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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Taking in rabbits as pets to use their poop as fertilizers


Wazzup Pilipinas!

An urban gardening group recently gave the idea of taking care of rabbit in an attempt to make his own fertilizer with their poop, because apparently, rabbit droppings can be used like vermicasts!

He said he prefers cute and cuddly bunnies than taking care of those wiggling earthworms. Plus rabbits eat grass nonstop, so all the grass growing between his plants are slowly being obliterated by his pets.

He gives them weeds (not the fun kind), they give him poop,and the poop gives nutrients to his plants! 

Imagine when a neighbor saw him spreading the compost one day and he said "Ganda ng gulay, noh? TAE NG RABBIT ANG PAMPATABA DYAN." Lol!

Needless to say, another person will NOT be  asking veggies from him anytime soon. 


Benefits of Rabbits

Rabbit fecal matter and their leftover (dried) grass make for good compost material.

One said "I compost the bunny poop. Bali may litter box sila na may kusot at hay/grass then after a day kinukuha ko lahat yun as in droppings, hay, kusot then lagay lang sa compost bin tapos ayun na gagamitin ko for compost."

But according to one owner,the little poop balls can also be used fresh and used to topdress the soil. Literally 0 effort with maximum payoff. Bunny manure doesn't necessarily need to be composted to work as fertilizer.

They can also be bred for protein if you choose meaty breeds. Overall rabbits are a good addition to any food self-sufficiency plan.


Caring for Your Rabbits

"Some people go for small pets like hamsters/guinea pigs/rabbits kasi kala nila madaling alagaan pero they're just as needy or needier than dogs. As in sobrang baby nila. They will depend on you 100%. Ni ayaw nila sa malalakas na tunog kasi inaatake sila sa puso."

"Kung may sufficient space po kayo at may good amount of grass supply, go for the meat type para habang ginagamay nyo pa yung pag-aalaga sa kanila,mamatay man,hindi sya masakit sa bulsa. Pero kung tingin nyo naman po you can care for fancier types then you can do that too."

"Marami po silang bawal kainin kaya dapat iresearch muna bago mag adopt or bumili. Bawal sa kanila yung mga carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, etc. Mga sugars bawal din at mga yogurt. Dapat 80% grass/hay tapos 15% pellets at 5% herbs/veggies like basil and lettuce pero sobrang konti lang dapat."

And I thought they love carrots like Bugs Bunny. They prefer bananas than carrots. Lol. So probably the monkeys are the carrot lovers?

"Also they need enough water dapat dahil para din silang small dogs. Proper housing din po kasi mahilig sila tumakbo tsaka energetic sila so opt for large crates at pens area na at 4x4 ft."

"....1 rabbit per cage/area after 3 months kasi by 3 to 4 months mag uumpisa na magkasta si boy rabbit at hindi pa ready si girl non. Also I suggest spay/neuter lalo na kung di naman sila for breeding purposes."

"Sa cage din po or pen dapat nililinis araw araw para hindi sila bumaho."

"BAWAL SILA PALIGUAN OR BASAIN. Madali po sila magka hypothermia. Mamamatay agad sila pag gininaw. Same with heat. Dapat sakto lang yung temperature nila. Hindi sobrang init at sobrang lamig."

Some concessions the rabbit owner made since getting them:

1. Di na ko gumagamit ng speakers ko. Headphones na lang or phone speakers. 

2. Rigid morning and night routine. 6 am lalabas sila sa crate nila tapos linis na at disinfect ng food and water bowls at mismong crate nila. Palit ng litter box,harvest ng grass at banana leaves pati herbs, timbang ng pellets,etc. 

3. 8 am kakain sila at iinom then maglalaro na yan until night then by 10 pm dapat ready na yung crate nila para tulugan then linis ng mga kinalat nila. 

4. No dogs dito sa taas so mga aso ko nasa baba na lang lagi.

Also RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH. They can live up to 15-16 years kaya sobrang habang commitment nya. Pero for me they're really nice to have around. Napakadocile, napakabait,at napakatahimik lang nilang kasama.

If you haven't owned a rabbit yet it would help to do a bit of research and talk to rabbit owners to check if you're ready for the commitment. 

Kung wala ka naman balak mag breed, ok na yung isang rabbit lang. Kung ang purpose lang is to have a pet tsaka fertilizer, parang hindi cost efficient pag madaming rabbit. Medyo magastos din kasi lalo kung konti lang source mo ng damo. 90% ng diet nila is grass as in almost whole day sila kumakain ng grass. Even grass growing on two 50 liter containers won’t grow fast enough for you to rely on it solely for food of the rabbit so you still have to buy hay and pellets. 

Preventing Your Rabbits to Multiply

Highly recommended to spay and neuter. If you can't find a an animal specialist, your original pair of rabbits will balloon into 20 in just a few months.

3 to 4 months, a rabbit buck is ready to mate, so if you don't want them to multiply, divide them into separate cages.

Though rabbit kits are cute, when they grow up, good luck in taking care of them.

You can ask vets to neuter your rabbits so you don't end up with too many when they mate. They'll be less stressed too.

But having 20 of them means an abundance of poop and feed for fertilizer.

Be careful of how much you use though. If you miscalculate the amount of poop you use as fertilizer, you'll end up getting mealybugs because they apparently love nitrogen... which rabbit poop is full of.

But your veggie harvests will be healthy and would taste great.


Cost of Rabbits

Lionlop and Teddy Lionhead are a bit expensive. The cheaper ones are local New Zealand breeds. Those ranges around 600 per pair.

There are a number of rabbit breeders in Metro Manila but be careful where to buy them because there are a lot of irresponsible breeders that sell even sick or weak ones.

Look at their enclosure where they are kept. If its pure wire mesh, you'll know that those rabbits are irresponsibly bred. Rabbits should have a lot of space and at least clean area with flat space where they can sleep.


Picking a Pair

Let the breeder guide you which ones are siblings and not, just in case unwated mating would lead to inbreeding. 

"Kung kaya nyo pong bisitahin sila mismo, i highly suggest that. Kasi ako po mas prefer ko nung una yung orange because of the lop ears pero ngayon I am vibing with the blue tort colored rabbit. Kumbaga parang kailangan mo makita in person kung mailap ba sila, aggressive ba,or docile. Ganern!"


Guinea Pigs Instead of Rabbits

One farmer in Benguet uses guinea pigs. Cutest bunch of fertilizer makers. You hear them squeak when they smell that the farmer is near. 

They do resemble rabbits but smaller, but some would look at them as mouse or rats but cuter.


Adopt Don't Shop

You might also want to consider to #adoptdontshop! There are guinea pigs up for adoption at Guinea Pig Shelter PH. For bunnies for adoption, try contacting Rabbit Awareness Philippines. 

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