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Conflicting info - please help

Discussion in 'Meat Rabbits' started by Suzy74, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Dec 31, 2017
    Suzy74

    Suzy74 Chillin' with the herd

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    We are in the process of setting up our small rabbitry. We would like to finish them on pasture, but have also heard to NEVER to feed young rabbits greens. So I guess i'm confused on how pasture finished rabbits works. Can someone clarify? Thanks!
     
  2. Dec 31, 2017
    Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave True BYH Addict

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    I would guess their systems have to get use to it gradually. It will also slow down their growth and probably change up the flavor of the meat. Do you plan to supplement other pellet feed or grains?

    The young born to a doe already accustomed to this style of eating will not need to change over gradually. They will have the nutrients in the milk and begin nibbling on some if mom's food. I don't think it would work well to go back and forth on feeding styles. I would think you need to pick and stick with one or the other.

    I feed alfalfa pellet feed at 16% protein and supplement in grass hay each night. I also use BOSS and Calf Mana as a supplement.
    My herd gets a few pickings of red clover and rose blooms when in season just as a treat.
     
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  3. Dec 31, 2017
    Bossroo

    Bossroo True BYH Addict

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    The question is WHY ? Pasture raising is very inefficient and will cost more to raise them to slaughter waight in terms of rate of gain, time and labor. Also, there is a huge increase risk of getting all mannor of pathogens increasing the chances of illness and mortality.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
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  4. Dec 31, 2017
    Tale of Tails Rabbitry

    Tale of Tails Rabbitry Loving the herd life

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    I begin giving my bunnies a few greens as soon as they are interested in eating them, usually around 3 to 4 weeks they start trying to get nibbles when I feed their mother some greens. Organic cilantro seems to be a favorite first green and it really is not much more than a taste the first few weeks. However, a steady supply of greens we do not do; greens remain the smallest portion of their diet.

    I am in agreement with Bossroo about the parasite and bacteria issues that come from having rabbits on the ground. I will not even consider buying from other breeders unless they keep their rabbits off the ground.
     
  5. Dec 31, 2017
    DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Loving the herd life

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    The moisture content of green food can wreak havoc on the digestive system of young rabbits if they have been fed only dry food all their lives. If you are going to give kits greens, introduce it to them as soon as they can chew. Otherwise, wait until their digestive systems are more developed.
     
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  6. Jan 4, 2018
    alsea1

    alsea1 True BYH Addict

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    Rabbits can indeed be tricky. The digestive system is so easily upset at weaning time.
    I have thought about trying to raise them in a colony setting but still have mine in cages. I would rather see them frolicking about but am still on the fence about it.
     
  7. Jan 19, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 Loving the herd life

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    It depends on how old they are. If you are feeding them greens such as winter wheat sprouts from the time they jump or of the nest then they should be fine. If they've been on pellets for a bit them slowly introduce them to the greens otherwise you run the risk of loose stools. If that happens simply give them some tums, hay and some oats, like you were going to make oatmeal.
     
  8. Jan 23, 2018
    Missmonty

    Missmonty Chillin' with the herd

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    Depending on the time of year I try to give my babies fresh greens early on. In the summers I often rotate my breeders on grass to graze. This helps cut down on some of our feed costs. Whenever I have new mommas I tend to actually go out with my kids (they're 4 and 2 so they love helping with this) and a bucket and pull some grass to give to them in the cage. Generally once the babies start exploring foods they try a bit out, I try to do this at least a few times a week depending on weather. Basically whenever momma would normally get a turn outside if she didn't have babies I would pull her some grass. Once they're about 5-6 weeks I'll let them actually graze out on the grass.

    I do still offer pellets as usual tho, I just cut back on some of the other "extras" I feed when they're eating grass.

    I breed Standard Rex and I haven't noticed anything like slower growth rates or anything like that.