If you have a yard or a garden, you’ve likely experienced the occasional arrival of rabbits.
These cute creatures might seem harmless, but they can leave behind an unexpected problem: their poop.
The presence of rabbit droppings in your yard may lead you to wonder if this waste can harm your grass. Let’s explore the impact of rabbit poop on grass to put your concerns to rest.
Does Rabbit Poop Kill Grass?
No, rabbit poop does not kill grass. In fact, properly composted rabbit droppings are one of the best natural fertilizers you can put on your lawn.
Rabbit poop is a mild type of manure that won’t kill your grass in most cases. In fact, it can be beneficial to your lawn and garden, as it contains essential nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous.
However, if large quantities of droppings accumulate in one spot, it’s possible for the grass to be smothered and die. For this reason, it’s important to keep an eye on your yard and take action when necessary.
Rabbit urine, however, is a different matter.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about using rabbit poop to make your grass grow greener.
Then we will tell you about the effects of rabbit urine on lawn grasses and ornamental plants.
Also read: Why Does My Rabbit Pee on Me?
What’s in Rabbit Poop?
Fertilizers are usually described in terms of how much they contain each of the three biggest nutritional requirements for plants, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
The percentages are usually expressed as N-P-K.
Rabbit manure is 2-1-1. It contains 2 percent nitrogen (N), 1 percent phosphorus (P), and 1 percent potassium (K).
That is a lot less N, P, and K than a standard chemical fertilizer, which might be 10-10-10 or even the 20-20-20 you get with products you always have to dilute with water, such as Miracle-Gro.
But it is three to five times as potent as cow manure, 0.6-0.2-0.5, and pig manure, 0.5-0.3-0.5. It is twice as potent as horse manure, 0.7-0.3-0.6, or sheep manure, 0.7-0.3-0.9.
Not only is rabbit poop a better fertilizer than other common animal manures, but there are also additional advantages to using rabbit manure to make compost:
- Cow manure comes in big clumps. These clumps have to be mechanically broken down before they can be composted. Also, because cows are given salt with their feed to encourage them to drink more water (and weigh more when they are sold), their manure contains salts that can burn your plants.
- Horse manure is full of weed and grass seeds. If you do not compost it for a year or more before you use it in your garden, you will be planting weeds.
- Pig manure is very runny. It has to be transported in tanks or mixed with straw for composting before you use it.
- Sheep and goat droppings are small, almost as small as rabbit poop. They break down quickly. But they have a much lower nutrient content than rabbit manure.
Chicken manure has a higher N-P-K ratio than rabbit manure, 3-2-2. The problem with chicken manure is that it is too rich in nutrients to be applied directly to your lawn or placed around your plants.
Rabbit manure is “just right” for fertilizing lawn and garden plants, even before it has been composted.
But composting improves the nutritional quality of rabbit manure as fertilizer.
Also read: How to Store Rabbit Manure?
Using Rabbit Poop for Instant Plant Nutrition
Most animal manures have to be composed for several weeks up to a year to kill weed seeds and to release nutrients.
You can use rabbit poop as lawn and garden fertilizer as soon as you collect it.
That one thing you can do with rabbit poops that you cannot do with other kinds of animal manure is gather them up to make a “compost tea.”
The name is a little misleading. You make this rabbit poop compost tea the same way you make any other compost tea, but you can use fresh poop to make it. They do not actually have to be composted.
Gather up two cups (about 400 grams) of hard rabbit poop pellets. Place them in a gallon (about four liters) of water and let them stand overnight. Use the liquid to water outdoor plants.
Then add more water and start the process all over again.
This method gives your plants a gentle dose of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, comparable to watering them with a soluble commercial fertilizer like Miracle-Gro.
You can use the rabbit pellets up to about 5 times before they begin to disintegrate. At that point, it’s time to use them for vermiculture.
Also read: Why Do Dogs Eat Rabbit Poop?
Rabbit Poop for Vermiculture Compost
You may have heard that turning a compost pile every few days gets to be a lot of work.
When you make a vermiculture compost, earthworms turn your compost pile for you.
Worms not only save you most of the work involved in traditional composting, they also break down rabbit poop into a nutrient-rich soil amendment in half the time.
Vermiculture compost has a much finer texture, so it mixes well with the soil. It delivers nutrients directly to plant roots.
To make vermiculture compost, gather up about half a cubic yard of rabbit droppings.
That’s a pile of rabbit droppings about 2 feet wide by 2 feet long by 2 feet tall. (The metric equivalent of 2 feet is 60 centimeters.)
If you are using hay for lining your rabbit’s litter box, you can just empty the litter box a couple of times a week into the compost pile.
Make sure the compost pile is damp, but not soggy. Buy live earthworms online or at a pet or bati shop, and place them on the pile.
Rabbit manure is one of their favorite foods, so they will dig down into the compost pile, aerating as they go.
In a few months, you should have a pile of earthworm castings (earthworm poop), well-digested rabbit poop, and earthworms you can place around your plants.
Red wrigglers do a great job of transforming rabbit poop into garden-grade compost for your lawn or ornamentals.
Also read: Why Do Rabbits Poop So Much?
Using Rabbit Poop as Mulch
In much of the United States, the biggest challenge in keeping your lawn green is keeping clay soils from baking into a brick in the summer heat.
Rabbit poop can help to keep your grass healthy and green even in hot, dry weather.
Just spread rabbit poop pellets (the hard ones, not the soft ones that the rabbit will digest a second time) with a seed spreader. Each pellet becomes a nugget of food for earthworms.
The earthworms will dig tunnels up to the pellet through which rainwater can flow. Then their castings become food for your lawn.
You can also place a layer of rabbit poop pellets up to an inch (25 mm) thick around plants that need moist soil through the summer.
