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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone raised rabbits just for the manure? If so, what kind of rabbit breeds did you use? I thought about getting a few rabbits so rabbit manure could be added to the garden and compost bins.

A lady I work with likes the Flemish Giant, she says they are friendly and crap a lot.

I have an idea for a dual purpose garden / chicken yard.

Here is a rough diagram of the chicken yard / garden.



Somewhere inside that diagram I would add the rabbit shed, which would be a three sided shed with rabbit boxes.

The chickens would have access to one side of the yard for 1 year. Then close the door at the coop and open the other side of the yard to the chickens. This would give the chicken and rabbit manure several months to compost.

During the year the chickens are using the garden, I would be working on the raised beds as compost piles.
 

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MOLON LABE!
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We raise our rabbits mainly for meat, although there is the added side effect of having a great organic fertilizer that has no need to "season."

Our rabbit pen is roughly 8'X12', easy enough to rake up the rabbit crap, along with the stuff they don't eat, and toss it in the garden.

In every mound I built to plant a tomato plant in this year, I added a full cup of rabbit crap and then planted the 'maters on top. We have cherry tomatoes that are bigger than golf balls! Same thing with the Walla Walla sweet onions, lay rabbit crap down in the furrow, then plant the onions on top of the slightly covered crap, and now I have Walla Walla Sweets that won't fit in a 8" stovepipe!

We have Rex, Californians and a couple of crosses.


(Just reread your post, Kev, Rabbit Manure does not need to season! lay it down fresh and it won't "burn" your plants like chicken/horse/cow manure will)
 

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Subterranean Nut Hoarder
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We do. I'll make a few observations that have worked/not worked for me. Just my opinions. YMMV

I have wire cages mounted on the fence, with 55 gallon drums cut lengthwise set underneath to catch the poo/pee. I also ran a sheet of plastic roofing along the fence behind the cages to protect the wooden fence from pee because they tend to go to the edge of the cage to urinate and it can trash a fence fast.

1. The best cages for rabbits are all wire. (assumming you aren't planning on just keeping them on the ground inside a fence anyway) They chew wood and pee all over it and after a few years your wood framed cages will fall apart. The wire ones are easy to build. I made a 2x8 ft one in the kitchen on the floor. The Mr was not real thrilled but hey, it was hot outside.

2. There's a downside to keeping rabbits on wire and that is wire sores on their paws and hocks. These can get downright nasty, becoming ulcerated abscesses that refuse to heal as long as the rabbit is on the wire. I have three outstanding ex-show Californians who were given to me because they developed bad ulcers and their breeder only has wire cages. It took 2 months on the ground in a bottomless pen to heal their legs up. This leads to #3.

3. Flemish Giants are awesome bunnies, very laid back and make great pets. I want one to have as a house bunny. However, their weight makes them poor choices to put on wire. Even some of my Californians are too heavy to put on wire and I had to cull a few for chronic hock sores.

If all you want is the poop, go with something small like Dutch or Lops. They won't have near the problems being on wire that the bigger breeds do, they won't require as much space, and brother they poop as much as anything.

You don't need to age the poop either. Bunny crap is a cold manure. I just dump the turd barrels directly onto the garden and flowerbeds.
 

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I went with Angoras. They are big rabbits and good poop producers. They are still dual purpose as fiber animals. My french don't need shearing as they shed naturally, so the only extra work is brushing weekly...or more often if they are shedding. (They are also best kept on wire to keep their wool clean, they are fine on it with their feet padded with extra fur.)
 

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Wow thanks for the thread I didnt know that about rabbits I have also been thinking about getting a few.

Thats a dandy pen makeing a sugestion though if you put the coop in the middle at 25' 50' you could devide it into 4 sections allowing you to use 3 for gardening maybe putting corn tomato's squash or other large growing plants. then build a coradoor with fence on both sides to allow access to the pen.
 

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Getting There!
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I like that pen design. I'd think it easier without raised boxes as far as tilling and tending goes.

Depending on which crops are grown the chickens could be allowed in to eat bugs and grasses a part of the growing season.

Corn might work well. The soil would be high in nitrogen after a season or two and the fenced would keep ***** out.

Beans might do well, but if there was too much nitrogen peas would just make lush foliage and no peas.

In the fall it could be planted in clover and rye grass to provide the chickens and rabbits some greens to eat. Good idea!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you're not interested in the meat then WHY raise rabbits? Just toss whatever you would feed them on the compost pile. Plant cover and nitrogen fixing crops.
That is a good question and suggestion.

With chickens, my wife and I get an egg about everyday, or every-other day. With 13 chickens we get around 7 - 10 eggs a day.

With rabbits, what do you get everyday? Poop. What is poop good for? Fertilizer.

Lets say that I was raising rabbits for meat, how much time and effort would I have to put into the rabbits before they would be ready to butcher?
 

