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Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Provide a well rounded diet without commercial feed, including discussions of the methods and merits of growing fodder.
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Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Thorn » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:25 am


So I read book suggested on here, whose name is listed above. I found this book interesting,especially that it had information on geese, which I intend to try next year. I do have a few questions about the rabbit feeding practices listed in this bookend figure this would be much faster than Mr.Googlepants. So here it goes...

Page 142; Household Scraps lists these as suitable foods for rabbits from the home table: Tea leaves,coffe grounds, bones,kipper skins and other fish waste, fat,rinds of cheese, bread,porrige,apple peels, cooked potatoes and the peelings.

Obviously I would never give rabbits fish, meat or cheese.What about tea leaves and coffee grounds, maybe as a trace food? We do have a lot of coffee grounds and tea leaves that go to the chickens.Anyone know their nutritional value? I assume small amounts of homemade bread are fine,I simply don't feed it because mine don't like it, however Ive read about soaking bread with milk for nursing does.Is this wise if you have your own goats? (Would never give them store milk) If they can eat porridge,can they eat leftover home made oatmeal (Oats,Milk,Cinnnamon,Cranberries)? Im already going to raise a batch of fryers on potatoes sometime to see how it goes, just have to grow safe potatoes first.


Page 145;Acorns

What about acorns? Theres a lot of controversy on them. Don't feed, only feed white oak because it has less tannins,all acorns are safe if dried, etc. Also if you half them and leached them in water like some people do for acorn flour, would this make them safer, or harm the rabbits?

I know this is a lot but as I said this seems like the best place to ask about it.
Last edited by Thorn on Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Dood » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:37 am


There is a reason a rabbits liver is one of the largest compared to their body size, it's so they can eat these marginally nutritious and somewhat toxic foods and survive but it's not something I would offer to animals I intend to eat myself

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Re: Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Zass » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:17 pm


I've given whole acorns on occasion as a treat or boredom buster, without trouble. The rabbits seem to like them quite a bit. I should experiment more..

Tannins are basically...the brown part of tea. If you taste bitterness in any wild plant, it's usually tannins or alkaloids.

In high enough doses they can be damaging and can limit absorption of some nutrients, but are not inherently toxic (we enjoy tea, after all,) and can be beneficial in limited amounts.

I always wonder why the tannin content in some foods is questioned more than others?
If I had to guess, I'd suspect, it has a lot to do with people being able to tolerate comparatively less than rabbits. So the foods warned against tannins in regards to human consumption (things we actually eat) would pop up on more websites as possible danger, but things we don't eat, like apple twigs or strawberry leaves, do not.

Many foods I feed the rabbits regularly, like raspberry leaves and stalks, plantains, strawberry leaves, grapevines, apple or other tree cuttings with bark, sunflower stalks, etc etc are all known to be very high in tannins.
A lot of those foods are considered especially safe for younger rabbits BECAUSE they have a higher tannin content.
The tannin content makes many of them more likely to cure diarrhea than cause it.

As far as I know, no tannins are ever stored in the body, or passed on to a consumer. So there isn't any worry about consuming animals that have eaten a lot of them. Thankfully, since whitetail feed so heavily on high tannin foods, and we enjoy eating them every year!

Leeching acorns in water to remove tannins will not harm the rabbits at all, and would probably make it into a very suitable high protein feed.

That said, I really can't see them eating coffee grounds unless they are legit starving.
Maybe I'm wrong, but mine have always been pretty fussy about texture. :?

Always take care to not allow anything fed to rabbits to spoil however, they can be fatally sensitive to bacteria or mold toxins.

__________ Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:17 pm __________

Oh, and the most important thing is to always provide variety. Many breeders have noticed their animals switching preferences as the plants change nutritional contents as seasons progress, or to suit individual nutritional needs.

I personally believe they know when they have had too much of one thing or another, and find a balance if they have enough variety to do so.

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Re: Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#4  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:20 pm


Zass wrote:
Always take care to not allow anything fed to rabbits to spoil however, they can be fatally sensitive to bacteria or mold toxins.

