Rabbit Manure Question

cmpman1974(Zone 6 MI)November 5, 2006

I would like to know if there is any risk to adding mostly composted to composted rabbit manure to a vegetable garden. The person that has it has a rabbit business and the pile has aged 6 months to a year.

If the manure was added to the garden in the fall in Zone 5, would it be safe to plant in come May 2007? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I am not 100% sure how to tell if it is "fully composted." The only stuff I ever buy is cow manure composted at places like Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.

Please let me know as soon as possible since my access to this is limited. If there is any smell to the manure, again is it dangerous or would it compost over the winter months sufficiently?


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Actually rabbit manure is one of the few manures that wont burn plants if added directly to the garden. Now if it contained alot of urine in the bedding then maybe it would be a problem but most of the times itll blow off as ammonia. Id turn it in the soil and plant away in May

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 9:07PM
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By far the best thing to do with any manure is to compost it before adding it to your garden, especially since any manure you do add to your garden should be tilled in right away and tilling is detrimental to the Soil Food Web.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 8:11AM
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mommagoose(z5 NY)

A few years ago I spread several truck loads of rabbit manure mixed with chopped maple leaves onto a portion of my market garden. I let them lay there all winter then in the spring I tilled them under and planted some Ailsa Craig onions there. I had many 4 pound or more onions that year. I did not quite reach the record for big onions but I sold the onions for 50c a pound and was very happy:) I have not had access to such large quantities of rabbit poop since then and I have never gotten another 4 pound onion. I am going to try sheep and goat droppings next year and will also sprinkle them over the bed with chopped leaves. I have not found it necessary to till in manure until spring. I figure the microbes in the manure help the leaves to break down. Good luck with the garden.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 1:11PM
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Linda nailed it for you - pile that rabbit poop on, and throw plenty of leaves, hay, or grass in with it. If you have access to any coffee grounds, mix those in, too. You will be amazed at how fast your soil improves and your earthworms multiply. I had pet rabbits when I was a kid, and my dad always had the best garden in the nieghborhood.....

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 1:39PM
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Wow I am so glad I found this!!! My fiance and I have *5* house rabbits, and we've been wondering about how to use rabbit manure in the garden.

Thanks very much! :-D


    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 7:16PM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

I have 3 house rabbits myself. I use wood pellets for litter (much cheaper and just as good as the other stuff in the store). I scoop out as much poop as I can to apply, and the rest (hay, expanded pellets, etc) is used as mulch.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 3:13PM
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I have a tiller on the back of a Kubota tractor and use it regularly. Would someone please explain what is happening when I till the soil. I live in south east Texas and soil is very high in clay. I have large piles of compost that a tree service gave to me when they ran limbs and such. It totals about 40 cubic yards. During the past two years I have added grass clipping and other high nitrogen materials to the pile and regularly turn it with my tractor to mix it well. Now that the summer season is over I have been adding it to my garden and tilling it in. Now, after reading the comment about tilling being "detrmental to the soil food web" I have wondered if I had done this wrong. Any expanation of what goes on in the soil would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 7:29AM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Harvey- there are many who say that fungi, bacteria, worms, and other microbe life will find their optimum living conditions if they're just fed right. Now when you till- you kill worms, break up fungi, put stuff at depths hwere it may or may not get the right oxygen, and screw up the structure of the soil that these microbes (as well as weather, water, and time) have optimized for their own living conditions. These folks say that adding organic matter (OM) to the surface alone will preserve this structure.

Others have great results with tilling, so why change?

Me- I add to the surface because it works great for me (I have extremely high OM in my gardens) and it's easier. I imagine that if you have thick clay, tilling in lots of OM to get it started for a year or 2 may get the ball rolling for you, then when there's OM distributed through the soil- there will be air and water flow that can keep your system going by transporting OM from the surface and feeding the fungi etc. A jump-start. I do see great results from core aerating my lawn which is like a much lower-impact way to get some tillage without truly turning all of the soil over.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 11:02AM
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then there are those who think there is only 1 way to garden - their way

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 11:24AM
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I appreciate the info. I also failed to mention that I also have put down numerous doses of what is commercially known as soil soup that I make from worm castings. From the way the soil in my garden looks, I thought I must be doing something right but I just wanted to make sure. I have put a lot of OM into the soil before I till it and I guess that I may have been breaking down some of the soil structure but I am adding them back when I apply the soil soup and given some time it builds back the soil food web. I never thought I was messing it up because I reasoned that they were microscopic, so it would only stir them up but they would still be alive in the soil.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 11:42AM
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Generally, the concern is with over-tilling and the potential for perhaps irreparably destroying the soil texture. Excessive tilling breaks up the various sizes of the particles comprising the soil and makes them too uniform. The particulate size is reduced as is porosity. This increases the tendency for compaction, resulting in poor drainage and lack of oxygen in the surface layer, where plant roots and soil organisms reside. Once this occurs it is difficult, if not impossible, to remediate as you cannot go back and recreate the diversity of the particulates.

But this is a caution of over-tilling. I agree with pablo that if you find tilling beneficial in your circumstance (I hate to state any absolutes - there are always exceptions where one practice or another makes sense), then do so but avoid doing it too frequently or too thoroughly.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 11:44AM
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