Managing overfed rabbits

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freelady96

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Hi. New to rabbits. I posted my pics in the intro.
When we acquired these rabbits the previous owner would just fill up their feeder and give them as much as they would eat. I initially gave them a half cup pellet and a fistful of timothy hay morning and night, but they all had a fit. I have since been slowly cutting back . I cup in a.m 1 cup in evening wuth hay. They
 

freelady96

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Sorry accidently posted before done. Anyways...
Weve had them almost 12 weeks and they still seem so hungry. How should I manage their feed.? One doe and the cali buck may be overweight but im not sure. How much should they weigh? Thxs.
 
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Sorry accidently posted before done. Anyways...
Weve had them almost 12 weeks and they still seem so hungry. How should I manage their feed.? One doe and the cali buck may be overweight but im not sure. How much should they weigh? Thxs.
Cali’s eat a lot or at least they ones I have had. How old are they? Full grown (6-8 months) they should weigh 7.7-10 pounds. Full grown I feed mine 1 cup in the summer and 1 and 1/2 cups in the winter. If they are younger (less than 6 months) they typically eat more. (in my experience)
 
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Sorry accidently posted before done. Anyways...
Weve had them almost 12 weeks and they still seem so hungry. How should I manage their feed.? One doe and the cali buck may be overweight but im not sure. How much should they weigh? Thxs.
Managing meat breed rabbits' weight can be critical to keep does in production, especially after their first year; the older they get the more they tend to put on extra weight (and meat breeds are selected to put on weight easily to begin with). Overweight does can miss conceiving or die kindling; overweight bucks can get too lazy to bother to breed.

Californian senior bucks should weigh 8-10 lbs, senior does should weigh 8.5-10.5 lbs. That is what the ARBA standard calls for, but some individuals will weigh more or less, depending on the genetic line. Feel their shoulders: if they're flabby across the top and sides, they're too fat! Don't think the dewlap (the roll of fur under their chin - in Cals, even the bucks have it sometimes) is fat, it's not. Neither is a roll around their lower hindquarters (their "skirt"). That just comes with age in the big ones, but doesn't necessarily mean they're fat. And it's not a bad thing in a commercial breed, as it means a bigger pelt. On the other hand, if you can feel their ribs, spines and/or the bones at the top of their hips ("pin bones"), they're probably underweight. A big belly also isn't usually overweight, but more likely a sign of poor condition and/or enteritis (gut problems) or coccidiosis.

I found that Californians did eat a lot more than our Satins, but I managed their weight the same way. When they are juniors and growing, we free-feed them. Once they reach 6-8 months and are close to their senior weight, we give them enough pellets that there are absolutely none left after 24 hrs, with the rabbits being hungry but not panic-striken-ravenous. If I remember correctly, it was about 1-1/4 cups/day for the Cals. When I needed to reduce a rabbit's weight, I would cut it back by a little (say go from 1-1/4 down to 1 cup), but give the rabbit free-choice hay to keep it from being miserable while it was on a diet. Rabbits won't get fat on hay; on the other hand, commercial pellets are made specifically to put on the pounds. It's better to give your rabbits, especially the meat production breeds, slightly less food than they need, than to overfeed them (works that way with humans too, haha!)
 

Sapphire16

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I so agree with freelady, my only addition is to give your rabbits free choice on hay, it keeps their guts moving, keeps them from feeling starved and gives them something to do. Orchard Hay or Timothy is great. Also when mothers are nursing they along with the kits need free choice pellets and we suppliment a little rolled oats and black sunflower seeds to help condition and milk production.
 

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