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Am i feeding too much?

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Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby ipoGSD » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:18 pm


So every once in a while i bring my bunnies in for some attention and nail trimming. I didnt realize how much winter weight they were gaining until i seen them inside lol

My buns weigh anywhere between 6 to 11 lbs. I feed them a whole scoop (scoop holds around 2 to 2.5 cups of pellets depending on how i scoop it) sometimes its all gone by the next day (no digging or wasting it)

But anyway, how much weight is ok for the winter? Would it be ok to a couple times a week to just offer fresh hay a couple times a week or just limit the amount of pellets daily? Or keep basically free feeding them and worry about weights this spring?

Ty :)

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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:38 am


What breed of rabbit is it?
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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Rainey » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:44 am


What I've seen often here on RT is that overweight rabbits are difficult to breed. Don't know that from experience because we check all the adults each week by feeling along the backbone. Winter coats are heavier and in really cold weather rabbits need extra calories but my opinion is that you still want to keep them at good weights. If you wait until spring and try to get the weight down then, that could be difficult.

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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:17 am


Rainey wrote:What I've seen often here on RT is that overweight rabbits are difficult to breed. Don't know that from experience because we check all the adults each week by feeling along the backbone. Winter coats are heavier and in really cold weather rabbits need extra calories but my opinion is that you still want to keep them at good weights. If you wait until spring and try to get the weight down then, that could be difficult.


[I agree with "Rainey"]- fat stock [and very skinny stock] - have much more breeding / pregnancy issues - so, if your goal is to "breed" your rabbits, keeping them at a "healthy breeding weight" is an important part of "good animal husbandry" .
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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby grumpy » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:34 am


Hmmm..... I see your location is Connecticut. Which means your winters
can become fairly 'frigid'. l don't feed by volume, I feed by weight. So, all I can
do is tell you my standard ration (for 24 hours) is a 'slightly' heaped standard
sized tuna can and that's all. I may give the does a feeding of grass hay every
third or fourth day. My Bucks, I feed a shade more pellets per day. Maybe a
half ounce to an ounce (1/4 of a tuna can more).

All of my stock is in my barn and sheltered from winds and weather. It's
insulated with exhaust fans set on timers to keep the air fresh. When
operating at or near capacity the ambient air temp rarely drops below
20 degrees Fahrenheit. This impacts the amount of feed necessary for
the stock to maintain body heat while not losing condition, or worse,
becoming fat.

Fat rabbits don't breed, remember that.

All of my stock with the exception of two California bucks is commercial
New Zealand Whites. I run 42 does and have on hand 7 breeding aged
bucks. Plus, the youngsters/fryers and replacement stock. I have been
told MANY TIMES.. that my stock looks 'thin'. "Yeah...... they are, BUT,
count the number of fryers fattening for market.!" It's upwards of 200
head at times. I can't afford to feed non-production fat does. Once a
doe becomes overweight, it's nearly impossible to get them back into
production. My does weigh between 10 and 12.5 pounds when they're
in breeding shape. AND they do... look a little 'thin'. But that's the way
I want them.

I weighed the daily ration a few years back and it comes to 4.5 to 5 ounces.
That's not a lot, but it's enough. I use all wire cages in my rabbitry and last
count I have 72 holes. It's not a large operation but it keeps me busy.

FEED...is my biggest expense. In 2014, I fed over 16,000 pounds of it.
The rabbitry is set up on an automatic 'heated' recirculating watering system
with the water entering the lines at or around 85 to 90 degrees in the winter.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

Grumpy.
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My newest work: Now in publication. Redemption Road.
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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby AnnClaire » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:01 am


Hi Ty, yes overweight does will not breed well.

Several options for keeping them trim:

1. Stand a board on edge from front to back of the cage, forcing the rabbit to hop over it to get from feed to water. This is a relatively long term solution, but will produce results.

2. Have a "hay only" day each week. Be sure it is a grass hay and not alfalfa! This will probably produce fairly quick results, but needs to be combined with the board for "core" exercise.

3. Weigh your feed to get an accurate weight, then feed accordingly. If you are not going through a bag per week, keep weighing as the feed can lose weight/nutrients. Basically, if my rabbits haven't cleaned up their pellet ration at least 2 hours before feeding time, I do a health check, then feed a smaller portion until they are back on plan.

I also provide hay at all times and even stretch the time of no pellets to half a day or so, especially in the summer.

If there is any way you can also provide ground pen time, mine stay in much better shape! For does, you do need to have a barrier against digging out! My runout pen is 8'*10' and we moved cubic yards of dirt to bury a chain link barrier, then filled it back in and the does will generally rearrange ALL of the dirt over the summer LOL

If no room for a permanent runout pen, a lawn tractor of at least 8' would make a nice run area.
cheers - AnnClaire

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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:48 pm


grumpy wrote:Hmmm..... I see your location is Connecticut. Which means your winters
can become fairly 'frigid'. l don't feed by volume, I feed by weight. So, all I can
do is tell you my standard ration (for 24 hours) is a 'slightly' heaped standard
sized tuna can and that's all. I may give the does a feeding of grass hay every
third or fourth day. My Bucks, I feed a shade more pellets per day. Maybe a
half ounce to an ounce (1/4 of a tuna can more).

All of my stock is in my barn and sheltered from winds and weather. It's
insulated with exhaust fans set on timers to keep the air fresh. When
operating at or near capacity the ambient air temp rarely drops below
20 degrees Fahrenheit. This impacts the amount of feed necessary for
the stock to maintain body heat while not losing condition, or worse,
becoming fat.

Fat rabbits don't breed, remember that.





