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Rabbit manure as fertilizer 0809

Page history last edited by ecop 15 years, 1 month ago






Rabbit Manure as Fertilizer



 By David Johnson



Description and Rationale




Farmers in the Philippines have been considered as poor and desperate because of the long toil they take to work the ground that seems to agree to yield a good crop. Out of this desperation, they are forced to buy man-made chemical fertilizers. These not only work for a limited time, but are too expensive to be used continuously by the farmers . consequently, they may turn to organic fertilizers such as water buffalo droppings or poultry feces to puit on their crops. But for these to work, properly, they must be composted to dreak down chemical compounds and are not a s effective as the chemical fertilizers in the first place!

So, what can be done about this? what are effects of chemical fertikliers on theenviroment? Are there any ways to make them more effective long term? What of the prices; can the prices be dropped to be more affordable? Can organic fertilizers take the place of chemical fertilizers with ease? Do they work better in the end, or a waste of precious time?

Are there other types of feces that exist that are better than chemical/(known) organic fertilizers? In several locations in the Philippines, rabbit raising projects are known, including ones run by my parents, Vance and Carol Johnson. But can the rabbit fertilizer be the answer to the answer to the issue? Does rabbit feces have highter amounts of the vital nurtirentsk, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium? This is already an organic fertilizer, so does it have to be composted to be used without possibly killing the plant? Rabbits are a great source of meat. Below their cages is a good place to grow mushrooms because of the shade and also the fertilizer from the droppings. So, can this be another reason to go to rabbits for a sustaining profit margin?

The main reason for this project would be the teaching of the use of rabbit fertilizer as an organic fertilizer, through the taking of surveys of how much the people know of manure being used in the first place. Thoroughout this process, it is hoped that rabbit feces will be found to be cheaper and better for the plants and the environment rather than chemical/known organic fertilizers we have now.


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Common Names and Synonyms



The rabbit is also call Oryctolagus cuniculus. Since The rabbit was first domesticated in Europe. It where it is known by distinct names in their own language like Europaisches (German), Kaninchen (German), and Lapin (French). Because the rabbit is not local to the Philippines, it is usually referred to as puksain ang mga daga [in Tagalog] which literally means rat looking animal.





Kingdom: Animalia (living or extinct animals)

Phylum: Chordata (true vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia (warm-blooded vertebrates characterized by mammary glands in the female)

Order: Lagomorpha (the hares, rabbits and pikas)

Family: Leporidae (hares and rabbits)

Genus: Oryctolagus (rabbit)

Species: Cuniculus (European)

There are over 50 different species of rabbit, which vary slightly in each. However, the rabbit that is known in the Philippines is the Orcytolagus Cuniculus, the European rabbit. 

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Morphology and Physical Description


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The rabbit is about 38-50 cm long on average. Rabbits have fur that is 2-3cm long which can vary in color and intensity, but most are found to be either albino white, soft brown, and an intense black color They have a front set of legs which are thin and lightweight. The hind legs are of a bulkier nature and allow the rabbit to jump. They have a tail that is 4.5 cm to 7.5 cm long, which is attached to several reproductive structures.

The rabbit's head has an unusually large set of ears which are used to disperse heat out of the animal. The eyes of the animal are seen as largely the iris with the pupil in the middle. Because the rabbit is basically nocturnal, the pupil is able to take in large amounts of light. The oryctolagus is able to sense danger through the use of whiskers on its nose.

Internally, what sets the rabbit apart is its muscular system. This only makes up 7% of the animal which allows it to remain small. Its lightweight structure aid it to be able to gain speed through the use of its hind legs in a short amount of time.

The animal has also been found to have a hind-gut fermenter, allowing it to feed off low quality, high fiber food such as grass or other cheap sources. It is also found to digest much faster than most animals which allows it to “eat and run” for a fast getaway in case of predators. 


Getting Food



The rabbit feeds mainly off grass substances while in the wild but have been found to eat certain kinds of leaves on occasion. Because of a rabbit’s high energy metabolisms, it must have a constant diet of high-fiber foods but should have good amounts of calcium. The lack of calcium can lead to the loss of bone-mass. Commercial rabbit food should be avoided for this reason. It should be fed straw and feed twice a day.

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When the female is receptive, mating will occur. The male will follow the doe and will sniff and lick until he urinates upon the doe. fertilization will follow afterward and if copulation is successful, conception will result 10 hours afterward.

Gestation lasts for 28-30 days, one week before or after intended date is seen as healthy. Generally 6 babies are in a batch. Sight is gained after 7 days. By week 7, the babies will no longer need milk from their mother, and will begin to eat greens. By 2 months, they are completely independent of their mother. The male can breed 3 times a week once they hit sexual maturity at 3 months.



