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Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Provide a well rounded diet without commercial feed, including discussions of the methods and merits of growing fodder.
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Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#1  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:44 am


Jerusalem Artichoke
Jerusalem Artichoke is a "mostly" overlooked food source for natural feeding of rabbits.
Jerusalem Artichoke does not need to be "further processed" [cooked] before feeding.
In areas where the ground does not "freeze solid" they can be dug as needed.
If grown in "raised rows" [like potatoes] I have no problem harvesting them with my single row potato harvester.
Jerusalem artichoke has 331 calories / pound -so it is a great source for the calories so needed in lactating and growing rabbits.
The dried tops of Jerusalem artichokes [I suppose this is mostly in the leaves] generally have between 15 and 20% protein.
Jerusalem Artichoke tops if harvested just as they begin to yellow [while still green] are a good source of the long stem fiber rabbits need to stay healthy.If harvested at this point and dried for "hay" they will still have most of the protein, and harvesting the tops at this point will not majorly affect the yield of tubers.
Jerusalem artichokes are easy to grow in most areas of the US and Canada.
**negative aspect ** .. they will sprout new plants in spring from any small piece still in the ground , and rodents love them...

If your circumstances are favorable , Jerusalem Artichoke could be a valuable part of your feeding program.

https://www.feedipedia.org/node/544

Rabbits
Foliage and tubers of Jerusalem artichoke can be used without problem in rabbit feeding. They are used in small scale rabbitries in Italy, for example (Mesini, 1996) and have been recommended for a long time for family-run rabbit production units in France (Lissot, 1974). Young foliage is particularly palatable to rabbits (Hay et al., 1992). Fresh tubers are considered to have a significantly higher nutritive value than fresh fodder beets for rabbits, mostly due to their higher DM content (30-32% vs.13-15%). Long-term tuber storage is difficult and only recently harvested tubers should be used (Resti, 1995).

https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/jerusart.html
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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:48 am


Great information, Michael. Thank you for posting it.

Someone gave me a few Jerusalem Artichoke tubers a few years before I had to give up the rabbits. I used to cut the foliage for the buns, especially during dry spells in August/September when some of the other green forage was suffering badly. I intended to dig the tubers for them too, but by the time they were established, it wasn't easy for me to dig anymore. I like the idea of planting them in rows.
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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#3  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:50 am


Rabbits do love the fresh leaves- if you don't take too much from any one plant it won't hurt tuber production much.
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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Preitler » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:00 pm


I've planted them around the hutches, they grow up to 4m high and give shadow and cooling. Once it's higher than about 2ft I don't need to protect it from the rabbits anymore, they like the shadow and feed well when diggig tunnels :D . The rabbits get whatever green stuff is too much, and in winter I harvest the roots with a pickaxe, just lift the frozen top and collect the roots below. I also eat it myself.

One drawback is that I have no idea how to store them for more than one or two weeks, too damp and they mold, to dry and they shrivel up (reversable up to a point by putting them into water for 2-3 days). Much easier to just dig up what I need fresh.

I like those plants, they are maintanence free, do not spread too much, and everything can be used. I collect the dry stems in winter and use them as kindling for my wood stove, or in litter boxes (with a little hay on top).

There's only one drawback - voles. I keep trapping them (without overwhelming success), I don't mind what they eat, but they carry the roots away, spreading the plant. Not a big problem while they pop up in the pasture or where the rabbits get them, but some farmers here have real problems in corn fields, they survive some doses of herbizid per year, outgrow corn easily and are spread by plowing. Actually, I collected the first roots in a field close to my old apartment before I planted that stuff myself.

There are different sorts, I have 2, white and red roots, the white ones grow noticable later and smaller, and almost never bloom, I like the red ones better that start early and get really high.
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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#5  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:08 pm


I have successfully stored them in damp sawdust, and damp sand- like carrots, or fodder beets.
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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#6  Unread postby alforddm » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:54 pm


This will be my third year with Jerusalem artichokes. They don't seem to like me much and I'm waiting for spring to see if any of them actually come back. I'm not sure if our summers are too dry or if I need to fertilize them more. I was pretty surprised at how poorly they have done, as from the accounts I read I thought they would spread like weeds.

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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#7  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:00 am


alforddm wrote:This will be my third year with Jerusalem artichokes. They don't seem to like me much and I'm waiting for spring to see if any of them actually come back. I'm not sure if our summers are too dry or if I need to fertilize them more. I was pretty surprised at how poorly they have done, as from the accounts I read I thought they would spread like weeds.

I would suggest a little compost to keep the soil cooler, and more moist.. I had some trouble growing them in N.Ca. it was hot and dry in the summers.. I got a tree trimmer to dump wood chips on my property, then i put a foot of that over the j artichoke patch after I planted in the fall--- worked like magic... loads of tubers the next fall ...
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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Homer » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:31 pm


The bunnies might like them but...Before you cook up a batch of those tubers to serve at the table you might want to read this article, oh my
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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#9  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:41 pm


Homer wrote:The bunnies might like them but...Before you cook up a batch of those tubers to serve at the table you might want to read this article, oh my


Humans usually lack the enzyme, and bacteria to digest them at first, for most people, if the artichokes are eaten a little at a time at first will develop the ability to digest them efficiently . some people I am told, can't - we ate them in large amounts as a kid with no unfavorable result- the Chef, where I worked as a gardener for a restaurant - referred to them as "fartachokes".. and only served them after I bottled them - I guess the heat and pressure of canning deactivates the gassy part.
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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Zass » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:38 pm


They might be harder to grow out west, but they absolutely thrive in the NE US, where a lot of the richer food plants struggle. My area (NWPA) is so good for them that we have wild stands growing along roadsides. I've been nurturing a stand for a few years now that I can swipe a few tops off of, but I don't harvest the the tubers out of fear of erosion on the absurdly steep slope we live on. :|

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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Rainey » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:53 am


We had a clump growing in the corner where the kitchen jutted out from our old farmhouse and we were trying to get rid of them to give the rugosa roses more room. Then we started with rabbits and fed a lot of tops when they were young and tender. Tried moving some roots to start more chokes in another area. The transplants survived but didn't thrive. The original clump got spindly because we took too many tops. We've been afraid to put them in a garden bed given their reputation for spreading. Supply and demand can be hard to balance.
I wonder if there are different varieties and if there is one we could start that would work better. So far we haven't harvested the roots for use much but would like to do that once we have some well established.

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Re: Jerusalem Artichoke for Rabbits

Post Number:#12  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:09 pm


There are loads of varieties, the red running types produce like crazy but are a pain to dig, the smooth rooted types aren't so productive, - I prefer Stampede [or similar] ,a white clumping variety because they are a productive clumping variety, and I can just drive down the row with my potato harvester, or easily dig up a clump with a shovel. - I like the flavor and size of some of the reds- but when you chase a runner 4 or 5 feet to find the big tuber- it is a lot of work-- and-- runner types get away from you more easily, spreading into areas you would rather they not grow in...
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