Meat Rabbit feeding sugestions

Jesse1983

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Hello all I am new to raising rabbits and was wondering what amount of feed and the type I should be using? To shed a little light on what I am currently doing now I will explain: First of all we have 1 6month old New Zealand Red buck, 1 6month old New Zealand Red doe, and 1 3month old New Zealand Red doe crossed with a New Zealand White I believe. The 2 does I am feeding 1 cup of Manna Pro Gro and a full small animal hay rack of baled timothy hay. Is this a good feeding regimen? The buck we are feeding the same small animal sized hay rack of baled timothy hay and 1 cup of Country Feed complete Nutrition for all rabbits. And at what age should you stop feeding the Manna Pro Gro? I also have read that you should not be giving your rabbits timothy hay until they are between the ages of 7months to a year old. Is this true and if so does anybody know why and if it will harm the bunnies if given at earlier age. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
 

animalmom

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Welcome to BYH! Glad you found us, and tickled pink to have you here! A big howdy from North Central Texas, where the stars at night are big and bright.

I raise California and they are comparable to you NZ's in size. I have five rabbits that are 4.5 months old. They have access to coastal hay. Four of the rabbits enjoy peanuts in the shell and get 3 or 4 each morning, the buck who doesn't like peanuts gets three or four raisins in the afternoon. In the late afternoon when I feed them, they get 1/2 cup each of a 16% protein pellet that is from a local mill. They also get 1 teaspoon of black oil sunflower seeds just before I shut them down for the night. All are growing out very well. A half cup is plenty of pellets for these guys.

You don't want fat rabbits as fat rabbits will not breed. When you rub your hand down the rabbit's back it should feel fleshed out especially over the hips. If you feel hip bones up the ration a little. If you are not feeling any definition to ribs, loin and hip, or in other words if your rabbit is round then cut back on the pellets.

For chew toys they get small alfalfa cubes that the goats graciously share with the rabbits.

My rabbits also get a small handful of alfalfa stems about once a week, more often if the goats are being picky.

Regarding Timothy use, if what you are giving is dried, not fresh, then you are good to go. My understanding is young rabbits, under 6 months, should not have fresh green grass because of the moisture content and the possibility of upsetting their gut function. Anything dried is good. Then again it also depends on what the mothers were fed, and how early other feed items were introduced. I take the cautious route and withhold fresh fruit and vegetables until they are over 6 months.

Helpful? Please let us know if you have any questions, comments and above all please post pictures. Posting pictures of your rabbit setup may give others ideas as to how they could add rabbits to their livestock. You have no idea how much we love pictures. Please and thank you very much.
 

Hopalong Causually

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I have been working with nearly the exact same numbers of the nearly exact same breed rabbits for over a year. Of course mine are a bit older. I have had no problems feeding them each about 3/4 cup of 16% protein pellets daily with the does getting as much as they want when they are pregnant or nursing kits. I supplement that with a liberal handful of timothy hay each day. I used to give them alfalfa hay but read that that can cause excessive calcium in their urine. They do seem to produce less calcium in the urine since switching to timothy hay. I've also been giving the timothy hay to all the kits and don't see any problems. I'm not implying that this is what others should do, just saying what seems to have been working OK for me.
 

Jesse1983

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We just got the rabbits about 3 days ago. The buck and older doe were housed together in a 30x30 cage outdoors after getting them home we seperated them and made their cages bigger. So now each rabbit has a cage that is 60x30. So a little more room for them and they seem much happier. The timothy hay is dried we bought it from our local big r feed store. thanks for the advice.
 

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Jesse1983

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I have been working with nearly the exact same numbers of the nearly exact same breed rabbits for over a year. Of course mine are a bit older. I have had no problems feeding them each about 3/4 cup of 16% protein pellets daily with the does getting as much as they want when they are pregnant or nursing kits. I supplement that with a liberal handful of timothy hay each day. I used to give them alfalfa hay but read that that can cause excessive calcium in their urine. They do seem to produce less calcium in the urine since switching to timothy hay. I've also been giving the timothy hay to all the kits and don't see any problems. I'm not implying that this is what others should do, just saying what seems to have been working OK for me.

That's great to hear since that was what my plans were to be as well. I am thinking that maybe I do need to cut the pellets back a little bit. The Manna Pro Gro pellets are 18% protein so thinking about 1/2 a cup might be better.
 

