Homemade Feed / should I add anything?

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Rabbitry25613

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I am thinking of making homemade feed for my (Rex) Rabbits vs buying just the organic stuff.
Here are my ideas so far, should I add anything mineral wise or switch anything out for something else?
This is a basic recipe I found on Pinterest that I added to:
Barley (as fodder)
Hulled Oats
Black oil Sunflower seeds
hard red wheat berries
Split green peas
& (Potentially) Alfalfa pellets


I was planning to use the barley on its own as fodder, along with giving them some of this homemade feed mix.
I also was thinking maybe adding kelp, or getting a mineral mixture to add to this if they needed it?
-
What do you think?
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

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Will they have hay? I assume yes but it isn’t mentioned in your post so I have to ask.

Can you just feed free choice alfalfa/grass hay, with some supplemental grain once or twice a day, and a salt/mineral lick? The mix you propose seems a little complicated. What is the reasoning for so many different grains and peas? Do you know what quantities you will use for the different ingredients? If you want to get scientific there are tables produced by USDA on rabbit nutrition requirements - maybe overkill for you but I thought I’d share if you’re interested and they maybe useful as a general guide. Here is a link to an old publication: Link. See p. 21-23. Or do a google search.

As far as I understand if you don’t feed enough concentrates (grains) growouts will not gain weight as quickly. If you feed too much, however, your rabbits may have digestive issues from not enough fiber, and potentially get fat. So it is valuable to use some sort of reasonable guidelines for grains and hay, unless you are comfortable with the consequences. There are others on rabbittalk who feed no or minimal grain, and it works for them.

I would think it could be easy to over do it on kelp and minerals and you may want to feed those in a separate hopper so they can get access to it if needed, but aren’t forced to eat it in their main ration.

We give our rabbits grain at times and some of them are very good at selective eating. Some don’t like wheat as much as oats, and in the morning I find a neat little pile of wheat, and all the oats are gone, LOL. Rabbits are funny.
 

Rabbitry25613

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Will they have hay? I assume yes but it isn’t mentioned in your post so I have to ask.

Can you just feed free choice alfalfa/grass hay, with some supplemental grain once or twice a day, and a salt/mineral lick? The mix you propose seems a little complicated. What is the reasoning for so many different grains and peas? Do you know what quantities you will use for the different ingredients? If you want to get scientific there are tables produced by USDA on rabbit nutrition requirements - maybe overkill for you but I thought I’d share if you’re interested and they maybe useful as a general guide. Here is a link to an old publication: Link. See p. 21-23. Or do a google search.

As far as I understand if you don’t feed enough concentrates (grains) growouts will not gain weight as quickly. If you feed too much, however, your rabbits may have digestive issues from not enough fiber, and potentially get fat. So it is valuable to use some sort of reasonable guidelines for grains and hay, unless you are comfortable with the consequences. There are others on rabbittalk who feed no or minimal grain, and it works for them.

I would think it could be easy to over do it on kelp and minerals and you may want to feed those in a separate hopper so they can get access to it if needed, but aren’t forced to eat it in their main ration.

We give our rabbits grain at times and some of them are very good at selective eating. Some don’t like wheat as much as oats, and in the morning I find a neat little pile of wheat, and all the oats are gone, LOL. Rabbits are funny.
Oh yes, definitely always giving free choice orchard grass- forgot to put that in! I’m just brainstorming ideas right now, this recipe I found online that someone uses for their rabbits but they said they give unlimited feed (didn’t make sense to me) which is why I added to it as I wouldn’t give it unlimited.
i just want to give my rabbits something healthier, and I thought maybe I could do better price wise, then buying the organic rabbit pellets at our local Feed store.

I’m thinking I might just try to give them fodder (with barley) here and there at this point. I’ve heard lots of good things with rabbits and fodder, but still looking into everything
 

judymac

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I was planning to use the barley on its own as fodder, along with giving them some of this homemade feed mix.
I'm not sure I understand this, fodder is traditionally used to describe dried leafy feed, such as hay. Are you planning on feeding barley grass hay, or is barley going to be your main grain, with some of the other grains mixed in?

