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Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Advice on purchasing or constructing cages and hutches for your rabbitry.
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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#16  Unread postby bubba man » Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:32 pm


so you say i should use straw instead of hay

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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#17  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:20 am


bubba man wrote:so you say i should use straw instead of hay

First off, - no, I am not saying you should feed straw instead of hay...

In order to answer the question -- "what would be better for you", ..I would have to understand your feed program.
let me explain...
I do not feed rabbit pellets...I feed root crops,weeds, and kale, as my primary sources of rabbit nutrition. Rabbits need long stem fiber to have proper gut motility. The diet I provide [root crops, weeds, and kale] is very low in long stem fiber..
so ,-the needed Long stem fiber is provided by the feeding of -Hay, corn stalks, J. artichoke tops, or ..straw.

I have a garden, I grow family food, and livestock food. Rabbits are a part of that program. In that context... "I" would rather use straw for a source of long stem fiber, than weed seed filled hay. [Because,.. weed seeds cause me years of extra work weeding, I already spend several hours a week weeding ,to keep them removed from the garden].
**The rabbits would be happier , if I could find a good weed-seed free hay.

If you are feeding a rabbit pellet as your primary feed, Then you can use whatever you wish for extra fiber and or bedding, because the nutrition requirements of your rabbits are being met by the "complete feed" in your rabbit pellets.
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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#18  Unread postby akane » Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:46 pm


Most grass hay in Iowa is best summed up as simply calling it "weed hay". Nearly all livestock are fed legume hay and grass hay sold is whatever in the heck people bale between the corn fields. I've certainly never seen named grass hay and had to bring it over the state line myself until feed stores started shipping in straight timothy. Not worth the cost though. Alfalfa or clover are 50/50 for quality. Not sure if it's just how fast plants fill back in an area resulting in it being extremely difficult to keep a clean field here or that no one demands that kind of quality so no one grows it.
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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#19  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:16 am


akane wrote:Most grass hay in Iowa is best summed up as simply calling it "weed hay". Nearly all livestock are fed legume hay and grass hay sold is whatever in the heck people bale between the corn fields. I've certainly never seen named grass hay and had to bring it over the state line myself until feed stores started shipping in straight timothy. Not worth the cost though. Alfalfa or clover are 50/50 for quality. Not sure if it's just how fast plants fill back in an area resulting in it being extremely difficult to keep a clean field here or that no one demands that kind of quality so no one grows it.


If i should end up having to feed weedy hay, I will certainly be creating a compost pile, and then, using a lot of black plastic in my gardens.. I have had mixed success killing off all of the weed seed with composting-- even though the compost looks like it heated well, and I carefully remove the top and side layer that is not "heated well" - I still get a lot of weed seeds germinating sometimes...
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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#20  Unread postby akane » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:39 pm


I got some type of weird nettle or low thistle that utterly took over once from the hay. It poked through gardening gloves and jeans as it spread about a foot high across all the garden plots. I ended up actually abandoning the area since the giant black walnut was giving me issues anyway and I'd had to haul in several tons of dirt just to get started.
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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#21  Unread postby bubba man » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:55 pm


so what do i do with the hay already in my compost and when i clean the hutch which is every 2 days how do i get the poop seperated from the hay - and should i go for good with straw

-- Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:55 pm --

what if i just stop using hay - what could i use so they would be warm in the cold nights

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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#22  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:49 am


bubba man wrote:so what do i do with the hay already in my compost and when i clean the hutch which is every 2 days how do i get the poop seperated from the hay - and should i go for good with straw

-- Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:55 pm --

what if i just stop using hay - what could i use so they would be warm in the cold nights


If you are feeding rabbit pellets [I didn't see where you said what you were feeding] then... using straw, or pine shavings for bedding is fine.
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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#23  Unread postby bubba man » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:47 pm


will the straw break down cause it`s goin into my raised beds

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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#24  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:06 pm


bubba man wrote:will the straw break down cause it`s goin into my raised beds

yes...
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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#25  Unread postby bubba man » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:09 pm


will straw give me the weeds i sooo don`t want in my garden ?