__________ Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:17 pm __________

Oh, and the most important thing is to always provide variety. Many breeders have noticed their animals switching preferences as the plants change nutritional contents as seasons progress, or to suit individual nutritional needs.

I personally believe they know when they have had too much of one thing or another, and find a balance if they have enough variety to do so.


Thanks Zass...In my opinion this is the bottom line-- with all noncommercial feed, feeding programs - and even when adding variety .

__________ Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:20 pm __________

Thorn wrote:So I read book suggested on here, whose name is listed above. I found this book interesting,especially that it had information on geese, which I intend to try next year. I do have a few questions about the rabbit feeding practices listed in this bookend figure this would be much faster than Mr.Googlepants. So here it goes...

Page 142; Household Scraps lists these as suitable foods for rabbits from the home table: Tea leaves,coffe grounds, bones,kipper skins and other fish waste, fat,rinds of cheese, bread,porrige,apple peels, cooked potatoes and the peelings.

Obviously I would never give rabbits fish, meat or cheese.What about tea leaves and coffee grounds, maybe as a trace food? We do have a lot of coffee grounds and tea leaves that go to the chickens.Anyone know their nutritional value? I assume small amounts of homemade bread are fine,

.


I feed mine all of the above, and they like it just fine- except some rabbits don't like coffee grounds unless mixed in with the feed like in the book. [They will usually eat cooked meat first, unless they are starved for greens] To the list of rabbit feeds in the book, I would add J.artichoke. and advise against feeding any avocados. About bread-- white bread is dangerous unless fed as a small part of a "scrap" and potato cooked meal, [like in the book] wheat bread while not as dangerous will still kill a rabbit if very much is consumed at one time.
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#5  Unread postby alforddm » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:55 pm


Also, I just want to add that the "rabbit's can't digest meat" that is touted around in certain facebooks groups, is false. Rabbits digest meat just fine. The main example being their eating dead kits and placenta.

I can provide plenty of other evidence to back up that statement if your interested.

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Re: Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Thorn » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:17 am


Thank you all for the advice. I can't wait to move the rabbits up the the farm that has actual grass and weeds. As for tannins I suppose its a matter of naysayers. Nah,cant eat acorns they uh...(quickly googles) have to many...tannins,yeah to many tannins, so there! My rabbits actually don't like bread, but since I'm planing to experiment with a batch of fryers this year on older forms of feed I'm looking all the options available. As for meat feeding, alforddm I would love to read this evidence if you have to time to list it :) .

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Re: Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#7  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:11 am


Thorn wrote:Thank you all for the advice. I can't wait to move the rabbits up the the farm that has actual grass and weeds. As for tannins I suppose its a matter of naysayers. Nah,cant eat acorns they uh...(quickly googles) have to many...tannins,yeah to many tannins, so there! My rabbits actually don't like bread, but since I'm planing to experiment with a batch of fryers this year on older forms of feed I'm looking all the options available. As for meat feeding, alforddm I would love to read this evidence if you have to time to list it :) .


Like Zass pointed out- it is important to give the rabbits enough selection of "safe" feeds, when feeding things that could cause trouble if they gorge themselves. Almost always, if given a choice - the rabbits will stop eating a certain feed if the "toxic levels" are getting close- For instance ... my rabbits will eat a tremendous amount of malva neglecta, and/or morning glory for a few days, then they will move on to kale, chicory, and carrot tops for a few days--- -during that time they will eat no morning glory, or malva neglecta- in about about 3 days they will go right back to eating morning glory or malva neglecta again .. that cycle repeats over and over ...
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#8  Unread postby alforddm » Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:57 am


This is a direct copy of a blog post I wrote a while back. I haven't written many other posts on the blog so I won't bother to post a link. :lol: I also want to add if someone has alot of meat scraps, and your rabbits are willing to eat them, I see no reason not to feed it.

In certain rabbit circles, it keeps being repeated that rabbits cannot digest meat. This is false and I'm going to go through some of the reasons why.

Generally, when something cannot be digested, it will make you sick. Take lactose intolerance in humans. Someone who is lactose intolerant cannot digest lactose, a form of sugar in milk. As a result of this, they will develop intestinal discomfort, which can include belching, bloating, diarrhea, fat in stool, indigestion, or flatulence. While rabbits are herbivores, they can still digest meat. Rabbits, have evolved the ability to clean their nests by eating dead kits and placentas, both of which are meat. When they do this they do not develop any type or symptoms of intestinal discomfort.

