Many people keep rabbits as pets. But there are many reasons why keeping rabbits could be worthwhile over and above companionship. Rabbits can be the perfect addition for those who are growing their own food in a polytunnel and for all those trying to live a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of life. It may seem amusing to talk about keeping rabbits for those who have suffered rabbits as a pest in the polytunnel or elsewhere in the garden. But as long as they are given the right conditions, and kept properly contained, rabbits can really come in handy. Here are some of the reasons to keep rabbits for polytunnel gardeners:
Rabbits will help you deal with food waste – closing the loop between the food you grow and your kitchen. They will act as 'composting' machines, eating vegetable scraps, reducing waste and making it easier than ever to return nutrients to your soil.
Rabbit droppings are a wonderful fertiliser for your garden and unlike other forms of manure, they can be used right away, as well as being added to the compost heap for later use. Rabbit manure is rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus and compares favourably with other common manures that are used in the garden.
Aside from the benefits to the garden soil and plants of keeping rabbits, rabbits could also play a role in creating a more sustainable way of life for your household by contributing meat (if you are a meat eater) for your household. Since rabbits breed, well, like rabbits, it is possible to produce healthy rabbit meat in a sustainable way in a smaller amount of space than would be required for most livestock. Some rabbits can also be used for their angora fur, which can be spun and made into lovely soft clothing in much the same way as sheep's wool.
Rabbits can be fun to have around, but there is more to this animal than you may imagine. They can be useful on a small farm or smallholding and could even be a good addition in a regular domestic garden. If you choose to keep your rabbits outdoors, whether they are pets or for profits, a properly prepared polytunnel can be a good place to locate their hutch and run over the winter months, to make sure they do not get too cold.