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Conditioning and keeping weight on lionhead show rabbits

Discussion in 'Feeding Time - Rabbits' started by Kirsten miller, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Jun 19, 2017
    Kirsten miller

    Kirsten miller Exploring the pasture

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    Hi y'all!
    So I've been raising rabbits for 15 years (minirex) and they were so easy to care for I have unlimited hay and pretty much food and everything was great I never had any issues. This year I decided to start raising lionheads and oh boy I'm going through trouble! I have 3 juniors and a senior brood doe that just don't eat enough, water is always there and I always make sure the bottles are working I give hay not everyday but they get it every few days (I used to feed unlimited hay and cut that because I thought that was the culperate) i also worm and don't believe in Giving any snacks, I feed blue seal show hutch deluxe I used to feed manna pro show and I was having issues with bloat which has since cleared up. I'm really hoping it isn't my feed because i feel like I've tried everything my other guys eat well and seem perfectly healthy. Your input with how you show condition your lionheads would be greatly appreciated!!!
    Thanks!
     
  2. Jun 19, 2017
    Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave True BYH Addict

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    I don't have Lion Heads, but keeping my NZW's at show weight, I use a 16% protein, alfalfa based pellet at abt a cup and a half a day for seniors. Juniors get free-fed.
    They also get Calf Mana that's abt 29% protein. 1 tsp for seniors, 1Tb for lactating moms, and approx 2 Tb for grow-outs and juniors. I don't do much treats, but do 1 tsp of black oil sunflower seeds, BOSS per bunny each day. It's good fiber, gives good coat shine, etc.
    I also give fresh red clover to the seniors occasionally and some rose petals every great once in a while as a treat.

    There's plenty of others on here that can help.
    @Bunnylady is my go to
     
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  3. Jul 7, 2017
    DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Loving the herd life

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    Do the rabbits just seem unenthusiastic about eating? They may not like their food. Feed some supplements, like oats(along with getting your rabbits more excited about eating, they add some vitality to the coat) or barley. What surprisingly works for keeping weight on rabbits is mangel beets. Sorry to be so blunt, but PLEASE give your rabbits access to unlimited amounts of hay. They need it to wear down their teeth. If you do not opt to feed hay, give them tree branches to gnaw on and wear down their teeth. You may not believe in giving snacks, but it may be neccessary to temporarily forget about that and treat your rabbits, to get them up to show weight. I don't have lionheads, but i breed and show Dutch, and the above information works amazingly on keeping them at a showable weight.
     
  4. Aug 27, 2017
    promiseacres

    promiseacres True BYH Addict

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    @Pastor Dave can you tell me the feed brand ? Not 100% happy with our heinhold, though debating on changing formulas instead of brands.
     
  5. Aug 29, 2017
    Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave True BYH Addict

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    I haven't had much time recently to log on here. I actually came by today to check and see abt our Texan-Gulf coastal members.
    I will look when I feed later at my brands of feed. I believe the Calf Manna is shipped around the country, but my rabbit feed is made in Terre Haute, IN and I think it may be just regional. It is pretty good though. Good green color and not much dust.
     
  6. Aug 29, 2017
    Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave True BYH Addict

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    The Calf Manna is a product of Manna Pro. I'm not sure how regional it is. I couldn't get a pic of it today, but am guessing you were more interested in the alfalfa feed.
    It is a product of Graham Feeds which is real regional. Here is a pic.

    20170829_090330.jpg
     
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  7. Aug 29, 2017
    LocoYokel

    LocoYokel Loving the herd life

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    I can't keep weight on my lionhead either, even with all the treats he gets. He is THE house bunny so he gets lots of raisins n peanuts. Nelson is very active, he even pushes his hidey-house to the middle of his floor so he can do laps around it. Silly guy even hides his toys n bowl inside (he has figured out how to lift the house over the bowl...)
    Nelson would have to be put in a much smaller hutch to gain weight, IMHO, where he couldn't be so active.
    20170819_214834.jpg
    I feed him 18% pellets, brand depends on which store I'm at. He gets 1/2 tsp. BOSS and a raisin (or 2) n 2 shelled peanuts every day. Free choice grass hay. I tried giving him a few pellets of Calf Manna daily but that seemed to up his activity level so he doesn't get that any more.
     
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  8. Aug 29, 2017
    Bunnylady

    Bunnylady True BYH Addict

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    I think the OP has been, in a sense, spoiled by raising Mini Rex. I remember a comment a friend made many years ago that relates to this. He raised Holland Lops, and I was showing him a litter of young MR's. He posed one, ran a hand over it, and said, "tell me again - what's the surgery you do to remove the pin bones?" He was joking; of course, there is no such surgery. But he had been unable to get any of his Hollands perfectly filled out and smooth, and all of these Mini Rex had great bodies; hence the humorous leap in logic that the reason he couldn't feel the hip bones was that they simply weren't there. It wasn't anything I was doing - at the time, I also had Jersey Woolies that were little scarecrows under their wool! The deal was that the people who developed the Mini Rex had not just focused on coat, they had worked hard to keep good type in the breeding population. It paid off - like a lot of new breeds, the Mini Rex exploded in popularity when it was introduced, but it started winning Best in Show at ARBA conventions within a few years of becoming a recognized breed. Lionheads suffer from the same problem the Jersey Woolies had- people have been so obsessed with the coat, they are forgetting to work on type, and the genetics for full, muscular bodies gets lost. Both Woolies and Lionheads have a lot of Netherland Dwarf in their background; I have handled enough ND's to know that there are good, solid bodies to be found in that breed. It is possible to get well filled out animals, but if your breeding stock haven't got the genetics for it, no feeding or exercise program will make up for the genes that aren't there. If you want good bodies, you have to start with breeders that have good bodies. Good + good may not always equal better, but bad + bad almost never gets you more than mediocre. If a rabbit comes from stock that have thin-muscled, bony backs, and it has had a thin-muscled, bony back from the time it left the nest box, then you can overfeed it to the point of obesity, and it will still have a thin-muscled, bony back (and judges know the difference between fat and muscle!).
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  9. Sep 3, 2017
    DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Loving the herd life

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    Exactly @Bunnylady. Those new to rabbits will usually pick out rabbits that fit the breed standard exactly in everything but type, and expect to win GC certificate at every show they enter. They breed the rabbits, and keep the never ending cycle of rabbits with bad types going. Way too many times people have shown me a Dutch they think is the best thing since sliced bread because of its markings, but it has the type of a Tan.
     
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  10. Sep 4, 2017
    promiseacres

    promiseacres True BYH Addict

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    Definitely discovering this is a problem within Velveteen lops.. I know a particular breeder who has recently reintroduced a small rex to her breeding program to get better hindquarters. I am definitely trying to breed my best to best. But know genetics are playing into it.
     
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