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Environmental Factors



The rabbit has adapted to nearly every environment, except the Antarctic. In Europe, foxes, hounds, and hawks are its main predators. However, because of its seclusion due to the ice age, the rabbit has only natural predators in Europe Because of this, the rabbit has spread rapidly in many countries. The only land mass that rabbit competition has been brought up as an issue is in Australia is the only place where rabbit competition has become an issue. There, the rabbit population increased until it has become a serious environmental issue in Australia, because they are starving other species that live there and feed on the vegetation.

There are several diseases that the rabbit is susceptible to but only relate to European-based rabbits. They were almost wiped out in Britain because of myxoma which killed 99% of the rabbit population . It is important to note that they can survive in tropical areas exceptionally well, save for cases of diarrhea



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Origin and Distribution



Rabbits orginated in most of Europe and northwestern Africa, but because of its food source capabilities and domestic pets use, it has been brought around the world and can be found worldwide, apart from Antarctica. It has been brought to the Philippines largely as a pet. In fact, it has been supposed that they may have been brought with the missionaries that came to the Philippines. It has not been seen as a meat/fertilizer source in the past in this country.



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Importance to People



Rabbits are seen usually as a pet, a adorable thing to bring home to your kids. But in reality, they have been used for centuries as sources of fur, food, and fertilizer (there feces). In Africa, for instance, there are individuals who have been raising rabbits for their own profit for decades.

In the Philippines, only a limited number of missionaries actually own rabbits and raise them for fertilizer and food, but not fur. However, the main barrier for people trying to raise rabbits is they are seen as a pest and are not safe. They look like rats and thats what they are seen as: dirty, disease-infested animals. They are also seen as a pet and too cute to kill.

Neither the fur nor the hide has been used in the Philippines because there are other animals that give more fur/hide. Fur is also not is high demand in a tropical country.



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Survivability and Endangered Status



Because of the adaptability of rabbits and litter size, they are one of the least endangered species in the world. Some countries have in fact tried population control by killing them and poisoning them though the breeding rate is too quick to be over come. Australia is an example. 20 million rabbits now compete with local animals, upsetting the food chain that exists. The Philippines, however, does not have a wild rabbit population.


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Potential Solutions



Rabbits are found to have many benefits over other animals. But most people do not know that these benefits exist. One of these is rabbit manure. It has many good, nutritious benefits to others such as Chicken and Carabao manure; sadly, most people do not use it. If the manure of the animal was used, this could be an important step to lead us (for we are the body and bear the burden together) out of poverty and to a healthy physical life




Possibility 1 -Mushroom Growing


People groups for centuries have eaten mushrooms because of their high nutritious value and taste. Restaurants will buy high quality mushrooms for a lot of money. The poor could be given the mushrooms to be eaten because most families in the Philippines are not receiving enough nutrients in their diet sufficient to give them good brain development and strong body systems. Whatever they do not eat, could be sold to restaurants






  • mushrooms have a great amount of fiber, vitamins such as phosphorous (building block of DNA)

  • Because they grow well in environments with decaying matter and water, mushrooms thrive in the tropics and grow year-long. A batch of mushrooms, for example, are fully grown at 2-3 weeks and then be sold

  • one kilo of mushrooms is from one-hundred to 150 pesos when sold, and one rabbit can give enough manure (when mixed with sawdust) to grow 5 kilos every 2 weeks. Thats a weeks wage every 2 weeks!






  • You have to make sure that they are the right kind of mushrooms to grow because, even when edible, restaurants may not buy them because they could very well be the kinds that they do no use.

  • My parents, Vance and Carol Johnson, have been trying to grow mushrooms at their rabbit project with rabbit manure, but they cannot get a hold of the mushrooms-their spores. So you may have found what kind of mushrooms you want but getting a hold of the spores maybe a whole other matter

  • a major problem what mushrooms are when they are picked they do not last much longer, they have a limited shelf-life. So you would need to able to sell them with a steady stream of buyers 


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Possibility 2 -Farming Fertilizer



Farming is one of the most widespread jobs in world. If this is so widespread, would rabbit fertilizer be able to replace chemical fertilizer?






  • Chemical fertilizers have been avoided by most farmers because of their price (usually about $10/2 gal.). However, rabbits can be fed with food pellets for about 50 pesos for 5 months. If you can save this much money on growing plants, what else would you use?

  • Unlike carabao manure and other hot manures (burns plants when applied), it can be applied directly to the plants without consequence

  • because of the amount of room the rabbits take up, they have been found to be excellent for the urban setting, for home gardens. And because they do not smell if kept well, and do not make any noise at all.

