Question about grass...

Nao57

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As many of you know hay is just basically certain types of grasses. (Alfalfa, etc...) And then its dried, and baled.

Is there any reason you couldn't dry out normal backyard grass in a similar way to give to rabbits after its dried a bit?

(I want to be careful about this. This same idea would kill horses and make some types of animals sick.)

But with rabbits...?

I'm curious. A lot of people are wondering about free food sources or going cheap now because there's so much economic damage.

This is fascinating and fun to learn about. And quite peaceful.

I feel like I understand why so many people want to live the farm lifestyle. They want to get away from the rat race and live peacefully.
 

Bunnylady

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Actually, alfalfa isn't a grass, it's a legume, which is why we have to be so careful when feeding it. And that's the crux of what I have to say - you need to know what you are growing, and therefore feeding, when you collect and dry it. There are many species of grasses that are in cultivation, and even within a species, there are often cultivars that have very specific uses. For example, in the South, where I live, Bermuda grass may be considered a weed in your yard (Common Bermuda), it may be grown as a pasture or be baled and fed as hay (Coastal Bermuda), or it might be sold as sod for a fine lawn or golf green (cultivars too numerous to name). In more northern areas, Fescue is frequently grown for lawns, but most fescue has a fungus growing in it (a symbiotic relationship). While having this endophyte growing in it is beneficial to the grass, it is a problem for just about anything that eats the grass, because the fungus produces a toxin that is well-known for causing reproductive problems for livestock. There are endophyte-free cultivars that have been developed for use as pastures, but they aren't usually sold as lawn grass.
 
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Mini Horses

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Totally agree with @Bunnylady !!! It's a matter of learning what the forage can provide nutritionally as well as what detrimental issues can come to the table. Different animals can have different needs.

My goats love many "weeds" the mini horses leave. Plus, good for them. I suspect your rabbits may be in such a feeding type -- don't raise them but look it up. Dandelions, plantains, raspberry, honeysuckle and many tree leaves are favs and good for them. Several herbs have excellent medicinal components....for most animals.

You can cut, dry and feed many things. Knowing the type, amounts, condition of feed and body process of the animal being fed is critical. A horse can founder on many things a cow or goat can safely consume, for instance.
 

Niele da Kine

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I've gone around the yard and identified bunny foods so it's easier to collect forage for the bunnies. We also grow forage for them, things like mulberry leaves and ti leaves. They also like a lot of assorted herbs like parsley, mint, rosemary, etc. The bunnies here get lots of grasses as well, but it's cane grass, elephant grass, Guinea grass and other fast growing tropical grasses.
 

Stephine

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Rabbits will pick and choose, so making your own hay should be no problem. If there’s something in there that’s not good they will leave it. Just make sure that you give ample amounts - never try and force a rabbit to clean up all the hay. What they don’t eat just adds to their bedding, so it really is quite easy.
 

Niele da Kine

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I wish they'd pick and choose, they sometimes eat things they shouldn't if they can get them. Avocado leaves and avocados will kill rabbits. I lost a promising young bun when he ate half an avocado leaf. Maybe only young bunnies are stupid about eating the wrong things?
 

Stephine

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I wish they'd pick and choose, they sometimes eat things they shouldn't if they can get them. Avocado leaves and avocados will kill rabbits. I lost a promising young bun when he ate half an avocado leaf. Maybe only young bunnies are stupid about eating the wrong things?
Ok, it might not work for plants that are lethal in very small quantities. I would definitely not hay if you have highly toxic to rabbits weeds in there. I was talking about normal mixed weeds and grasses. Also, some animals are just not made for survival, sigh....
 

Niele da Kine

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LOL! Yup, it does seem that some just want to immediately reincarnate. I've seen some other websites and even documents from educational sources that recommend just allowing them to pick and choose, but there can still be issues. These were for meat rabbits, though, so they cycle through a lot of rabbits and if a few don't make it, that's possibly not as much of a problem. They didn't discuss making hay since it was about tropical rabbit raising so fresh forage is always an option.

What do rabbits in temperate climates eat during the winter? Wouldn't they be eating naturally dried grasses and such?
 

Stephine

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LOL! Yup, it does seem that some just want to immediately reincarnate. I've seen some other websites and even documents from educational sources that recommend just allowing them to pick and choose, but there can still be issues. These were for meat rabbits, though, so they cycle through a lot of rabbits and if a few don't make it, that's possibly not as much of a problem. They didn't discuss making hay since it was about tropical rabbit raising so fresh forage is always an option.

What do rabbits in temperate climates eat during the winter? Wouldn't they be eating naturally dried grasses and such?
I think we are easily tempted to look at our domesticated animals and compare them to their wild “versions” to figure out what would be best for them - and I am sure that can sometimes be helpful, but domestication changed the animals and changed what they need to thrive...
Frankly, I don’t know about wild bunnies. In temperate climates they might still be able to find green things or maybe they eat dry grass? Here in Sonoma grass is dry in the summer and fall and fresh and green in winter and spring. The local hares find our garden in summer sometimes, but we don’t have rabbits around at all.
Anyway... I would not shy away from making my own hay (free of obvious poisonous plants like deadly nightshade etc.) and giving that to my rabbit...
 
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