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Issues with Rabbit Feed Brands

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Issues with Rabbit Feed Brands

Post Number:#1  Unread postby The_Dutchess » Wed May 23, 2018 8:54 pm


I apologize in advance for the very long post.
So I have Jersey Woolies, Velveteen Lops and a Mini Lop. It's really hard to find a feed that will work for all of my rabbits. Kent worked pretty good; the issue was my fur condition wasn't as good as I'd like, but I didn't have many other options. Unfortunately, my local feed store stopped selling Kent. I found a different feed store with Blue Seal Show Hutch Deluxe and Id heard lots of good things about that feed. But it ended up being unbelievably hard to get and all my rabbits got super scrawny due to the amount of fiber. I bought one bag and looked for other options. I checked back with my local feed store and they had Armada, the new small breed formula. I'd tried Armada before and it was nearly perfect for my needs. It's been two bags of feed and two months (I have a small herd) and my rabbits are recovering from the skinnies, all but two (the two vlops are just a tad bonier than I'd like, they're close though) are back at a healthy weight. But my Jersey Woolies and mini lop are having a horrible time with fur condition, as in they don't have it at ALL. Also, the bag of feed I just picked up from the feed store yesterday has very pale, yellowish pellets that do not look one bit like the normal pellets in the bag. Armada (at least in my part of West Michigan) has a reputation for inconsistency, I've just never experience it until now. So, for my questions: do you know of a good feed I can get in Michigan? What are your reasons for choosing the feed you have? Do you think I would be better off just adding a supplement for fur condition to my feed and hope the consistency issues resolve with help from my feed dealer?
Thanks in advance!
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Re: Issues with Rabbit Feed Brands

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Deer Heart » Fri May 25, 2018 10:29 pm


I had problems with a local feed, Seminole, but didn't realize it for years. It smelled great, looked great, my rabbits looked great too. But I constantly had issues with breeding and well concealed fat deposits (on their bellies and organs but their spine felt and looked just fine while they were alive, this was sporadic so I didn't think much of it). Then one day a neighbor mentioned they don't actually make that feed locally, that it's basically sourced cheaply elsewhere. I thought he was full of it as the label clearly said Seminole made it - plus I was paying a heck of a lot more for it than other brands. Then Seminole themselves made a random posting on their facebook page. One stating that they only manufacture horse feed to protect horses from cross contamination and have been doing so for a while. Then who the heck makes your rabbit feed if not you? I asked, albeit a lot more politely than that. Never got an answer. So I tried the much cheaper Mana Pro Rabbit and suddenly BOOM, feed lasted longer and my rabbits were suddenly shooting out litters of 8+ regularly. I also have used Country Road (Rural King) Rabbit feed with success at even less cost, just they rarely can keep it on the shelves. Turns out, more expensive isn't always better. Their pellets also look way less green, but my rabbits are still keeping condition well so. /shrug

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Re: Issues with Rabbit Feed Brands

Post Number:#3  Unread postby alforddm » Sat May 26, 2018 11:35 am


I had good luck with Pen Pals 16% rabbit feed when I was feeding it. Rabbits did well, had large litters, and kept condition. They also offer an 18% feed which may give better fur condition. I eventually started driving further for a cheaper feed that I also gave good results but if you can find it local to you it is a good feed. https://www.admanimalnutrition.com/webc ... lerlocator

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Re: Issues with Rabbit Feed Brands

Post Number:#4  Unread postby akane » Sat May 26, 2018 1:25 pm


Many feeds depend on your local mills because they don't ship the feed from a central location. They have the formula produced somewhere closer to you so the ingredients they should put in are the same but the quality of those ingredients, the resulting pellet, and any contamination is in the hands of each individual mill used. In Iowa I find manna pro is great and kent formulas tend to be produced well but always seem to have a coat issue in every animal they formulate feed for. Their dog kibble looks good but the dogs all got dry coats and itchy ears after a couple months and then I had the same issue with skinnier rabbits. Since I couldn't even get kent consistently from my small feed store I was using horse pelleted feed with hay. It's lower fiber and higher fat than rabbit pellets due to horses always being given a fiber source to eat between concentrated feed meals but otherwise quite similar if you compare a few formulas to find the right one. Senior formulas tend to be more complete while breeding and young horse formulas tend to more "rich" and designed to use alongside lots of hay or pasture. Then theisen's stores started spreading and carrying manna pro. I can never consistently get the 18% but the 16% worked fine for netherland dwarf to large commercial breeds. Some people find manna pro contaminated with lots of unprocessed corn. That often happens if the mill uses corn to flush their machines when clogged and is one of those issues of the local mill rather than the company or formula. I know north of me along Minnesota and Wisconsin Pen Pals is easier to find and popular. I cannot get it here but I was trading rabbits with a group of breeders in Wisconsin and one breed with a person in Minnesota that all use Pen Pals.
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Re: Issues with Rabbit Feed Brands