Feedipedia has a page on barley forage at Barley forage | Feedipedia They note on the 'nutritional aspects' tab that barley grain sprouted and fed at two-weeks was well received by rabbits and can be fed up to 40% of the diet, being too low in protein and carbs by itself, being an average of 11% protein, sometimes as low as 5% protein. Barley hay made in the early milk stage of the grain is only 8% protein.

Barley grain is discussed on Barley grain | Feedipedia, again putting the barley grain at a max of 40-45% of the diet. Oats and wheat are easier for me to purchase locally, so my feed mix is oat based, which also has a high fiber content, a little higher than barley. I have fed barley when it was available, and the rabbits ate it. I use green split peas that I buy in 25# bulk boxes from my local grocery store (the feed store only had whole yellow peas, and the rabbits didn't like them as well). I use a 1-quart measuring scoop for convenience, for a 16% mix you could use 4 scoops of barley/oats (both 11% crude protein), 2 of wheat (12% protein) , 2 of green split peas (23% protein, shouldn't be more than 1/3 of the ration), 2 of black oil sunflower seeds (16% protein, shouldn't be more than 1/5 of the ration), and 2 scoops of Calf Manna (25% protein, could substitute more green split peas for this and still be within legume feeding limits). I found when I skipped the Calf Manna, the rabbits were missing minerals and protein and didn't do well. I have used kelp meal, but my local organic warehouse can't get it in stock anymore. And of course, hay in addition to provide additional fiber and nutrition. If you can get them, dried mulberry leaves are very nutritious, 18% protein. The bunnies love the fresh leaves as well.
 

Ablebreeze

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I don't know where you live or anything. I've been investing what grows naturally on our property. Hairy indigo is one and it's about equivalent to alfalfa.
We also have bamboo. I read that if 10% of their hay is bamboo leaf it helps them absorb their nutrients better, but 20% was detrimental. Just research a lot.

If you want to get grains, I suggest looking for cover crop suppliers neat you. That's the cheapest way to get barley, wheat, oats, etc. Remember though season to season, the protein and other nutrients will vary, as well as with age and cutting.

Have you read Beyond The Pellet? I haven't, but I've heard many people suggest it.

MSU has a lot of rabbit info online too.
 

kusanar314

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I'm not sure I understand this, fodder is traditionally used to describe dried leafy feed, such as hay.
Actually, fodder is what happens when sprouts get old.

You take a drainable tray, put your seeds (in this case barley) in the tray and soak them, then drain, and then get them wet 1-2 times a day for 7 days, then you have fodder. Before 7 days it is still considered a sprout and has the nutritional profile of the seed (or very close), but after 7 days it starts photosynthesizing and has a nutritional profile more similar to the plant (in this case barley grass). It is fed wet (not dried) and has the seed and roots included when fed.
 

judymac

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Ah, now that makes sense. The dictionary definition I read limited it to dried forage, but I see other definitions expand to include any animal green feed. I have sprouted oats for my rabbits and chickens, it definitely improves palatability and nutrition, and extends the feed. Stretching it out to produce green forage would certainly make happy rabbits. The barn bunnies love the fresh greens I bring, and the bunnies in the rabbit tractor sure clean up anything green by the end of the day.
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

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I don't know where you live or anything. I've been investing what grows naturally on our property. Hairy indigo is one and it's about equivalent to alfalfa.
We also have bamboo. I read that if 10% of their hay is bamboo leaf it helps them absorb their nutrients better, but 20% was detrimental. Just research a lot.


Have you read Beyond The Pellet? I haven't, but I've heard many people suggest it.
Do you mean hairy vetch?? I haven’t heard of hairy indigo.

