Rabbit Litter and Bedding?

winnetka75January 24, 2011

Last night I impulsively rescued a fancy pet rabbit that someone had dumped at my local park, and I know absolutely nothing about taking care of it! But, after researching them a bit last night, I was thrilled to learn that I am going to be able to utilize its manure in my garden or compost heap. Plus, he is a very cute little bugger to boot!

But, for all of you rabbit owners out there, I have a question, seeing as though I'd like to use its pellets/urine in my compost heap, what material should I use in its litter box. Hay, pine shavings, etc....? Not sure what would be the best material.

Thanks for your help!

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frogged

Hi, congradulations on your new family member.(love bunnies!) In the past I have used a mixture of saw dust and wood shavings, this may compost the easiest but is very messy. You will likely find the shavings everywhere around the outside of the cage. I also have used clumping clay kitty litter but now they make litter out of recycled paper, which I like best. Clean up is easier I think. You can scoop out the urine clumps each day or as needed and it can still be composted. (I use a small Mini dust pan not a litter scoop) My preference is the soft style of pelleted bedding less dusty and clumps better then the larger hard pellets. I have also learned that less is more with this type of bedding. Too much bedding and they just chuck it out when they dig away in thier litter box's. Bunnies are so much fun and when they look at you with one ear up and one ear down turn thier heads to the side it just makes ya smile. Goodluck and have fun!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 7:03PM
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leira(6 MA)

For the last couple of years I've been collecting loads of rabbit manure from a rabbit foster home, and it's been a really great addition to my garden and my compost heap. The woman I get my bunny poop from uses wood stove pellets, which disintegrate into sawdust/shavings when exposed to moisture. It seems to me that the wood stove pellets and the urine make a decent carbon/nitrogen ratio for decomposition, too.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 9:23AM
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winnetka75

Thanks frogged!!! Is there a brand of recycled paper litter that you prefer?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 6:45PM
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poaky1

ditto on the stove pellets. Walmart rabbit food pellets and timothy hay for digestion. The walmart is cheapest any brand is of course fine.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 11:31PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Your rabbbit should not bne in contact with the litter that you use to absorb the urine and droppings si it makes little difference what you use. Rabbits should be on a mesh open enough to allow the droppings to fall through to a collection point below.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 6:31AM
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leira(6 MA)

I have never raised rabbits, but I understand that rabbits are coprophages. Don't they need access to their droppings?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 9:15AM
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frogged

Hello, Leira you are correct. This is part of why rabbit poop is so great for compost. Rabbits have two kinds of droppings. One which they eat and contain good bacteria which helps them digest thier food(cecotropes) The second is your usual everyday poop. Normally rabbits will produce the cecotropes first thing in the morning. They are slightly smaller and a bunch of them will be stuck together and they are shinny. You will likely not see your rabbit doing this as it is a small amount and early morning behaviour. Rabbit mom's feed thier babies this poop to seed thier intestines with healthy bacteria and other things they need. Even if you keep your bunny in a suspended cage they still eat this stool. They just don't let it drop. I have never had an issue with rabbits being in contact with bedding or litter ment for animals. You need to keep it clean scooping everyday to avoid a build up of urine which can stain fur and will smell if left not cleaned out. (rabbit urine is a stronger smell then a cats)- Your rabbit will need a different space other then his/her litter box to live in. The litter box should just be for your rabbits bathroom duties. I have had issues with rabbits on a suspended floor and sore feet. Either way you will of course keep an eye on his or her feet and pads. Trim the nails like you would a dog or cat. Check the teeth that they are wearing as they should othewise you may need to trim them - or your vet can do this for you. You mentioned you had already done some research so you may already know this already but I thought I would add just in case. (plus bunnies love fruits and veggies in moderation, a good quality chow and hay- alfalfa cubes are good too!) There are a few brands of recyled paper litter the one I have used is from a pet suply in Ont. Rens pet depot I don't have the brand name but it is labeled soft pelleted bedding. I will see if there is another name. By the way how's it going, have you let the little guy out for some running around time yet? I get a kick out of thier hops and spurts of energy all thier silly things they do. Frogged

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 6:51PM
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poaky1

Mine use a litter box but I have never heard of the poop eating before, kinda gross.I guess they need to.They love dandelions too.The flowers and leaves. Long blades of fresh grass, washed of course.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 9:25PM
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winnetka75

Thanks everyone for all your helpful replies! I bought a wire bottom cage for the bunny, and gave him a litter box filled with Yesterday's News cat litter and some Timothy Hay. He seems to be urinating in the litter box pretty well now, but still poops everywhere! By the way, I've been feeding him greens from the garden and he loves it.

I've included a pic of the little guy.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 8:57PM
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frogged

Aww he's very handsome!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 10:00PM
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poaky1

He's cute.Nice and fluffy, my 2 are short (or medium) haired albinos and they act like an old married couple.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 10:07PM
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groomie2(6)

Fluffy looks like an angora bunny. If he is,you'll need to brush him alot.They mat up very quickly.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 12:03AM
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winnetka75

An Angora, interesting. I was wondering what type of rabbit he was. And you're right his fur was very matted when I got him and I've been trying to brush it out a little every day.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 12:10AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

While rabbits do produce and eat cecotropes (night waste), a certain type of excrement, allowing them to wallow in their waste is unsanitary and can easily be a means of spreading diseases. Since the rabbit will ingest the cecotropes directly from the anus there is no reason to allow feces to accumulate in the cage.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 7:34AM
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groomie2(6)

If you keep his hair cut down to about a half or inch long, it will be easier to take care of. He is very lucky that you found him! :)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 4:59PM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

Fluffy is an adorable angora. You can "pluck" his fur, and stick it on a ziplock bag, and then when you get a lot you can send it to crazy handspinners like me.

Yesterday the mailman delivered a box of alpaca fleece from an old friend of mine.

Never hurts to ask, right?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 10:38PM
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