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Rabbits can be butchered small at 12 weeks. They are real tender at 12 weeks. My New Zealand Whites are 4 to 5 pounds at 16 weeks and I like them at 5 pounds. 3 to 4 months makes for a good eater. KF:thumb:
 

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Silly question here, but what do you feed rabbits?

Can you just give them grass, or do you have to buy feed?

I've been somewhat toying over the idea of getting rabbits for the sole purpose of their poop for the garden. I'm not much of a meat guy, so there's no interest there. I have about 50 birds (mostly chickens, with a few ducks and guineas) and with the amount of feed they go through I don't want to add more mouths to the rosters.
 

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I've been somewhat toying over the idea of getting rabbits for the sole purpose of their poop for the garden. I'm not much of a meat guy, so there's no interest there. I have about 50 birds (mostly chickens, with a few ducks and guineas) and with the amount of feed they go through I don't want to add more mouths to the rosters.
Are your birds free ranging? That helps greatly if you can keep them safe.

I bought a deer feeder on closeout and use it to feed metered amounts of feed to supplement the bugs and grasses.

But yeah, their metabolism is so high they will eat as much as they can get. Broiler houses keep lights on to keep them eating around the clock.
 

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Inglorious Deplorable
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I would think that the idea to raise rabbits would be supported by the following needs/options:

1: You have some waste greens that rabbits can eat, reducing the amount of feed that needs to be purchased.
2: You have a use for the everyday byproducts, be that poop or eggs (like the chickens).
3: You have a use for the endgame that will produce more value than any feed that is purchased.

Buy $25 of feed over a quarter and get $40 of meet plus you have a pile of fertilizer and the XYZ weeds have been eaten. Every step supports the next step. Every step adds to your profit.

If you are just looking for fertilizer, I bet you can get a truckload from a dairy farm for $35.
 

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You can also put your cages over worm boxes. Rabbit manure will feed the worms and you can sell the worms and the castings.
 

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Anarchist/Animist Primate
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If you're not interested in the meat then WHY raise rabbits? Just toss whatever you would feed them on the compost pile. Plant cover and nitrogen fixing crops.
The advantage to the bunny poo is that you can put it directly into your garden and it's already composted. The bunny food would have to be composted first.

And of course in a crisis if you wanted to change over to meat production, it would be quite easy, and you'd still have your fertilizer.
 

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Some sources say that with proper management a breeding pair can be parlayed into 350 pounds of meat per year. Now consider the conversion rate of feed to meat, better than 2 tons of feed... Clearly "grazing" would be preferable to feeding...
 

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Some sources say that with proper management a breeding pair can be parlayed into 350 pounds of meat per year. Now consider the conversion rate of feed to meat, better than 2 tons of feed... Clearly "grazing" would be preferable to feeding...
Point being a pile of dandelions has little to no value in even a shtf situation but a fully fed rabbit might. Kev I'm looking into a urban setup that wont mess with my "landscape" for the same reason. Just a example but we over built a bunny hutch for six show mini lops for 4-H as a kid. With a no dropping pan setup it was a forever pile of droppings and a source for worms for everyday fishing. Dropping got used by our garden and friends that came by. Worms could easily be converted to your chickens.
 

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I just saw this idea, and it blew my mind. This lady has built a chicken coop that fits right on top of her garden boxes...I think she does the same for her rabbits. she just rotates the coop over the boxes as needed, and the animals till the soil and add their manure, so no work for you! Just be sure to line the bottom of your boxes with chicken wire so they can't dig out.


its around the 2:25 mark.


I'm thinking of doing this for my garden (still in the planning stages) with 4x4 sized beds, and a rabbit or two.
 

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I have two Lionhead rabbits which were purchased on a whim for my nieces, and then I realized the wonderful benefits of their bi-product, the manure! I used to think that rabbits were pretty useless. I was so wrong. Lionheads are great as they are fairly small, and poop quite proficiently.
 

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Commonsensehomestead
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When I lived in town I raised rabbits to supplement our meat. Nightly I would go and pull dandelions and weeds for them to supplement the pellets. Two things happened. They seemed healthier and they ate less pellets. The only problem with the manure is the rabbits poop and pee in the same spot. To separate it and make collection easy I ran some welded wire and made a ramp/funnel which was directed to a 5 gallon bucket. Pee went through poop went into the bucket and the bucket of poop went right into the garden.

Unlike some of the posts, I preferred butchering mine a little younger 8-12 weeks. It was a real cinch too.

Kev, Google Raising rabbits in Croatia. I think it was an article from Countryside magazine. I may have a link on here somewhere of the article. Excellent info. These folks fed mainly grass and weeds cut from a nearby abandoned lot. The also occasionally feed corn right on the cob to them, but no commercial pellets what so ever. It was really interesting.

Added thought: It would be interesting to see the fertilizer value of the manure and then compare that to a similar weight of commercial fertilizer. It may actually not be that bad of a deal to feed the rabbits just for the manure.
 
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