Composting Rabbit Droppings

Did you know: rabbit droppings make great fertilizer. In the wild, rabbit’s droppings would be scattered over the ground they are grazing, fertilizing it and encouraging future plant growth. So, instead of throwing bags of waste in the bin I take advantage of all the poop (they certainly produce plenty of it!) and use it to make my flowers grow better and to grow some giant vegetables.

Not only is recycling your rabbit’s poop great for your garden it means less waste going to landfill (most councils won’t except rabbit waste for composting/recycling), and reduces your carbon foot print (less waste transported) and, if the government does decide to carry out their threats of charging by the bin full, it could even save you money!

How to Compost

You don’t need a lot of space to compost. My compost bin is about 2′ square and tucked out the way behind a tree. The compost bin needs to sit on bare earth so the worms can wriggle up inside. Compost bins don’t usually have bottoms so the worms can get in and excess water can drain out. You can buy basic compost bins quite cheaply or your local council may even provide them free of charge or at a discount. They don’t need to  be anything fancy, you can even build your own. Wooden pallets are the traditional solution, just nail four together to make a square.

The whole contents of your rabbit’s litter tray can be composted including the litter and hay. Wood shavings take longer to compost so, if you don’t already, you might want to consider paper based cat litter. You can also compost any chewed up paper and cardboard – it will actually compost better for having been pre-shredded by a bunny!

I also throw in any other compostable waste too like tea bags, vegetable scraps unsuitable for bunnies, fallen leaves, old flowers, cardboard and grass cuttings.

And the result:

Beautiful Compost!

Beautiful Compost!

No Compost Bin?

Rabbits droppings are superdupa because they can be used straight on your garden, though you will want to separate out any bedding and litter. In hot weather spreading the droppings over the ground can also mean they dry out instead of breaking down so give them a water or spread them before rain is forecast.  You can also bury/dig them in to help them break down more quickly. I buried loads under my runner bean and squash plants last year whilst waiting for the composting poop to mature.  They are also the perfect chemical free completely rabbit safe lawn feed – just sprinkle them on! Alternative no. 3, is making compost tea. Leave poop to soak in water for a few days and then water your plants with the resulting tea.

If you don’t have the garden, space, or inclination to muck about composting your rabbits droppings yourself why not ask around your friends, neighbours or local allotment society and see if anyone would like your spare poop. No really, rabbit droppings are prized amongst the green-fingered crowd!

For more advice of the practical aspects of making good compost try the Recycle Now website.

Seal of Approval

Composting certainly gets a Scamp seal of approval.

Wait, so I just poop a lot and it makes snacks bigger than me!

Wait, so I just poop a lot and it makes snacks bigger than me!

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19 Responses to “Composting Rabbit Droppings”

  1. Diana says:

    I always do this! My garden is truly a ‘circle of life.’ Poop comes out bunnies, goes into ground, food comes up, goes into bunnies and so on!

  2. wendy says:

    I am very lucky that my council takes our rabbit waste away, we have a concrete yard!

  3. Enmee says:

    This is such a good idea. How long does it take for droppings to compost? Since the garden is my mother’s, I will have to check with her first. I did notice that our grass looked better a week after my rabbits grazed on it.

    • Tamsin says:

      It really depends on how you do it. They compost in a bin quicker in summer when it’s warm, but spread on the ground will take a long time if it’s hot and dry. Dig them in damp soil and it can just be a month as the worm will mix them in quick.

  4. Mackenzie says:

    I want to make myself some compost “tea” from my bun’s poop for my potted veggies, since I rent and thus can’t have a bin =[

    do you know what a good water/poop ratio is?

    • Tamsin says:

      I’m not sure if there is a consensus on that. Some people add a lot of poop and dilute, others less to start with. I’d try an inch or two of poop in the bottom of a bucket of water.

      The other option is to just add enough water for them to soak it up and turn to mush and spread that about. They’ll work in quicker that way.

  5. Sue says:

    Wild bunnies
    I have been really interested in your blogs as I too have wild bunnies so it has been really nice to see how Scamp behaves. I was given 3 at around 1-2 weeks old and read as much as I could about caring for them. One was burnt from a fire and I intended to only keep them until the fire area was extinguished. Unfortunately the deep snow came and stayed four weeks and they were too tame. Everything I read advised it was too late to expect them to cope in the wild. Surprisingly all 3 lived and are happily eating their way through our conservatory! They have a 2 storey hutch and run but come out for a few hours each night and are very hard to get back in hutch. I need to move them outside in more appropriate housing and want to go for hutch in shed with attached run. With your experience, do you think any kind of wooden construction will keep them in or are they destined for freedom? They are about 6 months now, all girls and juhst lovely. Bit skinny though! Any advice?