Numerous studies have been done on utilizing meat sources as protein in rabbit diets. In these studies, rabbits successfully utilized the meat sources and grew as well or better than the diets containing only vegetable protein sources. If rabbits could not digest, and successfully utilize these protein sources, they would not be able to grow at good rates on these diets (see sources below).

Not only this but it has been observed that many species of herbivores will become opportunistic carnivores if the opportunity presents itself. Deer, cows, hippos, and elephants, all thought to have been strict herbivores, have been documented eating hatchling birds and other animals.2,3,4 Many of these instances are just now being documented due to the cheap availability of cameras. It is thought that nutritional deficiencies may drive this behavior, but it has not been well studied and some suspect the behavior may in fact be widespread. "Most herbivores can digest meat quite well," said Michael Hofrieter, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute. "It just does not work the other way around.”1

Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, I'm not advising anyone to start feeding their rabbits meat. I just want to stop the phrase "Rabbit's can't digest meat" from being endlessly repeated. It is a false statement. Also, If you feel the need to feed your doe a piece of bacon before kindling, you're not going to kill her. If she eats it, there is probably something missing in her diet that the bacon can provide. There is probably some truth to old rabbit farmers recommending this practice.

A small sample of studies documenting meat protein sources in rabbit diets.

Hatchery Waste
http://docsdrive.com/pdfs/medwelljourna ... 2-1264.pdf

Poultry viscera meal
http://www.indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx ... rticle=015

Earthworm Meal
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3154302

Fish meal
http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd17/3/mban17032.htm

A Mix of Blood a Vegetable waste.
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2012/321516/

Other sources

1.https://news.nationalgeographic.com/new ... feces-dna/
2.https://news.nationalgeographic.com/new ... sdeer.html

3.https://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/fi ... ting-birds
4.http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology ... s-and-deer

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Re: Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#9  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:01 pm


Many points I agree with have already been posted, so I'll not repeat it all. When I started with natural feeding -- I think it was spring of 2007, though I fed lots of weeds as a supplement before that -- there was not much information readily available. I did a lot of research on the plants I had growing nearby, one by one, and gradually expanded the list of good plants. I completely agree with feeding a good variety of different plants and other foodstuffs as being the safest way to feed alternate foods.

For me, the three criteria a food had to meet were safety, nutritional value, and palatability. It's risky to feed something you're not sure is safe, and it is counterproductive to feed something low in nutrition or so unpalatable that the rabbits only eat it out of desperation.

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Re: Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Thorn » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:53 pm


Im planning of feeding my rabbits on grain, pellets,hay,and a variety of greens. (Didn't know they could eat morning glory, although since Native Americans ate the root it makes sense its basically a wild potato.) But I love to explore alternatives to the normal practices. While if I have spare meat it will probably go to the chickens, dogs,or cats it is interesting and could someday be useful to know they can be fed small amounts of meat. I bet it would help the fryers grow out faster. :hmm:

(The amount of smilies on this website excites me more than it probably should. The pastabilities.)

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Re: Feeding Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps

Post Number:#11  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:04 am


Thorn wrote:Im planning of feeding my rabbits on grain, pellets,hay,and a variety of greens. (Didn't know they could eat morning glory, although since Native Americans ate the root it makes sense its basically a wild potato.) But I love to explore alternatives to the normal practices. While if I have spare meat it will probably go to the chickens, dogs,or cats it is interesting and could someday be useful to know they can be fed small amounts of meat. I bet it would help the fryers grow out faster. :hmm:

(The amount of smilies on this website excites me more than it probably should. The pastabilities.)


The rabbit raisers of the past, fed meat scraps,[especially the fat] and so did I -- I believe it did help kits grow faster, but it also helped the does maintain condition, and therefor nurse better-- my does and kits always looked much better , and grew faster in the fall, and early winter when lots of meat scraps were available to mix into their feed rations ..
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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