Over the years I have found that there are primarily two types of educated organic gardeners, one swearing by worm castings as an organic fertilizer and another that swears by rabbit manure or cow manure as the best fertilizer. Over the years I have tried all as well as have mixed them in various ratios trying to see what works best.
Anyone that knows me realizes I try to go back to nature which includes looking outside in my yard since I have deer, rabbits, worms, turkeys, raccoons, foxes and more running rapid out here. In nature we don’t have just one type of manure but rather various manures working together.
Before I go on, if you are eating right now you may wish to come back to this article later as what I am going to reveal may not be for those with a weak stomach.
First it is known that worm castings are full of easily, readily absorbed plant food as well as aerobic microbes. Now I have written several articles in the past on this matter of aerobic, by definition requires oxygen to survive, hence buying them in a sealed plastic bag only kills off many of the benefits and why I won’t go into details here and repeating myself.
Rabbit manure is called a cold manure compared to cow, horse, goat… manures since while most manures are fully or close to fully processed and heat up rabbits actually only process 25% of the food they eat. In a natural environment, inside a rabbit den, the rabbits will actually consume their own manure in the early morning and evenings since it is still full of fortified nutrients.
As for the part that may turn some folks off, did you know that in some regions where stocks of hay are short in the winter months, the cattle are fed rabbit manure? On top of this fish such as Tilapia and even shrimp grown and raised in some Asian countries which is mainly what one purchases as the local grocery store are fed rabbit manure. Even another catfish looking fish grown in some Asian countries sold as Grouper in the USA in grocery stores and restaurants, even though illegal, is sometimes fed rabbit manure.
As a matter of fact many of the fish we purchase today are not just fed rabbit manure but some have the rabbit cages hung above the fish and shrimp tanks hence feeding them the very potent urine (ammonia) as well.
The urine is so potent even worms will run away from it as well as it is a prized bait for trapping and hunting coyotes.
Now that we have a better understanding of rabbit manure since this site is dedicated more towards worms and worm castings and have numerous articles pertaining to the subject I will move onto what this article is about!
In the past on one forum (I will not mention as the purpose here is to educate and not put others down) I have put down by some other worm farmers when I mention introducing rabbit manure to the worm castings as they believe it is the only organic fertilizer in the world. On the contrary as I previously mentioned there is much more going on in nature such as wild rabbits, deer, turkeys… running around and partaking in developing natural existence of beneficial microbes, plant food…
Over the years I have developed a special mix of worm castings and shredded rabbit manure which loyal customers request locally each and every year. The main issue is being able to sort the urine (highly concentrated ammonia) from the rabbit manure. Once rabbit manure is soaked with the urine, many claim to place outdoors in a pile and allow the rain to wash away the urine. Being rabbit manure by itself is pretty much dry manure; it only absorbs the water and does not wash away the urine. At the same time, rabbit manure is high in salt content which for one will kill off worms in a garden and why worms will avoid the areas wet by rabbit urine under the cages but also will be detrimental to vegetable and flowering plants as well as fruit trees.
Rabbit manure is a little higher in nitrogen however still remains pH neutral. At the same time the rabbit manure becomes a food source for the beneficial aerobic microbes contained within the worm castings themselves.
This is why I built a separator for the rabbit manure and urine. The urine goes into a gutter system enabling to drain outside while the rabbit manure is collected in Rubbermaid style bins below.
Now to the actual proof that some shredded rabbit manure added at the correct ratio to worm castings is definitely beneficial to plants!
The broccoli plants in the pictures below are grown in a small pile of worm castings which I do not sell as they are the soft and fluffy type but rather donate each year to a local farmer that grows crops for the poor and distributes throughout the area.
The first picture illustrates broccoli grown in straight worm castings currently during the sporadic weather from warm temperatures of 70 plus degrees Fahrenheit to the low twenties. You can notice the wilting in the leaves as they appear to be struggling lately to survive.
The image below illustrates the broccoli which received some shredded rabbit manure just 14 days ago. Not only are the leaves not wilting but the plant color has a little deeper green coloring to it as well.
In conclusion, as within nature it is not just one item that builds soil and assist plants but rather a combination of a number of things working together in harmony. By using worm castings and rabbit manure one can increase the volume of vegetables, fruits and flowers as well as maintain even healthier plants!