Forget chicken manure – rabbit poop is the new superstar fertilizer for your vegetable and flower gardens! This free, organic fertilizer packs a powerful punch when it comes to nourishing plants and boosting harvests. Loaded with nitrogen, potassium, and other essential nutrients, rabbit manure outperforms many other manures. From boosting transplants and making manure “tea” to vermicomposting, there are myriad ways rabbit poop can supercharge your garden. Curious? Read on to unlock the secrets of using this underrated fertilizer to get bigger, better harvests from lush, healthy plants! We’ll explore how rabbit manure provides slow-release nutrition, ideal NPK values, and tips for safe application. Let’s hop to it!
Is Rabbit Poop Good Manure for the Garden?
Rabbit manure is an excellent organic fertilizer for the home garden. As herbivores, rabbits produce waste that is higher in nutrients than the waste of carnivorous animals. Their poop contains nutrients that are readily available for plants to absorb. Using rabbit manure in the garden can help condition soil, provide vital nutrients, and boost plant growth and yields.
There are several benefits to using rabbit manure as a fertilizer:
It's rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients that are essential for plant growth. The high nitrogen content in particular makes rabbit manure ideal for leafy greens and vegetables.
Rabbit poop releases nutrients slowly over time. This provides a gentle, steady feeding for plants without the risk of burn that can happen with chemical fertilizers if overapplied.
It contains beneficial microorganisms that help break down organic matter in the soil. This improves soil structure and nutrient availability.
Rabbit manure is milder than most other animal manures. It has a low salt content and is less likely to burn plants.
It's readily available and free if you have backyard rabbits. Collecting rabbit pellets takes little effort compared to other manures.
Rabbit manure is weed-free and seed-free. It will not introduce unwanted plants or pathogens into the garden.
It can be applied fresh or composted. Fresh rabbit poop provides more readily available nitrogen, while composted rabbit manure provides more stable nutrition over a longer period.
The main drawback to using rabbit manure is that it has a relatively low phosphorus content compared to other animal manures. However, for most gardens the phosphorus level is sufficient when used in combination with a balanced organic fertilizer.
Overall, rabbit manure is an excellent organic addition to any garden. It's safe, mild, easy to use and provides a slow, steady release of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients for optimal plant growth. Any gardener with access to rabbit manure would benefit from taking advantage of this free, nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Rabbit Manure NPK Values vs. Other Manures
All animal manures contain the three major nutrients plants need – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). These nutrients are referred to as NPK values. Here is how the typical NPK values of rabbit manure compare to other common manures:
- Rabbit manure: 2.4% N
- Chicken manure: 1.1-1.8% N
- Horse manure: 0.7% N
- Cow manure: 0.6% N
- Sheep manure: 0.7% N
- Pig manure: 0.5% N
Rabbit manure has the highest nitrogen content among common manures. The relatively high nitrogen makes rabbit manure especially good for leafy greens and vegetables that need a lot of nitrogen.
- Chicken manure: 1.4% P
- Pig manure: 0.5-1% P
- Cow manure: 0.3% P
- Horse manure: 0.3% P
- Sheep manure: 0.3% P
- Rabbit manure: 0.4% P
For phosphorus, rabbit manure is on the lower end, similar to sheep and horse manure. While rabbit manure can provide sufficient phosphorus for many plants, you may need to supplement with additional phosphorus fertilizer for plants with high phosphorus needs.
- Rabbit manure: 1.4% K
- Chicken manure: 1.5% K
- Horse manure: 1.2% K
- Pig manure: 0.5-1% K
- Cow manure: 0.5% K
- Sheep manure: 0.9% K
Rabbit manure contains a good amount of potassium, similar to levels found in chicken and horse manure. Potassium supports plants' overall hardiness and disease resistance.
So in summary, the key nutrient advantages of rabbit manure are its high nitrogen content and good potassium levels. Just be aware it is lower in phosphorus than other manures. Supplementing occasionally with a phosphorus fertilizer is recommended for phosphorus-demanding plants.
How To Use Rabbit Poop In Your Garden
There are several ways you can make the most of rabbit manure's fertilizing capabilities in your garden:
From Pan to Garden (Direct Method)
The simplest method is to collect the rabbit poop and transfer it directly to the garden beds or containers where it will be used. Some key tips:
Use a shovel or trowel to scoop out the rabbit pellets from the litter pan. Avoid getting litter/bedding mixed in.