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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#26  Unread postby MaggieJ » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:35 pm


Think about it . . . straw is the stems of grain plants. The seeds are harvested as grain and the straw is what's left. There could be a few seeds left in it, but not enough to matter.

Bubba man, you have a bunch of threads on the go, some of which are more or less on the same topic. This is counter-productive.
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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#27  Unread postby Nymphadora » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:15 pm


As a rule of thumb, if it's organic material it will eventually break down. And while I understand the desire to minimize extra weeds, there will always be some weeds popping up in the garden sooner or later. There's really very little that can be done to completely prevent a weed here or there.

As Maggie, Michael, and others have mentioned, straw will be less likely to introduce abundant weeds into your gardens compared to hay, and it is a generally safe bedding for rabbits. As feed, straw doesn't provide much other than maybe long-stem fibers, but as long as you are providing a balanced diet your rabbits should be fine. Good luck!

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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#28  Unread postby akane » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:59 pm


Straw is often better for bedding, hides, or nest boxes than hay because of the reasons it doesn't break down as quickly as hay. It is more resistant to moisture and doesn't mold as easy if it's been harvested mature enough and dried properly. Moldy hay (or straw but less likely to occur) can certainly kill your rabbits. I lost a guinea pig to some that got peed on under the hay rack. With less mold or bacteria growing on the straw that also means it can take a bit longer to turn into soil but it all does eventually. Certainly still faster than shavings do. It also insulates better than hay. It's less absorbent so even more useless to soak up pee but hay is not so great for that either.

The fact it has so little nutrients left in it though makes it of limited use as feed and rabbits are far less likely to even bother eating it. If it still has grain heads they will eat those and leave most of the straw. They also get very little from straw when they do eat it. It's pretty much only a source of fiber and they may or may not eat enough to make much of a difference if they are getting nothing else from it. Sometimes they won't even bother to eat much hay if it's not fresh enough or a good enough quality. Most people feeding a rabbit pellet don't even bother with hay or straw except to have something to fill nest boxes or occasionally hide boxes if their rabbits are caged outside a building. The rabbits eating it is only a secondary thing that happens because it's being used to insulate or cushion an area.

Wire cages don't need bedding and bulky hay or straw clogs trays to make it worse to clean. A thin layer of shavings or often just something like barn/ag lime or sweet pdz to neutralize urine smell is more commonly used. If you have solid bottom cages or hutches I'd definitely concentrate on something absorbent like shavings. Pine pellets will break down a bit faster than shavings while being far more absorbent and usually are my first choice. Overall straw is for warmth and hay is for food while other things make much more suitable bedding for cleanliness with less potential headaches. Certainly there are exceptions and reasons for them but that depends on the details of what you are doing already and what your goal is.
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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#29  Unread postby olafthebunny » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:31 am


We heap all of our rabbits poop into a corner of our yard, as well as all the soiled hay, and from what I've seen, it's composted with the poop, so I would say yes, I guess.
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Re: Will hay compost along with rabbit poop?

Post Number:#30  Unread postby Truckinguy » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:50 am


Straw and rabbit poop will compliment each other in the compost pile, straw is the carbon component and the poop is the nitrogen. There are recommendations as to the proper percentages (70% carbon, 30% nitrogen if I recall correctly?) but I just pile everything from the property in the compost bins and it breaks down just fine. I have six compost bins about 48" cubed and they take dirty bedding (straw, shavings), chicken, duck, rabbit and turkey poop, butchering offal, kitchen scraps, dead animals, grass clippings and other yard debris, it all comes out as a nice black compost. it's about a two year process for each bin. My point is that everything organic will break down in a compost bin just fine over time.


My rabbits have been on straw bedding out in the colony for a few years now. Whenever I change the bedding out they will munch on the fresh stuff for a while. They have their general pee corner which needs to be cleaned out a bit more often but I find the poop pellets work their way down through the straw as the rabbits hop around on it so it keeps them pretty clean and not in much contact with it.

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