  • And if you make more manure then you can use, you can sell it to your neighbors, showing them a new type of fertilizer at the same time.




  • although rabbits may give off a lot of manure each day, there is not enough manure for even a small plot of farming land (10ft by 10ft), you would have to have more than just 2 or 3 rabbits, but then you are able to just sell more of what you can get off the animal

  • to be able to use rabbits properly, they would have to be part of a system that would utilize all of the benefits of rabbits such as its fur, skin, and meat. But this leads to a larger income.



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Possibility 3 - Survey (Action Step)



A survey is taken to find out what people want or if they would enjoy a product. This would be used to find out even if people even need rabbit manure or even know what manure is. This is what I chose to do for my action step

I and my interpreter went out to workers quarters by faith academy to find out if they knew anything about the benefits of manure. But the workers were in fact still at work and were not home, but the pastor and his family still was. And to our surprise, they not only said that manure was very good for the plants, but were able to have some insight on the subject of chemical fertilizers. They even said that it was too expensive to be able to use as often as the packaging says!




We were led to this other group of people that also said that they had used carabao and chicken manure on their plants and could tell a significant difference in their plants when they began. But what struck us this time was their surprise that people from the school up on the hill were actually coming to talk to them and hold a conversation with them.




As we went along we met the barangay captain of valley golf and he told us that he used chicken manure on some of his plants and he said that it did help significantly







  • through a survey, it is much easier to see what they know about any foreknowledge about what you may want to talk about.

  • It may also tell you if its what people really want; do they want your product at all. It allows to speak to your audience in a more direct fashion A starting point as it were to teaching or giving them what you know/have.






  • if you do not have a large enough survey group, it can give you data that is not true with many people. To be able to teach a large group of people you would have to survey a lot more people than 15.


Future Directions




If a stable rabbit raising project could be started, it would be possible to begin to show your neighbors ways to do it by doing it yourself. Rabbit manure could be taken to begin growing plants on it to find out if indeed it is better than none or chemical fertilizers, or possibly other organic fertilizers from other animal


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Works Cited

Animal Diversity Web (August 2002):, Burton, J. A. (1991) Field guide to the mammals of Britain and Europe. Kingfisher Books, London., Leach, M. (1989) The rabbit. Shire Natural History, Shire Publications, Aylesbury., The Mammal Society. Mammal Factsheets (August 2002):, and Macdonald, D.W. and Tattershall, F.T. (2001) Britain's mammals- the challenge for conservation. The Wildlife Conservation research unit, Oxford. Available from:. "Rabbit - Oryctolagus cuniculus - Information - ARKive." ARKive - a unique collection of thousands of videos, images and fact-files illustrating the world's species. 2003. ARKive. 29 Apr. 2009 <http://www.arkive.org/rabbit/oryctolagus-cuniculus/info.html>.

"Issg Database: Ecology of Oryctolagus cuniculus." Global Invasive Species Database. Ed. Shyama Pagad. 19 June 2006. Invasive Species Specialist Group. 29 Apr. 2009 <http://www.invasivespecies.net/database/species/ecology.asp?fr=1&si=18&sts=>.

Johnson, Vance, and Carol Johnson. "Advantages and DIsadvantages with Potential Solutions." Telephone interview. 18 Apr. 2009.

Kuntz, Lion. "Rabbit manure fertilizer value ~ Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (NPK)." Introduction to PALACES For The PEOPLE - 21st century lifestyles, here, now. no creation date given. Ecosyn. 29 Apr. 2009 <http://ecosyn.us/ecocity/Links/My_Links_Pages/rabbit_manure01.html>.

Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association. "Biology of the Rabbit." Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association. no creation date given. Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association. 29 Apr. 2009 <http://www.lvma.org/rabbit.html>.

Meredith, Anna, and Lance Jepson. "Rabbits." EXOTICS DISEASES. no creation date given. Head of Exotic Animal Services/Honorary Lecturer in Exotic Animal Medicine. 29 Apr. 2009 <http://www.aquavet.i12.com/Rabbit.htm>.

TerraMar Environmental Research. "THE GENERAL BIOLOGY OF EUROPEAN RABBITS." University of Victoria - UVIC Communications. 03 Sept. 2008. University of Victoria. 29 Apr. 2009 <http://communications.uvic.ca/rabbits/assets/pdf/Excerpt%20-%20The%20General%20Biology%20of%20European%20Rabbits.pdf>.

Tislerics, A. "ADW: Oryctolagus cuniculus: Information." Animal Diversity Web. 2000. Interagency Education Research Initiative. 29 Apr. 2009 <http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Oryctolagus_cuniculus.html>.








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