Composting rabbit manure

yelmbackyardJanuary 7, 2010

Need some advice on rabbit compost.

What do I need to add to compensate for the strong urine smell.

The pile also has pine shavings, but is often too strong smelling, I think, to be "working".

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Any carbons (so-called 'browns') such as shredded fall leaves, cardboard, straw (not hay), even shredded paper if nothing else is available.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 6:36PM
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I don't really have any shredded fall leaves, but I may have some shredded paper or straw to add.

I completely forgot about paper - Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 6:47PM
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I think I remember that rabbits uniate in one corner of the hutch. Can you put newspaper or sawdust on the ground under that corner? Might help to balance brown/green in your compost pile.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 7:21PM
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You need about 3 parts vegetative waste to 1 part of that manure. That vegetative waste can be high carbon, but that is not necessary.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 7:30AM
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I raised rabbits for years as pets and because of their manure - it is one of the very few animal manures that can be used directly on the garden without need for composting. It does have a higher nitrogen content than just about any other manure type, partly due to urine but also due to the rabbit diet, which in a domesticated situation is primarily alfalfa.

I have never bothered to compost the manure - I would simply let the cage cleanings sit until I needed to use them in the garden, typically applied as a mulch or topdressing. Allowing the manure to sit for a few days or 'air dry' will allow much of the ammoniacal nitrogen from the urine to volatize. Even if used directly on the garden - which I sometimes did - it never 'burned' plant tissue.

If mixed with any carbon souces like cage bedding or straw, there is no reason it shouldn't compost readily. Personally, I wouldn't bother with that step :-)

Those who raise rabbits and utilize their manure in the garden consider it one of the best manure sources they can access.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:08AM
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Our rabbits have a whole shed to run around in. We've found that if we give them an entire bale of straw to play with, they devote endless hours to tearing the bale apart and chewing the whole lot into two inch lengths. When they've finished, we clear the whole lot out and use it as mulch aroud seedlings and young plants. Much easier than using a mechanical shredder...

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:51AM
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Have you considered vermicomposting? I have heard of outdoor in-ground worm bins with rabbit hutches built over the top. Direct deposit of "worm candy". Check out the vermicomposting forum for info about cheap "hobby" size bins made from rubbermaid tubs. I have also beard of the pellets being mixed in to the soil as a natural time release fertilizer. As far as the smell is concerned, my outdoor worm bin smells no worse than a compost pile. I like the smell! :) Pete

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:51AM
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"You need about 3 parts vegetative waste to 1 part of that manure."

Three parts fresh grass clippings?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 4:52PM
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I've used grass clippings for cover on my bins before. I don't know about the three parts but a healthy amount covers serious odors.

I like the grass clippings on top because stuff on the outside tends to decompose slower than the innards. The grass clippings break down more quickly than say leaves so the grass clippings decompose at a rate closer to what's decomposing on the inside of the bin.

to sense


    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 6:17PM
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I live in a small town in S.California,Norco,also known as horse town U.S.A. A neighbor up the road farms rabbits;many thousands of rabbits and even more droppings. Lucky me! FREE!I have been composting this stuff for years. I make circular bins approx 42 inches in diameter and 42 inches high out of galvanized 2inx4inx42inch wire fencing which I wrap with shade cloth And then wrap with 1in x 1in plastic fencing. All materials available at your home improvement warehouse. The manure is bone dry when I fill the bins.To wet the manure I coil a piece of soaker hose on the top and when water starts to come out the bottom I cut the water & cover the bins with shade cloth and a piece of plywood. Within 36 hours or so my thermometer starts to take off, getting to a little over 150 degrees F. After a few days I use a 5/8 in stainless steel rod to poke holes all the way to the bottom and +/- 6 inches apart this allows the pile to get air. I watch the temp and the moisture content daily and when the temperature drops to about 100F and the pile is just moist and has lost 12 inches off the top I remove the cage. Not easy. Break up the pile and spread it out +- 6-8 in thick, on top I spread out this weeks lawn cuttings and an equal amount of dry grass saved from dethatching the lawn in January. I mix all this together along with any kitchen scraps.The whole lot then goes back into the bin and each 8-10 in layer is lightly watered. Within 48 hrs it is cooking again and when it cools I repeat the process I do this about 4 times and then leave it to mature, just keeping it moist. Finally it is transferred to 5 ft diameter bins to await use. I start usually in March and have three bins going simultaneously. Not bad for a 67 year old guy. It really is so much better than ANY bought stuff you should taste my vegetables. I hope this is help full to a few people.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 1:22AM
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I used to get free rabbit droppings from someone with 50 or so rabbits. I put it directly in the garden and never had any problems. Now to find someone here who has rabbits.........

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 10:00PM
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If one goes back to what Sir ALbert Howard originally wrote about making compost he tells you to put down 6 inches of vegetative waste and 2 inches of manure and simple 3rd grade math would tell you that would be 3 parts vegetative waste to 1 part manure. Grass clippings are vegetative waste so you could use just grass clippings in that formula although a wide variety of vegetative waste is better and would not tend to clump up like moist grass clippings would.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 7:01AM
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Hello everyone. I would really appreciate your advises/recommendations regarding composting rabbit manure.

I am planning to raise 24 - 50 rabbits. However, I am living close to neighbors and the serious odors of rabbit urine + manure will be a big concern. I was thinking of composting the manures so that I can sell back later as compost (it could just be my next side-business later). I have read of using newspaper and sawdust. Will that be enough to seriously eliminate the odors? I even think of cleaning the barn area using water, bleach and vinegar. It may sound stupid but I have to admit I'm still learning on this matter. Anybody can share their knowledge regarding managing rabbit manure + urine odors especially in my situation? If I don't make myself clear, please ask me so I can explain more. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 2:13PM
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I have never composted rabbit manure but I myself would never tell anyone to mix 3 parts of fresh grass clippings with 1 part manure until I have tried it myself (and I would never try this myself).

Everything, and I mean everything, I have read, says fresh grass clippings and most fresh manures are pretty decent nitrogen sources for composting purposes and everything I have read says the C:N ration should be around 25-40:1 for composting.

Mixing fresh grass clippings and fresh manure will never give a person the recommended C:N ratio. Now if there was a lot of C type bedding mixed in with the manure or it was very old (large portion of the N volatized off) that might be different.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 5:52PM
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