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Deer Heart » Sun May 27, 2018 8:12 pm


Also, I noticed various feed stores seem to source their Manna Pro from different mills. Will never buy manna pro at my local tractor supply as I've pretty regularly gotten whole corn contaminated pellets from their bags and yet *never* from the manna pro bags my rural king or local feed store stocks. Very curious.
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Re: Issues with Rabbit Feed Brands

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Shea » Mon May 28, 2018 9:35 pm


Check the production code on the mannapro. They sometimes use an "overflow" mill. The date code on those bags is listed as number of days in the year with the last number being the year 1488 would be today. Their main mills use a 05288 format.

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Re: Issues with Rabbit Feed Brands

Post Number:#7  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu May 31, 2018 6:03 am


Deer Heart wrote:I had problems with a local feed, Seminole, but didn't realize it for years. It smelled great, looked great, my rabbits looked great too. But I constantly had issues with breeding and well concealed fat deposits (on their bellies and organs but their spine felt and looked just fine while they were alive, this was sporadic so I didn't think much of it). Then one day a neighbor mentioned they don't actually make that feed locally, that it's basically sourced cheaply elsewhere. I thought he was full of it as the label clearly said Seminole made it - plus I was paying a heck of a lot more for it than other brands. Then Seminole themselves made a random posting on their facebook page. One stating that they only manufacture horse feed to protect horses from cross contamination and have been doing so for a while. Then who the heck makes your rabbit feed if not you? I asked, albeit a lot more politely than that. Never got an answer. So I tried the much cheaper Mana Pro Rabbit and suddenly BOOM, feed lasted longer and my rabbits were suddenly shooting out litters of 8+ regularly. I also have used Country Road (Rural King) Rabbit feed with success at even less cost, just they rarely can keep it on the shelves. Turns out, more expensive isn't always better. Their pellets also look way less green, but my rabbits are still keeping condition well so. /shrug

I breed standard rex and english angora


Seminole has had some very serious problems with their rabbit feed in the past,one such incident was about 2010 [or so] I was living in Ocala area at the time,-- everyone who was feeding their brand had at least 90 % of their rabbits die of some mysterious malady- I tried to help some of them , but- it was hopeless even the ones who "survived" gradually went downhill until they died or were culled . The only person I knew who had some rabbits that actually survived, was only feeding a little bit of pellets, and the rest of the feed was foraged - she lost about 75% of her rabbits.
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Re: Issues with Rabbit Feed Brands

Post Number:#8  Unread postby MaggieJ » Thu May 31, 2018 4:16 pm


Gosh, Michael, I remember that horrendous feed problem too. It was before we started RT and I was on the rabbit forum on Homesteading Today. A LOT of people had massive losses. If I'd had any doubts about my switch to natural feeding, that was enough to reassure me that for me, in my situation and region, it was a safer way to feed rabbits.
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Re: Issues with Rabbit Feed Brands

Post Number:#9  Unread postby The_Dutchess » Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:18 pm


Thanks everyone for the input! I decided to switch my new doe to Kent feeds since I've never had problems with feed safety/consistency and the original owner mentioned it. Unfortunately, since some rabbits don't do well on it I'll be buying a few different feeds for the foreseeable future. Mana pro near me is practically never consistent and I've never had a bag without whole corn, so that's a no go. I specifically need a higher fiber content for the Woolies since it works better, so Kent is their best option and I'm still on Armada for the rest of my rabbits after talking to my feed dealer about the sudden inconsistency with the feed I've never had to deal with before. I had the bags replaced and no issues so far.
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