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Does anyone have any ideas for a home made rabbit ration?
Right now i have about 60 rabbits to feed and the feed bill is CRAZY! I was hoping to figure out a more cost effective home mixed feed to help cut down on costs.
Also, what are people using as rations for their chickens and turkeys? I may try mixing those too.
Thank you in advance
What kind of rabbits do you raise? I have 2 female Rex crosses and would be interested in 2 males.
I feed them a mix of grains, whole oats, barley and feed peas, plus whatever they want of alfalfa and clover hay. What I have found is that the alfalfa hay has to be fresh and green and they eat a lot of it. They also eat the clover flowers and leaves in the clover hay. In addition, they need a block of salt and some loose minerals mixed into the grain. I buy the grain premixed from the feed mill in 3 ton quantities which I store in a hay bale and plastic tarp home made "bin" since I do not have a granary. The mice eat through the tarp though, but they ate through the wood too, so I am not sure exactly how to keep them out. I do have cats. If you combine home mixed feed, alfalfa hay and clover hay and pellets, you could skip the salt and minerals.
We have a mixed bad, we have a communal pen of 20 does and a buck got in and we had a population explosion. A fair bit of lionhead, new zealand, flemish and a bit of rex. A very colourful group and some of them are getting quite meaty.
In the past we have found the alfalfa hay that we feed our goats kills the rabbits, I think it is a conditioner or something they spray before harvest. How much would you say your rabbits eat of the grain mix each day? What is their body condition like?
The majority of their intake should be leafy, ie: hay or fresh veggies if/when possible. A young flemish giant rabbit when fed adequate leafy feed, only needs about 3/4 cup of pellets daily :)
I guess organically grown alfalfa then would be the better choice or clover. They love it.
The rabbits may eat a quarter to third cup of grain mix daily. They do not like the oats though so in the next mix for them I think I will omit it. We do not have corn here but that is something I would add a little of if we did.
They are a little thin to average condition but grew well. Mind you I only have 2 rabbits, not 60.
When my wife had rabbits she always told me that alfalfa and clover hay should be treated like a snack, same with grains. The majority of what we fed the bunnies was Timothy hay, and lots of Apple branches daily.
From what little I know, grains make rabbits fat, and they need a very high fiber and low calorie diet to be healthy. I suppose grains would be a good way to fatten them up, but then I much prefer cows fed all grass so I'd probably feel the same way about rabbits.
Country Thyme Farm wrote:
This should be useful:
That was very interesting and after my 2nd coffee I might get the techincal parts . I feed my mini dutch /lop pellet, hay, with some fresh veggies. What kinds of grains were you talking about?
The pellets are made from grains and such, smushed up into pellet form. Country Thyme is right, mostly fibre is needed by them to do well and have a healthy digestive tract. The majority of digestive problems with rabbits that are kept as pets is due to them having an inappropriate diet, people just don't know that they need much more leafy greens and hay then they need pellets (grain).
Okay thanks for the explanation it really does help.
I would probably use oats as a base as they are low energy and high fibre. In addition,i would feed free choice hay. The same stuff as we feed the horses.
I might add some barleyor a "hotter" feed for mothers and growing kits.
I will probably end up making a mix of peas, oats and barley. I will probably do the same for the birds too.
Do you think I would need to process the grain in any way or just feed it whole?
Try feeding it whole. I think a lot depends on the genetics of your rabbits. More modern breeds have adapted to eat pellets and may not do well eating natural foods at all. My plan is to select the rabbits that grow quickly and gain weight on natural food, including grass hay. The two rabbits I have currently were not fat enough on grass hay and grain, but the supplemented alfalfa and clover hay has made a big difference. I would love to just feed them natural foods they would find in the wild, but that is not reality.