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Oxbow Feed

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Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#1  Unread postby WWRabbitry » Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:15 pm


Oxbow feed is what I have been feeding, although I believe the best diet consists of these things:

70% timothy hay
10% alfalfa hay
20% veggies

Are pellets completely necessary? Do you recommend them? Also, is Oxbow Essentials good? What about Kaytee?

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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SableSteel » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:23 pm


I feed entirely pellets (except for nesting or travelling rabbits, they get hay). Decades of research (purina started making rabbit pellets in 1930) has gone into making pellets a complete and balanced diet for my rabbits - however a lot of pellets sold are more sold on 'what consumers will buy' rather than 'what makes a good feed'. (Researching the mills, working together with other breeders so one can become a feed dealer for the brand you want might be what you have to do to get good feed in your areas. What I want to feed is only sold in california sadly). Oxbow and Kaytee aren't good brands for feeding a pellet based diet; oxbow is okay as a supplement to other things imo but I wouldn't feed kaytee. Not only are they not super nutritional, they're way expensive. You can get a 10 lb bag of oxbox for the same price as a 50 lb bag of something else.

When you're looking at a pellet brand the key information is in the guaranteed analysis and the ingredients. You want timothy or alfalfa as the main ingredient -- and other ingredients that are exact in what they are. Some brands of feed change their formula with the season to keep prices down, so you want to try to avoid that. Looking at the analysis- without getting into to much detail, the most important part is protein imo. You want 15-16% for retired or non-breeding rabbits, and 16-18% for nursing or growing rabbits. (Oxbow is 14%, Kaytee is 12%. Purina complete, what I feed now, has 16% protein). Take a picture of the feed tag and post it here and we can give recommendations.
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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#3  Unread postby SixGun » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:35 pm


And as a side note, since most rabbits are raised on pellets and hay as a supplement, going to fresh vegetables can be pretty catastrophic, even with as little as 5% of a diet.
Well meaning people have killed an untold number of rabbits by feeding carrots and lettuce without regard for their actual dietary needs and gastrointestinal limits.

i feed something milled from nearby. It is a small mill that i trust and that has the nutritional requirements I need. All the things I want, and nothing I dont want, like corn or cute shapes and colors. I can get it in 16% and 18% protein blends and I've seen condition go up without losing litter numbers, or suffering more mortality than on other feeds.

I believe each rabbit person will try a few different feeds and settle on one that works best for them. In my opinion feed stores, ranch and farm supplies will have better quality and more economical choices than pet stores and dept stores like walmart.

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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Nymphadora » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:33 am


SableSteel wrote:(Researching the mills, working together with other breeders so one can become a feed dealer for the brand you want might be what you have to do to get good feed in your areas. What I want to feed is only sold in california sadly)

Not to derail the thread, but what's the feed you're referring to, SableSteel? Curious if I've got a feed store that carries it near me... :mrgreen:


As far as the nutrition of our rabbits goes, I am much more comfortable feeding our herd a complete (nutritional) pellet than trying to build a complete diet from scratch. I have heard marvelous things about feeding forage, and natural feed is great, but we don't have the resources to do that around here, and it would be incredibly expensive to try to grow all their food ourselves. Not to mention the greens and leafy bits of veggies are usually much healthier for rabbits than the vegetables themselves (i.e. carrots), and that's not always available at the grocery store.

Since we breed our rabbits, I wouldn't feed anything less than 16% protein, but if you're looking for pet food I think you could get away with 15% as SableSteel said... most of the feeds in our area are either 16% or 18% though, don't think I've ever seen a 15% feed. I have heard of both Oxbow and Kaytee described as "candy" for rabbits, so maybe take a look at what else your feed stores offer and compare the ingredient lists. It might end up saving you some money in the long run as well (most stores price "pet" rabbit food much higher than "livestock" food). :)

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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#5  Unread postby SableSteel » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:12 am


Nymphadora wrote:
SableSteel wrote:(Researching the mills, working together with other breeders so one can become a feed dealer for the brand you want might be what you have to do to get good feed in your areas. What I want to feed is only sold in california sadly)

Not to derail the thread, but what's the feed you're referring to, SableSteel? Curious if I've got a feed store that carries it near me... :mrgreen:


Templeton is the feed I want to try out
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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Nymphadora » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:51 pm


SableSteel wrote:
Nymphadora wrote:Not to derail the thread, but what's the feed you're referring to, SableSteel? Curious if I've got a feed store that carries it near me... :mrgreen:


Templeton is the feed I want to try out

Ahh, yeah I have heard of them! I know KW Cages stocks it, I've seen it at the shows I go to there... I'm sure there's other feed stores that carry it in my area, too. It does look good, but I prefer Timothy-based feed to Alfalfa-based. That would be my only gripe (and even that is minor). :)

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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#7  Unread postby SixGun » Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:38 pm


I've heard good things about Templeton, and I believe the Maki's feed it, and their rabbits always look wonderful. Since I feed alfalfa as a hay typically and not timothy or grass hay, I'm not sure I'd switch though, as I do worry about kidney stones and I figure feeding alfalfa hay is probably about as close as I want to get to that line.

