Making silage for rabbits?

Provide a well rounded diet without commercial feed, including discussions of the methods and merits of growing fodder.
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Re: Making silage for rabbits?

Post Number:#16  Unread postby ramblingrabbit » Fri May 24, 2013 4:06 pm

The reason I thought silage over hay initially is because of my climate. I would be afraid of drying forage only to have it get moldy at some point in the ambient humid air. Mold grows on EVERYTHING in Hawaii. I hang a shirt in an open closet in my bedroom for two months and it smells moldy. The wooden ceiling has mold growing on it if we don't clean it regularly. My shoes are growing mold. Mold even grows on plastic here. The farm supply store only carries small amounts of poultry and rabbit feeds at one time because it starts molding in the paper bags as soon as it gets delivered. Back when i first got my two rabbits, and stopped off at the store to buy pellets, they told me to only get a ten pound bag for two rabbits, because it would go moldy otherwise. I buy straw for the chicken coop in fifty pound bails at a time, and it's moldy before I can get through it.

Another thing that attracted me was that I've read somewhere that silage is more nutritious than hay.

Maybe since mold is going to be a hazard no matter what though... I suppose I could try to dry some hay up really quickly, seal it up tight in something like a plastic bin with a sealable lid, or maybe better yet in several differnt smaller containers. That might work, if I used it up quickly enoough and made sure to keep it dry when opening and closing the container... I'd hate to have it mold on me though.

Has anybody else in humid climes had luck with this?

__________ Fri May 24, 2013 11:06 am __________

Frecs wrote:There are youtube videos on making silage on a small scale. But, after watching a good many of them and doing other research, I decided that for rabbits it is better to "make hay" or as I saw it called on one site "dried rabbit salad". IOW, dry the plant matter (guarding against mold) and mix a variety together and store for wintertime feeding. I have not begun this process yet as I have so many projects to do as it is! How to dry (especially in a humid environment) and store large amounts is one of the issues I've not yet resolved.

I like this idea. In my case of course it wouldn't be for winter feeding, but just to relieve the burden of some of the daily forage collecting and make feedings more efficient--and a more "idiot-proof" chore so it's easier when I have to delegate it to someone other than my immediate family. Of course, if I can't store decent amounts at a time without mold issues, I'm not sure it's going to do much for me...

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Re: Making silage for rabbits?

Post Number:#17  Unread postby wisnoskij » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:07 pm

akane wrote:Generally silage is not used for goats, horses, and rabbits because they are too sensitive to bacteria or mold that can contaminate the feed. One rip in your silage wrap and you have no more herd.

Hay is very hard to get right and will always have some amount of mold. Often in tiny tiny amounts that are not important, but even when it gets into amounts that can be dangerous it is very hard to spot. Silage on the other hand, since it is wet will either be completely wrecked and you will be able to tell from 20 feet away or it will be oxygen free and mold/etc. will literally be unable to survive in it.

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Re: Making silage for rabbits?

Post Number:#18  Unread postby alforddm » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:52 pm

Maybe dry your greens with a dehydrator and then seal it with a vacuum sealer?

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Re: Making silage for rabbits?

Post Number:#19  Unread postby robeyw » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:06 pm

I gave my pet rabbit free access to fresh grass over the summer and she very rarely ate hay. As fresh grass became less available, I found that she hated commercial timothy hay and did not like the hay I made (less mature grass dried at room temperature without sun exposure) much better. I made some silage mid summer and very gradually introduced it to her. My process was to reduce fresh grass then slowly introduce the silage while continuing to reduce the fresh grass which is of decreasing quality and variety. While she prefers the fresh grass she greatly prefers the silage to hay. While the commercial hay is available at all times and everything else I give her is eaten immediately, about half of her calories are from commercial rabbit “pellets” (actually extruded formulated food).

I have seen professional answers, for example,saying rabbits can eat silage but that it is not practical. I only use it to provide some relief from hay and made it as follows: The grass was cut before flowering during a dry period and packed into wide mouth quart jars, cut only enough to allow packing, pumped down to .1 atm and back filled with nitrogen with a canning lid tightened enough after back filling to provide a vacuum seal but loose enough to allow gasses to safely escape. Stored at room temperature of about 78F during summer and down to 48F in cool weather and barely above freezing after opening ,I see no indication of mould or rot. For comparison, I prepared one jar with only the air fill and it is not acceptable. The general recommendation is to dry it some in free air before packing but on this small scale production, it is hard to know how much.


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