The rabbit poop will slowly break down with the help of earthworms around your ornamentals, too.
What Can Go Wrong with Using Rabbit Poop as Fertilizer?
Rabbit droppings are nearly the perfect natural fertilizer for your lawn and garden. That doesn’t mean nothing can go wrong.
Rabbit Droppings Should Be Spread, Not Piled
It is possible to place so many rabbit droppings in one place that they smother the plants beneath them.
Keep the depth of rabbit droppings to 1 inch (25 mm) or less around established ornamental plants, and no more than a single layer around seedlings.
Litter Box Waste Should Be Composted Before It Is Used for Fertilizer
You should not put the contents of your rabbits’ litter box directly on or around plants.
The hay, shredded paper, or sand in your rabbit’s litter box contains urine as well as fecal pellets. It will smell bad.
The urine scent will attract dogs, coyotes, foxes, and other predators of rabbits, making your yard unsafe for your rabbit to hop around for unattended playtime.
It can overwhelm the pleasant scents of flowers to which it is applied, and attract ants and cockroaches.
Rabbit Urine Won’t Harm Your Lawn
There is a widely held misconception that rabbit urine kills grass.
Although many articles report that rabbit urine is acidic, scientific studies have found it is usually neutral or mildly alkaline.
Acids have a pH below 7. The urine of healthy rabbits has a pH of 7.5 to 9.
An adult rabbit can produce up to 750 ml (3 cups) of urine every day, but this waste product is so dilute that it primarily provides your lawn with a tiny amount of additional irrigation water.
Rabbit urine provides tiny amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, much less than is found in rabbit poop.
It kills some kinds of beetle grubs that can attack the roots of the grass on your lawn, scientists say.
However, rabbit urine can be a problem for humans that come in contact with it,
In one study, 40% of rabbits tested had asymptomatic urinary tract infections.
The most common infectious microorganism in rabbit urine was a kind of bacteria called Pseudomonas. It can survive for up to four months in dry soil, longer in damp soil.
If you let your rabbits play in your yard, be sure the small children in your family don’t eat dirt or grass and wear shoes if you walk where your rabbits play.
Also read: 5 Signs Your Rabbit Is Dehydrated
Risks and Benefits of Rabbit Poop to Other Organisms
Rabbit poop can both positively and negatively influence various organisms in your environment.
By understanding these effects, you can make better decisions on how to manage rabbit droppings in your yard or garden.
Below are some risks and benefits of rabbit poop to different organisms.
Ants, Insects, and Spiders
Rabbit poop can provide essential nutrients for the growth of many insects and spiders.
These creatures, in turn, feed on the organic material, breaking it down and enriching the soil.
However, if you have an ongoing ant infestation issue, you might want to remove the droppings to discourage their growth.
Trees and Shrubs
Rabbit poop is rich in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
These nutrients greatly benefit your trees and shrubs by improving soil health and promoting more robust growth.
You can use the droppings as a natural fertilizer for your plants without causing any harm.
Cats, Foxes, and Other Predators
Although rabbit poop isn’t directly harmful to predators like cats and foxes, it can attract other animals that feed on it.
This could potentially lead to your yard being visited by more animals, posing a risk to your pets’ safety, so it’s good to keep an eye on their surroundings.
Deer might be attracted to the smell and taste of rabbit droppings as a source of nutrients and minerals.
This can lead to problems if deer start visiting your property and feeding on your plants, so you might consider taking preventative measures to keep them away.
In conclusion, rabbit poop does not kill grass and can even provide essential nutrients to various organisms in your environment.
However, there are risks to consider, such as attracting other animals and pests.
By understanding these risks and benefits, you can make better decisions on how to handle rabbit droppings in your yard or garden.
Also read: Do Pet Rabbits Attract Snakes?
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common queries people have about rabbit poop harming the grass and the lawn/garden.
How can I remove rabbit droppings from my lawn?
To remove rabbit droppings from your lawn, you can use a leaf blower or a rake to gently gather them into a single pile.
Dispose of the collected droppings in a compost bin or use them as a natural fertilizer for your garden.
Regular lawn maintenance, such as mowing and watering, will also help to break down and distribute the droppings evenly across your lawn.
What methods are effective for repairing rabbit-damaged grass?
There are a few steps you can follow to repair rabbit-damaged grass:
- Rake the damaged area to remove any dead grass and debris.
- Loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller.
- Apply a high-quality grass seed mixture to the affected area, making sure to follow the recommended seeding rate.
- Water the area thoroughly and keep the soil consistently moist until the new grass has been established.
Can rabbit waste benefit the growth of grass?
Yes, rabbit waste can indeed benefit the growth of grass. Rabbit droppings are a mild type of manure that contains essential nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, which are beneficial to the grass growth.
Applying rabbit droppings directly to your lawn or garden can help supply these valuable nutrients.
What techniques deter rabbits from entering my lawn?
To deter rabbits from entering your lawn, you can:
- Install a fence around your lawn or garden.
- Use natural repellents such as garlic or vinegar.
- Plant less rabbit-friendly plants.
- Keep your lawn healthy and well-maintained.
- Use motion-activated sprinklers to startle and deter rabbits.
- Remove hiding places like brush piles or debris from your yard.
What impact do rabbits have on grass health?
Rabbits eat grass and other plants in the lawn, so they can cause damage to the grass by overgrazing and creating bare patches.
However, rabbit droppings are not harmful to grass and can even act as an organic fertilizer.
Are there potential risks to dogs consuming rabbit droppings?
There might be some risks associated with dogs consuming rabbit droppings, particularly if the droppings contain harmful bacteria or parasites.
Be sure to monitor your pet for signs of illness and consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns.
It’s best to discourage your dog from eating rabbit droppings by removing them from your lawn and training your dog to avoid them.
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