If anyone else feeds alfalfa, do you find there is a lot less waste with alfalfa over timothy or orchard grass hay? My rabbits throw the grass hay everywhere and seem to eat very little. The alfalfa only has the little bit that falls out of their feeders that remains uneaten. It may just be mine though that had alfalfa and I tried to switch them over.

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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#8  Unread postby SableSteel » Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:51 pm


When I fed timothy hay other than nests and padding carriers, I use hay cubes so I don't see too much mess (other than the few that still have water dishes and toss them in there)
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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#9  Unread postby SixGun » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:44 pm


That's exactly what my husband said, go back to the cubes. Ugh, I hate when he's right. But, I should. They're also easier to store versus the loose hay. Sigh... ok, off to go suck up my pride and go to the feedstore.

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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Nymphadora » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:07 pm


SixGun wrote:That's exactly what my husband said, go back to the cubes. Ugh, I hate when he's right. But, I should. They're also easier to store versus the loose hay. Sigh... ok, off to go suck up my pride and go to the feedstore.

:rotfl:

Good luck, SixGun! :lol:

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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#11  Unread postby akane » Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:38 pm


There is a natural feeding section on the forum for forages and feeding less to no pellets but unlike guinea pigs it is far more complicated than hay and lots of fresh foods. Especially if you want to maintain breeding and show condition rather than low energy pets.

There is a similar problem using oxbow and other pellets. They are marketed for pets. If you are feeding nonbreeding and even more so indoor kept nonbreeding rabbits that have little demand on them then a pet pellet might work fine depending on the breeding of your rabbit. It's still going to be way more expensive than a feed store pellet and I wouldn't touch kaytee. The only pet pellet I'd probably use would be oxbow or mazuri is often used for pets while actually being originally developed for research, zoos, and similar situations. It's generally easier and still cheaper to buy a quality pellet marketed for breeders at the feed store. Exact brand depends on your specific area as most feedstore pellets are not sent out from a central location but at minimum from a location in each part of the country or made very individually by lots of mills for their nearby feed store(s). I've even used horse pellets instead with lots of quality, organic hay (actually cheaper for the certified organic weed free hay than the compressed feed store bales) to make up for the fact horse feed is designed to supplement constant hay or pasture. It was good for the colony rabbits because the higher fat helped offset the increased exercise that was getting them marked low at shows for looking too lean. They actually had far more muscle on them than most rabbits but appeared too sleek for commercial type due to all the exercise. My colonies definitely would have failed on a pet pellet with much lower protein, lower fat, and higher fiber despite the fact manufacturers and many pet websites then say to always provide hay with it.

Rabbits have been bred for a long time for increased production with plenty of extra protein and concentrated nutrients available so they don't always readily convert back to a normal wild rabbit diet equivalent as well as some animals might. Aside from their digestive tract adjusting very slowly to fresh foods you do often have to space out litters more and may risk low milk production with slower growth of kits if you try to rely on the hay and fresh food approach too much instead of a pellet or replacing the protein and carbs with other options. Some use sprouted or fermented grains but toxic mold is a risk and it takes a constant rotation of buckets of grain mix.
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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#12  Unread postby SixGun » Tue Jun 26, 2018 10:31 pm


akane wrote: It was good for the colony rabbits because the higher fat helped offset the increased exercise that was getting them marked low at shows for looking too lean. They actually had far more muscle on them than most rabbits but appeared too sleek for commercial type due to all the exercise.


This is a GREAT idea. My colonies are notoriously lean, and although I dont mind the longer grow out for future producing does, I am glad to have found this as an option. What a game changer. Thank you.

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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#13  Unread postby akane » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:42 am


If you don't mind soy ingredients you can also get soft mineral blocks with grain and supplements added for horses that colony rabbits steadily gnaw away. Some are specifically for weight gain on hard keepers or full of fats and proteins that help grow a shinier coat. Provided you make sure lots of hay they like to eat is available or the low fiber in the horse feeds could cause digestive problems. To avoid health issues as well as cut cost horses are usually fed smaller amounts of nutrient packed feed on top of their hay/pasture so you can easily find pellets or bulk feed additives that are much higher calories, fat, and protein to allow free feeding of high fiber sources while still supporting a lot more energy expenditure than the equivalent of being in a cage 24/7. My cage rabbits would get too fat on the horse pellets and a constant supply of loose hay. You just have to balance the feed the way it was intended pretty much the same for small herbivores as you do the big ones.
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Re: Oxbow Feed

Post Number:#14  Unread postby a7736100 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:23 pm


Don't know if it's the feed but couple of my escapees living off the land have beautiful coats that are much better than the still caged ones living off pellets.

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