What kind of animals should I get for my raised beds?


8 Years
Feb 26, 2011
Hello all! We just recently moved to the Nevada dessert and it is finally cooling off to where I think I am gonna try a garden. I am in the process of building 4x8 raised beds. I am only building two due to the fact we live in the dessert. My plan is to build heavy duty tractor type of cages that can be placed over the beds (I got the idea from GardengirlTV.)

Now to my question what kind of animal should I get to fertilize the beds? I am building one tractor to go over one bed at a time. My plan is to have them in one bed for a couple weeks then move them over to the next bed. I am going to place a tarp over the bed im not using so it can compost.

I was thinking of either getting a couple of chickens or a couple of rabbits. Which is best? I will have to build these heavy duty and predator proof as we have a coyote that lives in a bush next our house. I see him all the time.

Thanks any advice is much apperciated!
I am thinking garden beds, so you could have fresh lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, onions.
In that case, get rabbits, cage them elsewhere and use the rabbit droppings for your garden. Constant supply of fertilizer and access to your raised bed to grow food for yourself.

From an article I found online - (for reference: http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/8156/rabbit-manure-in-the-garden )
" There's just no poop that works as well for the garden as rabbit poop. It has all the uber-benefits of horse and steer manure but with a distinct advantage. Because it's considered a "cold" manure, you don't have to let rabbit poop age or compost before you use it. Other manures that come from chickens, sheep, horse, cows, and pigs or "hot" manures, need to be composted for months before you can safely use them or you'll burn your little plant darlings to death. Not so with rabbit poop. "
Rabbit poop incorporates into garden soil really well.

But may I ask where in the Nevada desert are you? That tractor is going to be hot. You'll need to make sure the animals get plenty of access to water and the cool soil to dig into. I'd even stretch a shade cloth over the entire area from late April to early October.

If you are in northern Nevada, this would be better. Southern, esp. towards Lake Mead and the Colorado river-- you have to seriously consider death by heat if you don't plan wisely.
Thanks, I knew rabbit manure would help the garden more I just didnt know why. I never knew it was considered a cold manure. So I'll be able to grow lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and onions? Thats wierd that you mentioned it because those were at the top of my grow list

Yes, I am towards Lake Mead. I was considering the heat killing them. We have cotton tails and jack rabbits all over our yard so I didn't think it would affect a rabbit. I know they like colder areas. I will be home all day everyday. I will make sure they have ice water and frozen watter bottles to cool off against. I was planning on letting them make borrrow's and do whatever they want in the raised beds.

I plan to put hardware cloth under the raised beds so they can dig deep and cool off. I dont want to be overrun with rabbits though so Im thinking just two girls. My local feed store sells rabbits and they have them outside under a roof.

I plan to do everything possible to keep the heat from getting to them. Do you have any suggestions?
Sounds like you have the right ideas. Just know that wild rabbits and domestics rabbits are completely different creatures, really. Wild species are really tough, domestic ones, not.

I just had this memory... driving through the desert waaaay way out in the Mojave. Our headlights were attracting probably a hundred jackrabbits or more. We had to turn off the headlights and drive by moonlight for a couple of miles. Crazy.
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I love to watch the jackrabbits in our headlights during the winter. They will jump from wheel track to wheel track, and when they get too far ahead, they slow down and wait for you to catch up.

Most everybody in our neighborhood is carefull not to run over the jacks in winter.
Rabbits die VERY easily from overheating. You might me home most of the time, but it doesn't take much to throw off a schedule of checking on them; car trouble, illness, emergency trip away from home, sprained ankle....I would be very concerned about keeping rabbits where you are. Death by heat prostration is awful.

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