizer for the home garden. As an all-natural product, rabbit poop offers a safe way to provide nutrients to your plants without chemicals. Rabbit manure has several benefits that make it a prized material among gardeners:
It's high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – three of the macronutrients plants need to thrive. The NPK ratio is ideal for nourishing vegetables, flowers, trees, and more.
It breaks down quickly in the soil. The nutrients from rabbit droppings become readily available to plant roots within a few weeks after application.
It doesn't burn plants. Rabbit manure has low salinity levels compared to some other animal manures. This makes it gentler on plant roots and soil life.
It conditions the soil. In addition to providing essential nutrients, rabbit pellets add valuable organic matter to the soil. This improves soil structure and moisture retention.
It promotes helpful microbes. The organic matter in rabbit droppings feeds earthworms, beneficial bacteria, and other soil organisms. These microbes keep your soil healthy.
It's easy to compost. Rabbit manure contains less woody material than manure from large livestock. This makes it break down rapidly into an excellent compost or vermicompost.
It's renewable and free. As long as you have backyard rabbits, you'll have a steady supply this natural fertilizer at no cost. Their manure production can easily keep up with the demands of a large garden.
For these reasons, savvy gardeners recommend rabbit droppings as one of the best organic fertilizers you can use. Rabbit pellets give your plants a gentle yet effective feeding that also enriches and enlivens the soil. If you want to grow robust vegetables and beautiful flowers organically, rabbit poop is a prime choice for fertilizer.
Rabbit Manure NPK Values vs. Other Manures
To understand the fertilizer value of rabbit manure, it helps to look at its NPK ratios. NPK stands for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), the three macronutrients that plants need in relatively large amounts. Here's how the typical NPK percentages of rabbit manure compare to other manures:
Nitrogen is key for lush, green growth in plants. It stimulates leaf growth and gives foliage a healthy dark color. Rabbit manure has an NPK of 2.4% nitrogen, 1.4% phosphorus, and .6% potassium. This N value is on par with sheep and goat manure, and higher than cow manure. Chicken manure has a significantly higher nitrogen content at 3-4%.
Phosphorus promotes robust root growth, flower and fruit production, and vitality in plants. The phosphorus level of 1.4% in rabbit droppings is comparable to sheep and horse manure. Goat manure is a bit higher at 2%, while chicken manure also has an exceptionally high phosphorus content of 2-5%.
Potassium (also called potash) helps plants form sturdy stems and stalks, increases disease resistance, and boosts fruit quality. Rabbit manure has a potassium content of .6%, which is lower than other animal manures. Sheep and goat manure have a potassium content of 1-2%, while horse and chicken manure may have over 2% potassium.
In summary, rabbit droppings have an ideal balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for fertilizing a broad range of plants. The phosphorus and potassium levels are moderate, providing a gentle feeding. But the generous nitrogen content in rabbit manure gives plants a good boost of leafy growth. This well-rounded NPK profile makes rabbit poop an excellent all-purpose organic fertilizer for the home garden.
How To Use Rabbit Poop In Your Garden
It's easy to put all that fertility from your rabbits to work in your garden. Here are some simple ways to make the most of their manure:
From Pan to Garden (Direct Method)
For immediate results, you can apply fresh rabbit droppings directly around your plants. Collect the poop from your rabbits' cages or hutches and scatter it lightly around the base of plants. Mixing in a small amount of shredded leaves, straw, or other bedding material can reduce burning risk.
This direct fertilizing method works well for established trees, shrubs, vegetable plants, and perennials that need a nitrogen boost. The manure will break down rapidly, releasing a flush of nutrients within a few weeks.
Composting Rabbit Poop
You can also build up an excellent supply of garden compost by adding rabbit droppings to your compost pile or compost bin. The small rabbit pellets will decompose quickly, heating up and converting to rich, crumbly compost in 4-6 weeks.
Use this rabbit manure compost to nourish your vegetable garden, enrich flower beds, or make potting soil for containers. Composting the manure before use moderates and extends the nutrient release.
Giving Transplants a Boost
When transplanting seedlings or potted plants into the garden, give them a boost by adding some rabbit manure to the planting holes. Mix a few handfuls of fresh rabbit droppings or aged compost into the soil at the bottom of the planting holes before setting in the transplants.
Rabbit Manure Tea For Larger Harvests
You can make a liquid plant food by steeping rabbit droppings in water. Fill a burlap sack or an old pillowcase with fresh rabbit poop and suspend it in a bucket of water for a few days. Dilute this nutritious "tea" with water and use it to fertilize garden beds, containers, or seedlings. The quick nitrogen release from the tea promotes lush foliage and larger harvests.
Food For Worms
Rabbit manure makes excellent food for composting worms. Vermicomposting is an easy, odor-free way to convert rabbit droppings into incredibly rich worm castings. The castings contain higher levels of plant-available nutrients than regular compost. Feed your worm bin with rabbit manure and some vegetable scraps, and your garden will enjoy the “black gold” worm castings.
How Much Rabbit Manure Can I Use In My Garden?
It's possible to overdo it with organic fertilizers – even gentle ones like rabbit manure. Using too much can burn plants and damage soil life. Here are some guidelines on safe application rates:
As a top-dressing around established plants, apply rabbit manure at a rate of no more than 1/4 cup per square foot, and work it into the top 1-2 inches of soil. For trees, scatter it lightly under the drip line.
When making potting soil for containers, limit rabbit manure to no more than 20% of the total volume. Any more may be too strong for delicate transplants. Mix the rabbit poop thoroughly into potting soil blends.
Making Your Own Potting Mix
For homemade potting mixes, a good rule of thumb is:
- 1 part rabbit manure
- 1 part garden soil or compost
- 1 part peat moss or coco coir
Blend these ingredients thoroughly before potting up plants.
Some precautions apply when using rabbit manure as fertilizer:
Allow fresh manure to age for at least 3 months before using on edible plants, to avoid risk of pathogens.
Keep rabbit droppings and soils containing manure away from edible plant parts, to practice good hygiene.
Water in freshly applied manure to prevent burning plant roots and foliage.
As long as you apply rabbit manure in recommended amounts, compost it before using on vegetables, and follow good hygienic practices, it is a very safe organic fertilizer that brings excellent results. The ideal NPK ratios combined with gentle nutrient release makes rabbit poop a prized amendment for nurturing thriving, productive gardens.