A rabbit hutch is a mess unless you can automatically dispose of the waste. Rabbit poop, urine, spilled food and water, and bedding need to be cleaned out of the hutch regularly. Did you know that a rabbit hutch wormfarm cleans itself? Waste falls through the floor of the bunny hutch, straight into a composter populated by worms. The results are a clean hutch and valuable organic fertilizer. How do you make a Rabbit Hutch Worm Farm?
Step 1: Prepare
The design involves two pieces of hardware: a rabbit hutch and a composting bin.
The hutch needs to be off the ground, high enough to fit composting bins. If your bunny hutch is not high enough, raise it. The hutch should have a floor with lots of small holes in it. The rabbit waste will fall through these holes.
Depending on the size of your hutch, you might need more than one composting bin. The bin will hold worm bedding, composting worms, and rabbit waste. Worm bins can be made from:
- a plastic tote – see our video on making a composting bin from a tote.
- A tray-based composting bin
- Home-made using wood, cinder blocks, or bricks
The sides of your worm bin need to be at least 10 inches tall — ideally deeper. Make sure the bin is large enough to catch everything falling out the bottom of the rabbit hutch. You might need more than one bin to cover the area.
The bin needs to have drainage holes. Otherwise, the bedding will get too wet, causing odors and possibly harming the worms.
Step 2: Set Up the Worm Bin
The worm bin needs bedding. This is where the composting worms will live. The worms will be busy helping to break down the organic waste. They will be happiest if you give them a cozy home to move around in. Bedding can be made from a mixture pure peat moss, leaves composted over the winter, shredded black ink newspaper, coconut coir, shredded brown corrugated cardboard, shredded unbleached paper, or aged compost. You can also order ready-to-use worm farm bedding online.
Sit some water out overnight to allow any chlorine to evaporate. Then stir the bedding and water together in the worm bin. Aim to have 2″ or more of bedding to start. Keep adding water and stirring until the bedding has the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.
Now add your composting worms. Order the worms online from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm. Typically, you would use Red Worms for composting rabbit poop. Red Worms are also known as manure worms. They are completely at home under a rabbit hutch. Alternatively, you can order Super Reds (European Night Crawlers). Super Reds are larger and they double as fishing worms. When the worms arrive, place them on top of the bedding. The worms will dig their way in.
Slide the worm bin under the hutch. Add rabbits to the hutch, and they will naturally provide the worms with nourishment. (Note: If your rabbits aren’t in the hutch yet, feed kitchen scraps to the worms every two days or so.) This worm bin will not need a lid. The rabbits will poop directly into the worm bin.
Step 3: Maintain the Rabbit Hutch Worm Farm
Since your rabbits need regular tending, you can easily keep an eye on your worm bin. Watch out for signs of trouble, including:
- Foul odor beyond the usual bunny waste smell. See our odor troubleshooting guide.
- Excess moisture. If moisture squeezes through your fingers when you squeeze a handful of bedding, make sure the drainage holes are open. You might need to add material to dry out the bin a bit.
- Overly dry bedding. Slowly add dechlorinated water using a clean watering can or hose with a spray nozzle. Stir. Repeat until the bedding has the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.
Rabbit droppings are considered a “cool” form of manure. Rabbits are herbivores, and their waste can be fed directly to worms. Rabbit poop, urine and dropped food scraps provide a good mix of moisture and “green & brown” composting material.
Other types of manure need to be “cured” before composting with worms. Bovine and equine manure must sit outside for one or more seasons. The rain will wash away excess salts. These types of animals take de-worming medicine that needs time to be neutralized.
Waste from pets such as cats and dogs cannot be composted in a worm bin. They are meat eaters. Their waste contains parasites and other pathogens. However, pet fur can be composted.
Step 4: Reap the Benefits
Whenever the bin gets full, or you need some fertilizer, harvest the worm castings. Farmers call worm castings “black gold”. Use worm castings on your plants to help them grow. Separate some of the dark worm castings from the worms and any uncomposted material.
Need only a small amount of fertilizer? Dig some out with a spade. If you need more, follow our instructions for harvesting worm castings. The bunnies might deposit waste on the floor while the bin is gone. Simply place a tarp under the hutch to make cleanup easier.
Rabbits and composting worms are a perfect match. You will have much less cleanup and fewer odors with a rabbit hutch worm farm. As an added benefit, anytime you need free fertilizer or fishing worms, you have a ready supply. Save time, save money, and reduce waste!