Using Rabbits to Mow Your Lawn: Free Food and Fuel-free Yard Care

Did you know that rabbits double as lawn mowers?  Using them to mow your lawn not only offers you a way to feed your little bunnies for free, but it also saves you money on fuel costs and lawnmower maintenance.  We started our rabbit population with just over handful of cute little rabbits we acquired from a barter/trade.  Six to be exact.




When we brought them to the farm, it seemed silly to keep them in a cage and bring food to them.  After all, they eat a lot of grass and other things we find growing all over our front yard.



Instead of bringing the food to them, we decided to take our rabbits to their food.



And that also brought their natural fertilizer to the yard (ie poop and pee).  Instead of cleaning out cages and carrying their waste to the compost pile, only later to be added to the garden or yard, we avoid all that extra work by bringing the rabbits to the yard.



Hmmm…  sounds too easy for a method called Management Intensive Rotational Grazing (MIRT for short).



It sounds like a lot of work when you consider the need to move the rabbits to new areas regularly,



but to me MIRT sounds a heck of a lot easier than having to build a special area for the rabbits or dedicate a building to them.  MIRT also sounds easier than hauling food to the rabbits every day and it sounds way easier than cleaning out dirty cages and carrying the waste to the compost.  It’s easier on my back than pushing a lawnmower and it saves money in fuel costs.  Rabbits don’t need gas or oil to mow the lawn.  I think it’s a lot easier than keeping them caged, actually. There are a couple ways that we’ve successfully employed MIRT for our rabbits. 



The first one is the cheaper option.  So, what are those ways?


Using an old, wire dog kennel, we removed the bottom of it (the tray that lays in the bottom as well as the wire underneath).  This gives the rabbits unobstructed access to the grass below.  They get to work eating and you…  well, you can go do something else for a while!  Just be sure to provide them with shade.  And it’s easy to attach a rabbit waterer to the side of this cage for hot days when bunnies need more water than found in grass and weeds.

Don’t think cute little creature can do a good job mowing the lawn?  Think again!  We used the dog cage MIRT system to make this path through the side of a hay field and the yard.  Rabbits eat (and eat and eat) off and on all day and then they do even more eating at night.In addition to using a dog cage, once the rabbits are big enough, you can separate them by sex and enclose them a small area using electric fencing.  We currently house our bucks in the dog cages, while our does are inside electric poultry netting.  Just be sure to provide the bunnies with some sort of housing or protection from the sun and any rain that may come.  We found an old dog kennel and took it apart.  It separates into two pieces.  We just use each piece as a shelter for the rabbits.

Don’t these bunnies look cozy?  They’re snuggled up to their bird friends in a homemade outdoor brooder (instructions here), stealing some shade from their roof.

Don’t these does look like they’re enjoying their space and freedom?  I love knowing that my animals are happy.

This little angel is Hoppe, named by (and after!) a very good friend of mine, Katie.  Don’t you think she’s adorable?  She’s my favorite rabbit here and the most loving too.  She loved to cuddle and follows me around when I’m inside the electric fence.  I can’t wait to see what kind of mom she is when we breed her!