Bossroo

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I raised rabbits commercially, by the hundreds at a time. I fed high quality straight alfalfa pellets ( hopper feeders filled to the top ) self regulation fed. I supplemented high producing does with a couple tablespoons of Calf Manna per day. The waterers were nipple emiters so always availabe. All were healthy and lived long productive lives. Nutritionally speaking , alfalfa pellets is all that the rabbits need.
 

Pastor Dave

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I have to agree with all that weighed in.

First of all, if your buck and older doe were together until recently, and are obviously over ten weeks old, I would suspect your doe to be bred. Watch for signs and plan to put in a nest box.

If your Mana Pro is like Calf Mana with 29% protein, you are feeding too much. I give my breeding adults 1 tsp supplement a day, lactating does a Tb, and grow out pens 1-2 Tb a day/ bunny. A junior can eat the Tb up til abt 10 months to a year.

All you need is a 16% alfalfa pellet, and around a half cup to cup a day. Any aged rabbit should do fine on grass hay or timothy. Alfalfa is generally around 19%, so unless you are using a low protein pellet feed, go with grass or timothy.

The green stuff should be fed in moderation once reaching a certain age unless the doe eats it and it is in her milk supply. The tsp of BOSS is real good too on a daily basis. Watch the amnt of fruit or veggies. I don't use these personally.

You will do great. Keep it up!
 

JakeM

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Hello all I am new to raising rabbits and was wondering what amount of feed and the type I should be using? To shed a little light on what I am currently doing now I will explain: First of all we have 1 6month old New Zealand Red buck, 1 6month old New Zealand Red doe, and 1 3month old New Zealand Red doe crossed with a New Zealand White I believe. The 2 does I am feeding 1 cup of Manna Pro Gro and a full small animal hay rack of baled timothy hay. Is this a good feeding regimen? The buck we are feeding the same small animal sized hay rack of baled timothy hay and 1 cup of Country Feed complete Nutrition for all rabbits. And at what age should you stop feeding the Manna Pro Gro? I also have read that you should not be giving your rabbits timothy hay until they are between the ages of 7months to a year old. Is this true and if so does anybody know why and if it will harm the bunnies if given at earlier age. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to the world of rabbits!

First off, New Zealand rabbits are all one breed (show-wise are available in black, blue (I believe this got passed this year), broken, red, and white). Whites are just most commonly used for commercial programs as the fur shows up on meat and you can dye he fur if need be. And due to color genes its simplest to breed white with white. With this in mind, what color is your 2nd doe? Just curiosity here.

Secondly, why are you feeding your buck a different feed than your does? Mine (I raise Havanas) are all on Country Acres 18%, regardless of age, gender, or reproductive status. Just the amount given changes.

As for when to stop feeding the Gro formula, I believe you can stop at 6 months or when they hit their adult weight. It should say on the back of bag.

And finally, for the hay I give mine hay when they are 3 weeks old. It's mostly for mom, but the little ones start testing it. I've personally never had issues with this route.
 

Jesse1983

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Welcome to the world of rabbits!

First off, New Zealand rabbits are all one breed (show-wise are available in black, blue (I believe this got passed this year), broken, red, and white). Whites are just most commonly used for commercial programs as the fur shows up on meat and you can dye he fur if need be. And due to color genes its simplest to breed white with white. With this in mind, what color is your 2nd doe? Just curiosity here.

Secondly, why are you feeding your buck a different feed than your does? Mine (I raise Havanas) are all on Country Acres 18%, regardless of age, gender, or reproductive status. Just the amount given changes.

As for when to stop feeding the Gro formula, I believe you can stop at 6 months or when they hit their adult weight. It should say on the back of bag.

And finally, for the hay I give mine hay when they are 3 weeks old. It's mostly for mom, but the little ones start testing it. I've personally never had issues with this route.

My second doe is red with some white in her she looks like cinnamon and sugar. I am feeding the buck different feed because it only has 16% protein in it and I read that was all the protein that was really needed. Where as the Manna Pro Gro pellets have 18% protein which I read was ideal to give to pregnant does to help with lactation and to give to the kits since has higher protein.
 

Pastor Dave

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If it costs less, that is all the buck should need. It's just easier to scoop from one sack and hit em all.

Here is my doe that is ready to be bred for the first time. She is 6 mos old, and her name is "Cinnamon-Sugar".
20170424_210308.jpg
 
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