[Market-farming] Buying Manure

Robin Follette marketfarmer at thymeforewe.com
Wed Jul 7 08:06:09 EDT 2004

> What about you? (Remember: this doesn't involve loading or hauling by 
> the rabbit breeder. I shovel the manure from right where he'd put it 
> if I wasn't taking it.) Would you pay for manure? Do you pay for 
> manure now?

I can speak from both sides of this.  Until the drought caused well problems for us 2 1/2 years ago we owned a commercial rabbit meat business.  We kept 200 does, 15-20 bucks and hundreds of kits to fryer size at a time.   We have only nine rabbits now.  I'd pay a small amount for a big load of rabbit manure.  There's never enough from nine rabbits for two acres of garden.  Here are a couple of things to consider.

The breeder is spending time moving the manure from the rabbitry to the place you're picking it up.  Like yours, his time is worth something.  This isn't just manure in the same way you aren't growing just vegetables.  It's fertilizer and soil amendment.  Rabbit manure is excellent and takes no work beyond shoveling and spreading to use.  It's not heavy to move like horse or cow manure.  There are no weed seeds, antibiotics, wormers, bedding or other things to think about.  Any pelleted food that falls down into the manure can go directly into the garden.   There is no need for composting as long as it's not urine soaked.  There are big advantages to using rabbit manure.  It's a valuable product.  I want the convenience factor of rabbit manure over the time and work it takes to turn the compost piles.

Flip side - if the breeder has a large number of rabbits they've got a lot of manure to handle.   Manure needs to be managed appropriately to avoid problems.  It's time consuming.  Too much of this good thing can be bad.  When someone wanted it and I had enough in my garden (which was much smaller then because my time was tied up in the rabbitry) I let a few people come haul it off for their own use.  I was usually glad to see it go.  It's been talked about in your newspaper now.  More people know what it is.    If you don't buy it it's likely that someone else will.  I would rather have the dependable person like you who wanted a truck load.  Those people knew where the pile was, how to get to it and didn't forget to shut the gate.  I avoided the back yard gardener who wanted a few five gallon buckets.  They were too time consuming.

Have you asked about bartering vegetables they don't grow themselves for the manure?  Or, if they'll let you into the rabbitry you could barter the labor.  They wouldn't have to do the shoveling and you'd get the product.  It would save them valuable time.  It's not as easy for you to take it from the rabbitry as it is the pile though.

The rabbit breeder isn't getting rich off the rabbits.  $5-$10 for a full pickup load seems fair.  You get what you need, they get a few dollars, all can be happy.  If you can find manure that's just as good, as close or closer, and free, go with free by all means.  How much as they asking for a load?

>You also need to educate them about the finances of farming, my friend!

Sounds to me like they know and would like to help their own finances.

Robin Follette
   minding my peas and cukes at
Thyme For Ewe Farm

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