For vegetables, sprinkle 1 cup of fresh rabbit manure per 10 square feet of garden space and mix into the top 2-3 inches of soil.
For flowering plants, use 1/2 cup per 10 square feet of garden space. Flowers are more sensitive to the high nitrogen content.
Apply every 2-3 months during the growing season to provide a steady feeding.
Water the rabbit manure into the soil after applying to prevent nitrogen loss.
Don't overapply – rabbit manure is fairly concentrated compared to other manures. Too much can burn plants.
Composting Rabbit Poop
Composting rabbit manure for several months before using allows the nutrients to stabilize and become more bioavailable to plants.
Collect the rabbit pellets and mix into a compost pile or bin along with yard waste, leaves and vegetable scraps. Tumbler composters speed up the process.
Turn the compost as needed to aerate the pile. Moisture should be similar to a wrung-out sponge.
In 4-6 months the manure will turn into a dark, crumbly, sweet-smelling compost that can be mixed into garden beds.
Composted rabbit manure will provide nutrients over a longer period of time compared to fresh manure.
Giving Transplants a Boost
When potting up vegetable and flower seedlings to transplant into the garden, mix a small amount of rabbit manure into the potting soil. This gives young plants an extra dose of nutrients for vigorous growth after transplanting.
Mix 1 part fresh rabbit manure with 3 parts potting soil.
For each transplant, add 1-2 teaspoons of this mix to the bottom of the planting hole before setting in the plant.
Water transplants well after planting to avoid fertilizer burn.
Rabbit Manure Tea For Larger Harvests
Steeping rabbit manure in water creates a nourishing "manure tea" that provides soluble nutrients plants can readily absorb through their leaves and roots.
Fill a 5 gallon bucket about halfway with fresh rabbit pellets. Top off with water.
Let it steep for 2-4 weeks, stirring occasionally. The longer it steeps, the more concentrated the mix becomes.
Dilute the end product with water to make a mild tea. A good general ratio is 1 part manure tea to 5 parts water.
Use the rabbit manure tea to water plants once every 2-3 weeks in place of regular watering. The foliar feeding gives plants a nutrient boost.
Food For Worms
Vermicomposting with red wiggler worms is an easy way to turn rabbit manure into a ready-to-use amendment. The worm castings contain more concentrated nutrients than the original manure.
Keep rabbit pellets in a covered worm bin, providing moisture and adding vegetable scraps.
Harvest the worm castings after 2-3 months and apply to garden beds or use for potting mix.
The rabbit manure helps feed the worms while the worms transform the manure into concentrated plant food!
How Much Rabbit Manure Can I Use In My Garden?
Rabbit manure is typically safe to apply liberally, but too much of any fertilizer can still burn plants. Follow these guidelines for best results:
When applying rabbit manure as a top dressing:
1 cup per 10 sq ft is a good general guideline for vegetables
1/2 cup per 10 sq ft for flowers
Mix into just the top 2-3 inches of soil
Repeat every 2-3 months through the growing season
No more than 1 teaspoon per 1 gallon pot
1 tablespoon per 5 gallon pot
Mix thoroughly into potting soil before planting
Making Your Own Potting Mix
If making your own potting mix:
10% or less rabbit manure by volume
Mix manure with compost, peat moss, perlite and vermiculite for a nutrient-rich, fluffy texture
A few precautions when using rabbit manure:
Don't overapply – start small and increase slowly
Keep it away from plant stems and crowns to prevent burn
Wait 2 months after applying fresh manure before harvesting edibles
Wash vegetables well before eating if grown in manured soil
With proper application, rabbit manure can be a wonderful organic addition to the home garden! Follow the dosage guidelines for best results. Your plants will respond with vigorous growth, more blooms and increased yields.
Rabbit manure is an often overlooked but very effective organic fertilizer for the garden. As a mild, nutrient-rich animal manure, rabbit poop contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients that provide slow-release nourishment to plants.
With proper use, rabbit manure conditions soil, boosts plant growth and can lead to larger harvests of vegetables and more beautiful flowers. It can be applied directly or composted, used to start transplants or make “manure tea”, fed to worms, and more. While relatively low in phosphorus, rabbit manure is typically adequate for most garden plant's nutrient needs. Any gardener with access to this free fertilizer can benefit their garden by taking advantage of rabbit poop's fertilizing power.