    • Tamsin says:

      Scamp is certainly a good chewer. I don’t think wood on it’s own would work but you could certainly go for a wooden construction and then line the bottom 2′ with weld mesh to prevent chewing. A shed with an aviary or run would definitely suit them. Keep in mind the floor will need lining with mesh too or they’ll dig out. I’d be tempted to either bury the mesh a bit so they could still dig or put the mesh down and then add a pile of soil for digging.

      I imagine Scamp’s a little tamer because I had him that little bit younger and he’s not got other rabbits to learn rabbit behaviour with. His instincts are useless, he just wondered up to our cat and sniffed her the first time he saw her.

      I do recall someone with a group of wild rabbits in an outdoor enclosure on the forum I run: I can’t remember their username but if you post I’m sure someone will know.

  6. Daiva says:

    I never separate bedding from the manure. Even if wood shavings are used, urine makes up for the nitrogen loss, and they break down quickly. I actually like them, because they work as a mulch, if spread thickly.

  7. Crystal Martinez says:

    I have been using the litter directly from the litter box into the pot as a soil substitute Plants are growing fine but the pot is completely overrun with red ants. How do I get rid of them & prevent them in the future ? I’m using the food for my bunnies.

  8. Hi

    I am promoting organic farming in rural communities of western Uganda and some parts of Rwanda.
    Rabbit droppings and urine are helping us to improve the soils.
    Is there any advice you can give us to help our rural farmers produce good and healthy food?

    • Tamsin says:

      Hi Alphonse,

      That sounds like an interesting project. Rabbit’s are great at processing food with low nutrition value like grass, so if you don’t already I’d advise avoiding commercial food for the rabbits and feeding them grass or hay instead. This is good for their gut so will keep them healthier and should produce good droppings for composting. If you are able to source grass/hay locally it also makes keeping the rabbits cheaper.

      Depending on the crops you grow it may also be possible to feed parts not used for humans to the rabbits, which is a much quicker process than composting them directly. For example here carrots are a common crop and the humans would eat the root and the rabbits can eat the tops which would usually be discarded or composted. If you are hand weeding, you could also investigate whether any of the common weeds or naturally growing plants removed are safe for rabbits to consume. There may also be bye products from other industries, for example prunings of leaves/branches of trees/bushes from some fruit producers can be fed to rabbits – here it would be things like apple, raspberry, strawberry and blackberry. Again these are a low cost source of food, that rabbits can quickly convert into droppings that can be used for soil improvement.

      I don’t know what sort of plants and crops would grow in those areas so you’d need to investigate that aspect more to check what’s safe for rabbits to eat – not everything is for example foliage from the potato family is poisonous.

      I hope that helps

  9. I live in KZN, and have friends with over 600 rabbits and am busy making compost but need to know a quicker method of doing this.
    Iwant to know a fair price per kg to sell fresh droppings per kg that is salable but not unaffordable.

    Living in SA, we are currently in a recession, but want to help gdners all round with the affordability of the rabbit manure. Suggestions please.

    Dve fairweather. Howick, KZN, SA.

    • Tamsin says:

      Rabbit droppings can be used fresh and don’t need composting. You can maximise the dropping production by feeding a healthy hay or grass based diet and providing plenty of space for the rabbits to move around.

      If you want to compost the droppings (or soiled hay and bedding), the quickest method is using a compost tumbler rather than pile – if you google this you’ll find instructions and you can make your own version using large plastic drums. The frequent rotating of the compost contained in the drum speeds up the decomposition.

      I can’t help you with price as that will be a very localised decision. Look at the other compost available in your area and it’s quality and price in line with that.

  10. Thank you Tamsin, your reply much appreciated.

    We have lots of compost beds , but need rain to actify, although we try to water in our dry winter and early spring here in SA. We are trying to sieve older hay compost to get at the rabbit droppings, hoping to get back some labour costs.

    I am trying to charge R10 per kg. our conversion rate is roughly R17.00 to your dollar.

    I realise that like rabbit meat we need to educate our population to it,s value, but we now live in recession with all our political problems.

    Many Thks for your great articles.

    Kind regards,
    Dve fairweather.

  11. Lena says:

    I am using rabbit droppings in my garden. Over the winter they used a lot of straw for insulation in their hutches. The straw I used was from the local tractor supply and may have had some live wheat seeds in it. My question is, I am trying to do an organic garden and I’m worried the straw or hay may have been treated with a commercial fertilizer. Is it okay to compost and put on an organic garden?

    • Tamsin says:

      It would depend how strict you want to be. I don’t think there is an official definition. Personally I would use it as I wouldn’t like wasting it. If you aren’t comfortable with it you could always ask the supplier about the farm it came from and see if they know or you could always pass it on to another gardener with a compost.

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