Feeding Practices ~ Rabbits

Pinecones

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Started, finished, sustained on hay and occasional forage. Summertime they're usually on mixed grass hay, wintertime usually alfalfa/grass mix.
I've gone through phases of feeding them mixed whole grains (non-GMO, no-spray, as is the hay), but they get addicted and refuse to eat their hay when I do that.
I also go through phases of offering my loose goat minerals, they nibble at it now and again.

Forage includes anything non-poisonous that grows naturally, including trees, shrubs, grasses, kitchen scrap, and garden trimmings.

I raise rabbits for meat, my breeders are up to 6 years old right now, 10lbs+, and have always been on pure hay. Once in a while I have a kit that stays 50% smaller than the others, and then conversely kits that grow 20% faster than the others. I keep the bigs and eat the littles, and each generation seems to get a little bigger :)
 

AmberLops

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I raise Holland Lops for pet and show and I feed them Kalmbach Non-GMO 16% pellets.
I have seen less issues and birthing/kit problems since I've started feeding my rabbits non-GMO feed.
They get 1/2 cup of pellets a day.
My does get rolled oats at the last week of pregnancy and until their kits are 2 weeks old.
Free-feed Orchard grass hay and dandelion greens from the yard occasionally.
Sometimes I will hand out pieces of carrots/apples but they usually don't eat them. :bunny
I just moved to Tennessee in February so i'm not sure yet how my feeding methods will change seasonally!
 

Baymule

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I raise Holland Lops for pet and show and I feed them Kalmbach Non-GMO 16% pellets.
I have seen less issues and birthing/kit problems since I've started feeding my rabbits non-GMO feed.
They get 1/2 cup of pellets a day.
My does get rolled oats at the last week of pregnancy and until their kits are 2 weeks old.
Free-feed Orchard grass hay and dandelion greens from the yard occasionally.
Sometimes I will hand out pieces of carrots/apples but they usually don't eat them. :bunny
I just moved to Tennessee in February so i'm not sure yet how my feeding methods will change seasonally!
When I showed rabbits I gave them an eye dropper of wheat germ oil daily, available at Feed store. It made their fur shine, I almost always won first in the fur classes.
 

AmberLops

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When I showed rabbits I gave them an eye dropper of wheat germ oil daily, available at Feed store. It made their fur shine, I almost always won first in the fur classes.
Good to know!!!
I'll do that...thanks!! :highfive:
Do I just put it directly on their food?
 

Baymule

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Good to know!!!
I'll do that...thanks!! :highfive:
Do I just put it directly on their food?
Just go down the row of cages with the eyedropper, once they get it a few times, they will hit the wire for you to stick the eye dropper through. Do you ever groom them with glycerin?
 

AmberLops

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Just go down the row of cages with the eyedropper, once they get it a few times, they will hit the wire for you to stick the eye dropper through. Do you ever groom them with glycerin?
Got it!
And no I haven't done that...Does that work? And how do I do that??
 

Baymule

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I mixed a little glycerin in a spray bottle of water. Spray the rabbit, just lightly damp, not wet. Then rub hands back and forth over the rabbit. This is good to do when they are blowing their coat, it really gets the shedding fur out and the glycerin puts a good condition and shine on the new fur.
 

Baymule

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Let's see, what else do I remember? Oh! Barley. Barley puts some pretty fur on the rabbit and gives it some hardbody muscle structure. I had a feeder for pellets and one for a mix of barley, oats and milo. I dumped out the leftovers on the ground. I had a chicken coop attached to the rabbit barn and they ate the dropped pellets and grains, scratched and turned the poop, ate fly larva and kept everything clean and smell free. Sometimes I dumped the uneaten grains in a bucket and tossed over the fence for the Bob White quail. Nothing goes to waste! LOL
 

AmberLops

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Let's see, what else do I remember? Oh! Barley. Barley puts some pretty fur on the rabbit and gives it some hardbody muscle structure. I had a feeder for pellets and one for a mix of barley, oats and milo. I dumped out the leftovers on the ground. I had a chicken coop attached to the rabbit barn and they ate the dropped pellets and grains, scratched and turned the poop, ate fly larva and kept everything clean and smell free. Sometimes I dumped the uneaten grains in a bucket and tossed over the fence for the Bob White quail. Nothing goes to waste! LOL
Great ideas!! Thanks so much. Looks like i'm going out to buy some glycerin, barley and wheat germ oil!
 

Kotori

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I don't have anything to contribute there, but with keeping the big ones I'd wager you're losing some feed efficiency. there was a long term study done in Australia with cattle on this concept and resulted in the lowline breed. Here is a link: https://www.thecattlesite.com/breeds/beef/103/lowline/. the short version is slow growth is more energy-efficient for the animal. with cattle, the difference is pretty poignant but I bet the difference is small with rabbits. Of course, if you feed the same amount and increase the weight that would translate to greater efficiency, unless they're eating more hay... Sorry, just something I had thought of that seems less relevant the more I think of it!
 
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