All of my stock with the exception of two California bucks is commercial
New Zealand Whites. I run 42 does and have on hand 7 breeding aged
bucks. Plus, the youngsters/fryers and replacement stock. I have been
told MANY TIMES.. that my stock looks 'thin'. "Yeah...... they are, BUT,
count the number of fryers fattening for market.!" It's upwards of 200
head at times. I can't afford to feed non-production fat does. Once a
doe becomes overweight, it's nearly impossible to get them back into
production. My does weigh between 10 and 12.5 pounds when they're
in breeding shape. AND they do... look a little 'thin'. But that's the way
I want them.

I weighed the daily ration a few years back and it comes to 4.5 to 5 ounces.
That's not a lot, but it's enough. I use all wire cages in my rabbitry and last
count I have 72 holes. It's not a large operation but it keeps me busy.

FEED...is my biggest expense. In 2014, I fed over 16,000 pounds of it.
The rabbitry is set up on an automatic 'heated' recirculating watering system
with the water entering the lines at or around 85 to 90 degrees in the winter.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

Grumpy.



That's quite funny, [to me] a tuna fish can is what I use for feeding dry does and bucks...
Seed Garlic, http://www.Mountainvalleygarlic.com , https://www.facebook.com/Mountain-Valle ... 254347988/,
hard neck garlic varieties for fall planting.
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens, and too many ducks..
https://vimeo.com/176370337?ref

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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:04 pm


I must be the outcast here. I never let them run out of Hay. When it comes to pellets my buck can only finish 5 to 6 ounces a day so that is what they get. Does get about 8 ounces/ cup day unless their on a diet. Nursing does I keep a eye on, they are kinda a free feed. Every time they finish their pellets they get more but I dont like the pellets to just sit in there for days. I want them fresh even if I got to feed more than once a day. Grow outs the same thing as nursing does. :)
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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Zass » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:22 pm


I try to keep mine in hay 24/7 too.

I've noticed that feeling along the spine isn't always helpful in determining body fat. Perhaps because very little body fat is actually carried along the spine? And sometimes, a spine can be VERY prominent due to dehydration.
I just recently butchered a very obese little doe. If I went by her spine, I would have thought she was a little on the thin side.

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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby ipoGSD » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:25 am


bigfoot_158 wrote:What breed of rabbit is it?

I have a mini rex buck 4 lbs give or take, and the rest are mixed mainly flemish x mini rex about 7 to 12 lbs.

-- Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:16 am --

So if most feed tuna can size (give or take) i definitely wayyyyy over feed mine. I went to the dollar store and bought new dishes, those ceramic small pet dishes. They are way smaller than the ones i used to use, i usually use the larger ceramic dogs u can sometimes find at the dollar store.

I cant cut them back to a portion size that small that fast so ill just fill that smaller dish for them.

Also for those who dont give a lot of hay and only a small portion of pellets. What about the worry of stasis? I plan on keeping their hay racks full and with less pellets, im sure they will actually eat more of it vs having fun pulling it all out and wasting it.

The weird thing to me is, ruby and chubby are the only ones who seem over weight. Tho they are the ones who can easily plow thru 2 - 2.5 cups a day. I did notice some does had some crumbs of food left in their dishes so i dont feel too bad about the cut back. They had some greens last night too tho :) maybe this cut back will be better for them and my pockets lol

Grumpy, thank you so much for the time you took in replying and also noticing my location because of temps.

Thank you everyone for your input and experiences.

Sorry for the delay in my reply. Was pretty busy ordering plants and supplies from neherp and building a gecko vivarium for my mother in law as her xmas present. Picking up the geckos again from neherp. We got her mourning geckos for her new viv. They are an all female species ans reproduce without a male. They are parthenogenic. I also picked up 2 for myself :)

-- Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:25 am --

I didnt have time to build a custom background so i at least added cork bark ledges for them to chill on. The amount of silicone needed to build a background wouldn't have time to off gas before she got here. (She lives in vt and came today to a visit)

Image do u see the baby gecko on the glass?

Image


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She says im a baby Velociraptor! Lol they are so tiny righr now (1 inch) the sprigs of moss is like shes climbing thru a jungle hehehehe

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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:05 am


Beautiful setup! I would sit and stare at something like that for hours on end - I bet it is soothing...
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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#12  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:52 am


Also for those who dont give a lot of hay and only a small portion of pellets. What about the worry of stasis? I plan on keeping their hay racks full and with less pellets, im sure they will actually eat more of it vs having fun pulling it all out and wasting it.

JMHO,- feeding hay to prevent GI stasis is more for people with pet rabbits,designer breeds, or older breed stock, - "usually" meat breeders don't keep rabbits around long enough for GI stasis to become a problem on pellet only diets. -- with that said...Grass hay, is a good addition for all rabbits, as pellets are low in long stem fiber]
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https://vimeo.com/176370337?ref

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Re: Am i feeding too much?

Post Number:#13  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:47 pm


ipoGSD wrote:
bigfoot_158 wrote:What breed of rabbit is it?

I have a mini rex buck 4 lbs give or take, and the rest are mixed mainly flemish x mini rex about 7 to 12 lbs.

The weird thing to me is, ruby and chubby are the only ones who seem over weight. Tho they are the ones who can easily plow thru 2 - 2.5 cups a day. I did notice some does had some crumbs of food left in their dishes so i dont feel too bad about the cut back. They had some greens last night too tho :) maybe this cut back will be better for them and my pockets lol


Are they in the same cage or in 2 cages? If they are in same cage you not overfeeding too bad. Each of my 9 lbs rabbits get 1 cup a day. If they in a cage along.Then yea your overfeeding them a little. I have one cage of two sister that are full grown that get to 2 cups a day. Here lately due to cold they get 2.5 cups. Cages with grow out get at least 5 cups a day with 6 growing bunnies. You stated that they get feed in dishes are they wasting a bunch of the feed?
Have a Nice day
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