Our library has ‘Beyond the pellet.’ I read it about a year ago. I recall it was a very thin, small book. It was not as helpful compared to reading rabbittalk. It was more like a pamphlet, I thought.
 

kusanar314

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Ah, now that makes sense. The dictionary definition I read limited it to dried forage, but I see other definitions expand to include any animal green feed. I have sprouted oats for my rabbits and chickens, it definitely improves palatability and nutrition, and extends the feed. Stretching it out to produce green forage would certainly make happy rabbits. The barn bunnies love the fresh greens I bring, and the bunnies in the rabbit tractor sure clean up anything green by the end of the day.
Yeah, words are confusing when people use the same word to mean many things (sometimes complete opposites). Some of the big producers are starting to use big fodder systems that are automated and make hundreds of pounds of fodder per day (each day take the oldest out and dump new seed in) mostly for dairy cows and the like. Pretty cool to look into the big systems (I have for my horses, too expensive and I don't have a good source for the massive amounts of whole grains I would need)
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

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Ah, now that makes sense. The dictionary definition I read limited it to dried forage, but I see other definitions expand to include any animal green feed. I have sprouted oats for my rabbits and chickens, it definitely improves palatability and nutrition, and extends the feed. Stretching it out to produce green forage would certainly make happy rabbits. The barn bunnies love the fresh greens I bring, and the bunnies in the rabbit tractor sure clean up anything green by the end of the day.
We use fodder-like plants as cover crops in our garden and this fall started letting the rabbis eat the growing grains (aka ‘fodder’). It worked great! I underseeded these grains among my growing garden plants like corn, tomatoes and eggplant. I found a mix that contains field pea was their favorite. They love the pea vines. At the time I was using an old mix of oat/pea cover crop mix from Johnnys Selected Seeds.

Just thought I’d share because people most often talk about doing fodder inside but it is easier outside - during the growing season anyway. Just toss the seeds out, rake gently, and wait a couple weeks.
 

Ablebreeze

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Do you mean hairy vetch?? I haven’t heard of hairy indigo.

Our library has ‘Beyond the pellet.’ I read it about a year ago. I recall it was a very thin, small book. It was not as helpful compared to reading rabbittalk. It was more like a pamphlet, I thought.
Maybe Harry vetch is a other name?

I haven't read beyond the Pellet. I know it's a short book. I've just seen it recommended several times.
I'm not surprised there's more info here.

I found a website to help make your own cat/dog food (balanceit.com. I found one for making your own horse feed (didn't save it. I don't have horses anymore). I wish I could find one for rabbits. I have the nutritional needs of rabbits and saved a bunch of information from feedipedia and several other sources. In time, I hope to find a recipe that works.
 
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I've been avoiding outdoor growing plants because of the Rabbit Hemorrhagic disease. In my area we have had it show up very close to me. Pretty much all around my home. Myxomatosis, Hemorrhagic, Wry neck, on and on. Those darn mosquitoes pass around all kinds of diseases. I've missed putting my bunnies out to graze.
I'm raising for show and meat... only have 6 holes and the breed I love, American Chinchilla is really difficult to obtain. So they live in our attached garage and get spoiled.
Companies like Oxbow, Kaytee and those who cater to the pet market are storing hay for 4 months to ensure it isn't passing the virus in the hay. Rather spendy way to buy hay although I can get 25 pound boxes of it.
If I was only raising meat rabbits I would go about it very differently though.
 

kusanar314

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Maybe Harry vetch is a other name?

I haven't read beyond the Pellet. I know it's a short book. I've just seen it recommended several times.
I'm not surprised there's more info here.

I found a website to help make your own cat/dog food (balanceit.com. I found one for making your own horse feed (didn't save it. I don't have horses anymore). I wish I could find one for rabbits. I have the nutritional needs of rabbits and saved a bunch of information from feedipedia and several other sources. In time, I hope to find a recipe that works.
I just googled and found this which may be what you're looking for

https://rabbittalk.com/threads/free-online-rabbit-feed-formulation-software.10325/
 

HTAcres

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We use fodder-like plants as cover crops in our garden and this fall started letting the rabbis eat the growing grains (aka ‘fodder’). It worked great! I underseeded these grains among my growing garden plants like corn, tomatoes and eggplant. I found a mix that contains field pea was their favorite. They love the pea vines. At the time I was using an old mix of oat/pea cover crop mix from Johnnys Selected Seeds.

Just thought I’d share because people most often talk about doing fodder inside but it is easier outside - during the growing season anyway. Just toss the seeds out, rake gently, and wait a couple weeks.
Unfortunately i can't do outside fodder like that. At least not in this drought year where I am but I completely agree with the concept.
 

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