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Should alfalfa hay be green?

Discussion in 'Feeding Time - Rabbits' started by FurryFiasco, May 7, 2018.

  1. May 7, 2018
    FurryFiasco

    FurryFiasco Chillin' with the herd

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    Hi! So I'm hoping to get into some very small-scale rabbit breeding, and I was looking for a good source of Alfalfa hay for my lactating does and young kits. Locally, bags of Alfalfa are quite pricey, so I looked on Kijiji (which is like Craigslist) and saw this stuff...my doubt was in how brown it looked. The stuff in the pet stores is quite green, is that important or do you think this should serve my purposes alright? Thanks!

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  2. May 7, 2018
    OneFineAcre

    OneFineAcre Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Light can make it turn brown on the outside of the bales, and it tends to turn brown the older it gets.
    It loses some nutritional value as it get's older. But, as long as it isn't moldy or anything it should be fine.
     
  3. May 15, 2018
    Sundragons

    Sundragons Loving the herd life

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    If you have a TSC or feed store nearby, you can pick up a 50lb compressed bale of alfalfa for under 20 bucks. Significantly cheaper than pet stores. We store it in 35 gallon food safe airtight plastic drums, but any large storage container that you can keep light and pests out of will work. We go through 2 bales of grass a week with our buns, and about a bale of alfalfa a month when we have kits.

    Just another option to look into.
     
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  4. May 17, 2018
    FurryFiasco

    FurryFiasco Chillin' with the herd

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    Thanks, that's good to know! :)
     
  5. May 17, 2018
    FurryFiasco

    FurryFiasco Chillin' with the herd

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    I don't think there are any TSC's around here (I live in Nova Scotia, Canada). I did check at my local feed store, but it's a small place and they didn't sell any pure alfalfa. But that's a really good idea, I should check the other stores nearby and see what they have! They'll most likely have more selection.

    May I ask, how many rabbits do you have? I'm trying to estimate how much mine will eat, and it would be helpful to see how much everyone else goes through! :) Thanks!
     
  6. May 17, 2018
    Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave True BYH Addict

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    Weighing in late, but try to find a local farmer that does "squares" and not just round bales. Here in IN, a rectangle bale of alfalfa is generally 50-75lbs. Green is good when dry. It goes for $6-$10/bale on the average. Anything from a feed store is marked up.

    I use grass hay (tomothy, fescue, orchard grass, etc) that is abt $4-$6/bale, and mine eat it daily; all of them. Their main nutrients come from the commercial alfalfa pellets, but good fiber from hay and they like it.
     
  7. May 17, 2018
    FurryFiasco

    FurryFiasco Chillin' with the herd

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    Thanks for the reply! You're not late at all, I'm still trying to figure this all out. :)

    It sounds like you're getting a really good deal on your hay! So I have a few questions, if I may ask. Do you get your alfalfa hay straight from a farmer? (and if so, how did you find them?) And when you say that all of your rabbits eat the grass hay, is that including lactating does and kits? I'm feeding my bunnies "Purina rabbit chow" from my feed store, which has the first ingredient listed as Alfalfa meal; do you think this and the grass hay would be enough for the moms and babies? I guess I wouldn't have to find any alfalfa if they don't need it afterall!

    Sorry for all of the questions! I'm new to bunnies and the more I learn, the more questions I seem to have! :)

    (Edit) I forgot to ask, lol...why do you recommend square bales as opposed to round ones? Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  8. May 17, 2018
    Sundragons

    Sundragons Loving the herd life

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    We have 21 adults and anywhere from 2-20 kits depending on litter size and number on a monthly basis. I also have 4 large sulcata tortoises who eat the same hay, and the chickens clean up any leftovers.
     
  9. May 17, 2018
    FurryFiasco

    FurryFiasco Chillin' with the herd

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    Great, thanks so much for letting me know! I have two bunnies now, and I'm only planning to get two or three more, so I guess they won't eat a ton. I was starting to do the math thinking that they would be eating two bales a week like yours...then I thought to ask how many you had. I was a little worried for a second there, lol!

    By the way, I saw the post in your signature about getting hooked on chickens. It's really cool, and I can completely relate! We started out wanting to get "a few Chanteclers" ... but came home with three dozen chicks of various colorful breeds. They really are addicting! :)

    Anyways, thanks so much for your help! I really appreciate it!
     
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  10. May 18, 2018
    Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave True BYH Addict

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    @FurryFiasco, I grew up in rural Indiana, the son of a farmer. I left all the farming behind when I went to study Conservation Law Enforcement at Vincennes University the Fall of 1993. After abt a decade of dabbling in law enforcement and security work, my bad back finally made it clear to pursue other things. While dispatching nights, I earned an online ministry degree and am an ordained minister that really wanted to get back to the farm.

    My folks sold the farm ground in their early 70's when I was in my 30's, but I am sitting on church property that has an acre out back that I use for hay. I went back into meat rabbits twenty years after my mom finally gave up the ones we raised for abt 12 years in the 80's and 90's.

    There are quite a few farmers in my congregation and neighbors that have cattle and sheep requiring hay. I trade work with one that has both and has round bales as well as rectangular bales we call squares. He mows, rakes, and bales mine and drops them for me to pick up. And, I help bale his fields.

    You do not need to feed alfalfa hay with the alfalfa pellets. It is too much protein. All my rabbits get a handful of grass hay at night to munch on. The kits get the nutrients through Mom's milk, and then begin nibbling on her hay as they begin to nibble on her pellets and sip her water.

    I also use Calf Mana which is high in protein. My rabbits get a tsp. each morning with a tsp. of black oil sunflower seeds BOSS. My lactating does get a Tb. each day, and my grow outs get abt 3Tb. This is for meat rabbits. Pets do not need it, and there are others that can give you a good regiment for Show bunnies. I also like using ACV cider vinegar. 1-2Tb per gallon water for drinking water. Helps urinary tracts and guves Vit A. Tastes good to them to drink more.

    Hope this helps some.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018