Getting Off Pellets: Some Questions

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EarthView

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Hey all, so I've just gotten my rabbits off pellets and I have some questions about the way I'm going about it. Currently my rabbits (NZ and Mini Rex, one Mini Lop) are getting 1/4 cup whole oats, and alfalfa cubes daily with a pinch of BOSS every other day (its been cold lately). They also have access to a mineral block (American Stockman trace mineral block broken up into pieces). Should I look into adding one or two more types of grain to the oats? Our feedstore only has oats (marketed as Racehorse oats, ingredients are oats and soybean oil), but there's a co-op/feed mill about 14 min away that I could look into for barley and/or wheat. Are there other grains I should ask for if I go that route? I'm also looking into starting a garden this summer, and I'm interested in growing root vegetables and squashes for them.
 

Zass

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More variety is always better, but instead of focusing on a variety of different grains, I strongly recommend researching forage plants that you may already have on your property. You would be surprised how many unwanted invasive weeds can be fed to the bunnies, and the bulk of your garden weeds are excellent for them.
 

michaels4gardens

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A mix of diferent grains is good,
adding some good quality grass hay would be good,
as the diet listed, is a little low in long stem fiber.
 

Rainey

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Welcome to RT. You'll find lots of help about feeding rabbits without pellets in the natural feed forum. Everyone does it differently, depending partly on their goals and on what is readily available. We have been raising meat rabbits, just to feed ourselves--not commercially--for a few years now. At first we were worried about adequate protein, tried to grow alfalfa with not much success. We do have lots of willows and we feed willow year round, fresh in season and dried through fall and winter. We also feed a little grain (wheat, oats, BOSS) and some root vegetables, and lots of fresh forage spring through fall. And they always have hay in feeders that hang outside their cages so they can pull it through the wire. (We make hay for our 2 dairy goats so only need to make a little more for the rabbits) The fresh forage depends on the season. We notice what the rabbits seem to like and give plenty of that when available, but also make sure they are getting a variety. You can find more details about what we feed if you look for my posts in the natural feed forum.
 

EarthView

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michaels4gardens":2m4z0c39 said:
A mix of diferent grains is good,
adding some good quality grass hay would be good,
as the diet listed, is a little low in long stem fiber.
What should I look into adding for fiber? We're going to be getting a few bales of alfalfa soon, I'm not sure if loose hay is better than the cubes fiber wise. I contacted the co-op today to check on their availability of wheat, oats (to see if theirs are cheaper), barley and milo so that I can add some variety to the grain mix.

__________ Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:25 pm __________

Zass":2m4z0c39 said:
More variety is always better, but instead of focusing on a variety of different grains, I strongly recommend researching forage plants that you may already have on your property. You would be surprised how many unwanted invasive weeds can be fed to the bunnies, and the bulk of your garden weeds are excellent for them.
I'm definetly going to feed all the weeds I can, unfortunately I belive bindweed is not sutible for rabbits and thats the main weed we have. I do give them maple branches and leaves, along with fresh grass and weeds. They get our veggie scraps as well. Hopefully my garden will go well this summer and I'll have more to offer them too. <br /><br /> __________ Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:49 pm __________ <br /><br /> Update on the grains: Wheat is only $9.15 a 50 lb bag!!! I can get barley too for the same price as oats. I'll definitely be ordering some when I have a chance.
 

michaels4gardens

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Quote, "What should I look into adding for fiber? We're going to be getting a few bales of alfalfa soon, I'm not sure if loose hay is better than the cubes fiber wise. I contacted the co-op today to check on their availability of wheat, oats (to see if theirs are cheaper), barley and milo so that I can add some variety to the grain mix."

Long stem fiber...
Some alfalfa is "stemmy" and has a lot of fiber, some is "leafy" and has very little "long stem fiber".
Feeding alfalfa "cubes" has a lot less waste, than feeding baled alfalfa .
I usually provide grass hay for long stem fiber, as it is always available.
Rabbits will eat more grass hay if they are low on fiber, or less if the diet already has enough.
In the late summer and fall, I use corn stalks,and then jerusalem artichoke stalks, until they are all used up,
Then, I go back to grass hay.
I also feed fruit tree limbs in the winter, [pruned off my apple and plum trees].
I feed mulberry and willow, leaves and branches.
All the above,[except the leaves] -provide an abundance of "long stem fiber"...
 

SoDak Thriver

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michaels4gardens":20fenr1n said:
I also feed fruit tree limbs in the winter, [pruned off my apple and plum trees].
I feed mulberry and willow, leaves and branches.
All the above,[except the leaves] -provide an abundance of "long stem fiber"...

In addition to mulberry and willow, we have LOTS of poplar (cottonwood, esp) and the rabbits eat that very well.
 
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