Raising rabbits strictly to harvest manure -- anyone done this?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by lceh, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. lceh

    lceh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    My 8-year-old DD is loving her flock of bantam chickens, but now her younger brother wants to join 4-H too and is interested in a rabbit. We have a family policy that there will be no animals on our little homestead that do not contribute something, and the kids need to make enough money from their animal projects to cover basic feed and bedding costs (we foot the bill for startup costs, like housing and the original animals). However, he's not interested in eating rabbits and frankly neither is anyone else in our family. I know some people raise Angora bunnies for their fur, but all that combing and upkeep is more than he can deal with. So now I'm thinking about finding a way to harvest bunny poop pellets for him to sell to local gardeners at the farmer's market. I'm a gardener myself, and I know from my own experience that bunny poop is a wonderful thing. It's not a "hot" manure, so as long as it's not mixed with bedding or lots of urine it can be applied directly to the garden without composting (and in a nice little pre-pelleted package too!). Figuring out how to harvest the manure without getting bedding mixed in is the trick. I'm thinking a two-tiered wire floor might work -- the bunny floor, with holes big enough for poops to fall through, and a second floor beneath with smaller wire so urine and liquids fall through to the ground but poops are left behind. Spread 'em out to dry and package for sale. Sounds good, right? But will it work? And how do you keep the bedding out?

    Anyone ever done this, or heard of anyone who has? I've seen a lot of internet research about vermicomposting under rabbit cages, but nothing about harvesting the poop itself. We live near a pretty crunchy, progressive University town with lots of interest in backyard gardens and a lot of disposable income, so I'm thinking, who can resist a little boy selling all-natural bunny poop for your garden, right? [​IMG]
     
  2. Zuesdude

    Zuesdude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2009
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    However you design your cage, think of making it with a slop where the poo can roll into the poo bucket. I designed a bird cage called (MY CLEAN HABITAT) it's for small birds.
     
  3. Zuesdude

    Zuesdude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hay you can also turn a bag of chicken food inside out and use that bag to place your poo product in for resale.
     
  4. vicki2x2

    vicki2x2 Super Chick

    Feb 9, 2008
    Central Michigan
    I don't know anyone who did it just to harvest the manure but lots of people do use the manure from their bunnies, pet, show, meat or whatever. I don't think they worry about separating the urine, it usually soaks into the ground, if on dirt. I wouldn't let the bedding fall into it though, some people won't want straw or shavings in their manure.

    Another thing that he could do is make a worm bed under the cage and harvest worms for sale. I have a book that tells all about how to do it, etc. Maybe he could do both.
     
  5. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Your son can raise nightcrawlers in the rabbit poop. Let the manure fall on the ground . . . . and the worms will come !
     
  6. lceh

    lceh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Thanks for the replies. Yes, I've seen a lot about vermicomposting (worms) under rabbit cages, but I believe that requires keeping the manure a bit wet which raises some health issues for the bunnies above. Plus I think at his age (6) simplicity is best -- just looking after a bunny's a big responsibility, but adding worms to the mix increases the complication factor. I'll ask him about it though, maybe he'll think that's a cool idea.
     
  7. NoelTate

    NoelTate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2008
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    I have raised rabbits on and off for most of my life, and it was never for food. My family always just shoveled the poop from under the pens and used it in potting soil or spread it in the garden. The smell is not as bad as the manure of many other animals, but it had to be shoveled often to keep bugs and undesirable worms down. You can also put it in a compost bin and raise nightcrawlers that can be sold as fish bait. I love the idea of bagging the manure (maybe even compost it first, then sell the compost) and selling it to locals for their gardens or potted plants. Those who do not have the time or space for animals would probably love to have the natural fertilizer, especially in a progressive town that embraces such ideas.
     
  8. StupidBird

    StupidBird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    This is the end of a two doe/one buck meat rabbit setup my BIL built. Its on heavy duty caster wheels, has a misting system for the hot summers, and a piece of metal roofing folded with a center crease that slopes to the catch bucket. Occasionally he hoses the catch tray out.
     
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  9. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    My house rabbit was litter trained, and I used wood stove pellets as litter. I would clean her litterbox and take it right out to the compost pile - no separation, no need to do anything. Before I planted the garden, I would take it right out to the garden and mix it into the dirt.
     
  10. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

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    We have 4 rabbits...we collect their poop for our worms/compost. We also have alpacas...both the rabbits and alpacas poop can be collected and used instantly (as the nitrogen is not as strong as cow's, etc, so it won't burn plants). The best thing to do would be to collect it in small burlap bags (tea bags). People can put those bags in hot water, and dump the water into their gardens. My recommendation would be to change the "appearance" of the pellets before you sell it. Whether you grind it up, bag it up, compost it. Rabbit poop is the best fertilizer for lawns (per word of Paul James/Gardening by the Yard).

    Our kids get a kick out of it. Have fun! [​IMG]
     

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