Wednesday, June 20, 2012

GMO-Free Rabbit Manure?

There is some absurdity to the organic ethic.  I do not want to use chemical fertilizers on my garden, so I have procured rabbits to produce manure I can use for fertilizer.  But even though my bunnies help me avoid granulated 10-10-10 and Miracle Gro, there is no easy way to make sure my rabbit fertilizer is completely pure.

The definitive book on raising rabbits is Bob Bennet’s Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits, and in this book the author presents as unequivocal fact that pelleted rabbit feed is the best food for captive rabbits.

Pelleted food is easy—I get it in ten-pound bags at my local Tractor Supply store for $4.99. Several weeks ago, however, a comment on a blog post asked me if my rabbit feed, and subsequent poo/manure/fertilizer, was free of GMOs. 

I had quibbled over the issue of GMO rabbit feed for some time, but the convenience and price of my rabbit pellets caused me to ignore the problem.  The primary ingredients of my rabbit pellets are wheat, alfalfa, soybeans, and corn derivatives.  The USDA approved the use of GMO alfalfa in January 2011, and most folks know that soybeans and corn are classic GMO crops.  No matter what I’m buying, I assume that products contain GMO ingredients unless the packaging tells me otherwise—USDA Organic certification, for instance, guarantees that no GMO ingredients have been used.

If I could buy GMO-free rabbit feed at Tractor Supply, I would, even if I had to pay a little more, but that isn’t an option.  The best option that I’ve found is a product by Oxbow, but it costs over three times as much, not to mention shipping costs.

The best solution I’ve found is to grow my own rabbit feed, and the best options seem to be timothy hay and/or alfalfa.  So when one of my raised beds finishes its run of veggies, the rabbit crop will go in.  Actually, I might just sow the stuff along my property line or see if I can somehow incorporate it into my landscaping as I already use native ornamental grasses.

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