Bunny honey: Using rabbit manure as a fertilizer
Looking for an organic, small round, pelleted form of fertilizer? Consider using fresh rabbit manure.
September 1, 2016 - Author: Dixie Sandborn, Michigan State University Extension
Are you looking for an organic, small round, pelleted form of fertilizer? Look no further than a pet rabbit or two. Fresh rabbit manure is approximately 2 percent nitrogen, 1 percent phosphorus and 1 percent potassium. Use it fresh, straight from under the hutch. It does not burn plants. Use the pellets to topdress your lawn, mulch roses, vegetables, flower beds and ornamental plantings, or supercharge your compost pile and create an earthworm heaven.
One Michigan 4-H'er has had a booming business selling his “bunny honey.” As a young entrepreneur, Jack has found a way to cash in on what many would consider a waste product. Jack knew some gardeners that wanted a natural fertilizer. He also wanted to make a little money to help pay for the rabbit feed for his 4-H rabbit project. Bunny honey was the answer.
“Feeding my rabbits costs money. Selling their manure to help make gardens grow just makes sense. I get coffee cans, ice cream pails and buckets to fill and sell the bunny honey. It helps to cover my feed costs,” said Jack. “Your garden will grow better with bunny honey from the hoppin' hotel!”
Here are a few facts about rabbit manure:
- Rabbit manure has four times more nutrients than cow or horse manure and is twice as rich as chicken manure. Cow, horse and chicken manure are considered “hot” and need to be composted (well-rotted) to use as fertilizers.
- One of the best things about rabbit manure is it doesn’t need to be composted.
- Rabbit manure is organic matter and improves poor soil structure, drainage and moisture retention.
- It improves the life cycle of microorganisms in the soil.
- Worms love rabbit manure.
- It is not as smelly as other manures and is easy to handle.
- One doe and her offspring can produce a ton of manure in one year. That’s a lot of bunny honey.
- Rabbit manure is packed with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, minerals and micronutrients.
- It contains beneficial trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, boron, zinc, manganese, sulfur, copper and cobalt, just to name a few.
- Nitrogen (N). Rabbit manure is higher in nitrogen than sheep, goat, chicken, cow or horse manure. Plants need nitrogen to produce strong green growth.
- Phosphorus (P). Rabbit manure is also higher in phosphorus than the other manures. It helps with the transformation of solar energy to chemical energy. Phosphorus also helps plants to withstand stress and contributes to more and bigger blossoms, and is great for root growth.
- Potassium (K). Potassium helps with fruit quality and reducing disease; plants will not grow without it.
If you would like to use bunny honey, look no further than your local Michigan State University Extension 4-H program. I am sure there will be a 4-Her that would be happy to supply you with this fantastic alternative to your fertilizer needs. You will have a lush garden, happy 4-H friend and leave a smaller environmental footprint.