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Rabbit Hutch Worm Farms

rabbit hutch wormfarmA 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:

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!

At Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm, we have been supplying worms for the last 40 years. Check out our live worms, mealworms, composters, and accessories.

14 comments on “Rabbit Hutch Worm Farms

  • We live in Michigan where it gets crazy cold in winter. At absolute best our layered worm bin can be out from May to October. We tried using it in the garage over winter, but ended up with an out of control fruit fly problem. What can we do after this summer to over winter our worms without our garage becoming the fruit fly capital of michigan?

    Reply
  • Ok, the rabbit hutch over your work bin idea sounds great, but like a lot of info given in the worm farming community, there’s a few conflicting things here. Mainly being I’ve read numerous accounts of people adding rabbit manure to there worm bins and the urine in the particular manure they used had so much salt it either killed their worms or made for a very unhappy bin and works on the run. My question is, why is this not mentioned as even say small problem here, and what is the actual truth behind rabbit manure and rabbit urine.

    Reply
  • I have the same question as Edwin:

    What do we do about rabbit urine?

    How to keep it from affecting the bin?

    Reply
  • The truth about rabbit manure is that you can put it straight into your garden!!! It is a cold manure and will not burn your plants, so there is no need to potentially kill off your worm population by trying to compost it. Also, rabbits can and will use a litterbox, especially if they are fixed and not living a sad life in a hutch. Find out what a binky is and do what you can to make a bunny happy. End rant.

    Reply
  • Nicole Marino says:

    That’s exactly what I was going to say about the cold nature of rabbit manure. Thanks for pointing it out, Ella. Not that I don’t appreciate the efficiency of this set up. It is great. Maybe under a chicken roost? Unless that’s too harsh? This is meant to be a constructive criticism. I used rabbit cage cleanings when I started my new garden bed this past summer/spring and it was gangbusters.

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  • Hey guys asking about the urine…if you feed your rabbits well it won’t happen.sre you giving them the salt blocks they sell,? Cuz that would increase the salt content tremendously. Plus foods that may not be ideal maybe…but slso it’s important to add water to your droppings about a 5to1 ratio…i believe he did mention that. You have drainage holds so it dilutes what’s in there and drains the excess.

    Reply
  • I already have bins under my hutches to catch poop and urine… I added straw to the bottom of the bins that was already under the hutch from before the bins… can you add the bedding over poop, urine and straw already in the bins… they are very deep bins.

    Reply
  • Honestly, if the holes are big enough for droppings to fall through, the floor will hurt the rabbits’ feet. They also have a fear of falling and every moment their instincts tell them they are about to fall. They also do not want to be near their waste and evolved/were designed to instinctively eliminate out of their burrows. If you have rabbits who don’t like to be held, bite, kick, and cower/run… It’s because they’re constantly stressed and in pain.
    People think of rabbits as cage/enclosure animals and therefore associate them with stinky, messy, hard to clean, and not cuddly. On the contrary, if rabbits are kept as domesticated pets or farm animals, even as livestock for meat, they’re better off kept similarly to an indoor cat or in a run with a safe hutch or enclosed house like chickens.
    Rabbits are very self-hygenic and instinctively avoid elimination of waste in their burrows/sleeping areas. Hutch/small cage enclosures add another layer of stress from the filth being all over their space. The hutch-over-worm bin set-up is like a human having to walk on attic rafters with no floor over an open basement cess-pit. Full of worms.
    You will also need to have at least 2, or socialize with them yourself CONSTANTLY. They are evolved/designed to be in large family groups and have free abundant access to grazing as well as heightened stress responses for safety from prey animals. Being on an open floor that hurts their feet with nowhere to exercise or get away from their waste is miserable.
    Stress leaves them as an injury threat to their keepers and prone to illness, disease, and parasites. I see no upside to this method.
    If you’re interested in low-maintenance rabbit keeping, consider keeping them as house-pets and look up how to litter-box train them. A rabbit tractor with multiple rabbits also allows them to be kept outside, constantly on fresh grazing, and droppings can be easily collected and moved to worm bin or garden, left to aid in restoring grazing, or followed with a chicken tractor as chickens really enjoy rabbit droppings.

    Reply
  • This is so cruel, how can you keep a rabbit living in a small cage like if it was a slave or not even a living being but machine that serves you specific purpose. Very inhumane, horrible. Poor creature

    Reply

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