What would you say if someone told you that rabbits are special animals – the third most adopted animal from shelters? Did you know that when back to school time comes around each year high numbers of domestic rabbits are ‘dumped’ into wild habitat? (more than at any other time of year) Did you know that WPHS bunnies are sometimes at the shelter for a few years before they are adopted? Now grateful bunnies are giving back; and giving much more than adorable antics and lots of love.
We have always known bunnies are adorable but local farmers and gardeners now have the chance to find out that rabbits do give generously. Every time they go to the bathroom, they provide the perfect fertilizer.
Spreading the word about rabbit manure’s incredible fertilizing abilities are Suaz Forsythe and Alyssa O’Toole, the founders of Rabbit Wranglers. Suaz describes rabbit as “unique animals” that aren’t always given the same chance that cats or dogs are. They have personalities and qualities both similar and different from dogs and cats that make them extremely lovable.
And like I mentioned earlier, another characteristic of rabbits is that they have unique, ahem, poo! “Rabbit poop is considered cold compost,” Suaz explained. “It’s actually ready to go into the garden immediately without composting.”
Currently Rabbit Wranglers has a partnership with Steel City Soils, a food-waste recycling company dedicated to urban agriculture. The group has its own farm in the East End which needs organic compost. Ultimately Rabbit Wranglers hopes to have a donation project set up where rabbit owners throughout the city can donate rabbit litter in Tubbermaid bins, which would be provided by the recycling company itself. The bins would then go back to the Construction Junction in the East End on designated days and times.
“Getting this information out there in the public is what we’re working on,” she said. “One of our volunteers originally contacted the garden to see this as a possibility. Right now, this is a way for rabbits to give back to the community. We would love to find a way to get people who want rabbit manure to come to the shelter and have this as an option for local gardeners.”
So far, response to her awareness programs about rabbit manure is positive. “I work at a shelter and I have people come up to me asking if I have rabbit poop for their gardens,” Suaz said. “People out there do know how good it is.
With the compost project in its ground phases, Rabbit Wranglers can now focus on its main projects while test running the compost experiment. Suaz explains that Rabbit Wranglers main objective – caring for medically ill rabbits and capturing the increasing numbers of dumped rabbits – are more important than ever.
“I knew a service like this to help with rabbit care was needed, but I had no idea how needed it was. Our phones now ring all the time…this is a necessary service.” If you know a bunny that needs a helping hand, or are a gardener interested in cold compost, contact us right away!
by Larissa Gula