Natural Feed - will this work?

Rabbit Talk  Forum

Help Support Rabbit Talk Forum:

MuddyFarms

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
550
Reaction score
452
Location
NW US
Started my fodder growing experiment today. Soaked two small batches, two different ways and seeing if I’m successful! This morning the bottom one in the images has sprouts starting!! I’m more giddy than I should be, but I honestly thought they wouldn’t grow because they didn’t expand much while soaking and were still quite hard. The top one has about 5 sprouts, not doing as well as the other. All the white dots are the sprouts but it seems a little blurry to see them after upload.

Awesome! Thanks for sharing.
 

JG3

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
174
Reaction score
92
Location
Southwestern Ontario
Okay. Day 6 of my experiment. One container was soaked in regular town tap water, nothing added. I wanted to see if what they do to the water with chlorine and such would be enough to keep mold at bay. The other container was soaked in same water with apple cider vinegar added. I read you could do that instead of bleach or peroxide to prevent mold and wanted to try it.
Results... the ACV soaked one grew slower. One day behind but seems to have caught up today, on day 6.
The regular water soak, I found a corner of it a bit fuzzy today. So I cut it off before it infected anything else to inspect. I put it on my counter then went to do something and came back and it has turned pink! And the fuzz seems to be there less now, but you can still spot a little near the bottom. Can anyone confirm if this was/is mold?
 

Attachments

  • A7604EED-7ED8-4C17-9A8C-CF9BF56688B0.jpeg
    A7604EED-7ED8-4C17-9A8C-CF9BF56688B0.jpeg
    164.5 KB · Views: 14
  • 779A1844-4AE7-4156-BCF1-134D25210BCD.jpeg
    779A1844-4AE7-4156-BCF1-134D25210BCD.jpeg
    134.2 KB · Views: 14
  • CFEC319B-A719-4FE4-A453-84AF3FEF22AB.jpeg
    CFEC319B-A719-4FE4-A453-84AF3FEF22AB.jpeg
    120.2 KB · Views: 14

JG3

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
174
Reaction score
92
Location
Southwestern Ontario
Also, how tall should it be before feeding to rabbits? Things I’ve read, by day 6, it’s much longer than mine. Does that matter? I’m guessing my kitchen was cooler than usual being winter and near a window, plus turning out heat down at night, it ranges from 18-21°C in the room.
 

MuddyFarms

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
550
Reaction score
452
Location
NW US
Looking good! Ooh...I don't know if that is mold or not... although it seems pretty likely? Interesting that it turned pink after it was disturbed. When searching pink mold on food, various sources are saying that it is not just mold, but also a bacteria. I am not very familiar with this, though. Lower down in the picture on some of the wheat berries there does look like some mold, perhaps.

You can feed the fodder at pretty much any point in the growing period- from merely soaked overnight to barely sprouted to grown 6 inches tall. I think I would go by time-frame (a certain number of days based on how it does in my house/setup).
 

ladysown

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
8,560
Reaction score
978
Location
near London, Ontario
why do you need to add molasses to a grain mix? I give a grain mix to my rabbits and they clear everything up... even small seeds like mustard, quinoa and millet. So I'm just curious on the reasoning behind the molasses.
 

MuddyFarms

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
550
Reaction score
452
Location
NW US
why do you need to add molasses to a grain mix? I give a grain mix to my rabbits and they clear everything up... even small seeds like mustard, quinoa and millet. So I'm just curious on the reasoning behind the molasses.

I was originally using the mixture as a treat and breeding supplement for them. The molasses held the powders like kelp powder onto the grain, in addition to the small seeds. That way I knew they were getting the kelp and seeds and weren't picking through it (because I knew some would). But I do feed plain grain more often than the mix.
 

bighairbuns

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
57
Be careful of your sourcing for the alfalfa hay and flaxseed. The commercial production of both leans heavily on GMOs. Unless you are specifically buying organic and non gmo products, the money is on it being GMO.
 

dlynn

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
51
Reaction score
76
Sorry for all my posts of question after question. LOL. Just starting out and I’m a researcher before jumping in.

Okay, for raising meat rabbits, I refuse to feed GMO pellet feed. I cannot get the non-GMO pellets because the minimum order is 1 tonne and that’s too much for a personal, backyard rabbitry.

We have decided to transition the rabbits we get to natural feeding. My only worry is meeting everyone nutritional need (I’m okay with them taking a couple extra weeks to grow).

My current feeding plan idea to transition them to is:
- hay (alfalfa/Timothy)
- fodder (going to make system and likely do year round, unless I can forage enough, but I’m not confident in trusting that starting out, I want a back up I can rely on)
- trace mineral salt lick
- forage from our yard (dandelion, comfrey, herbs, apple twigs)
- rolled oats, BOSS, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, etc for those that need more energy or fat like pregnant and nursing does and growers

My questions are:

1. Does this cover all nutritional needs? Or is there something I’m missing? Obviously amounts of everything will depend on how each rabbit does, but is there an obvious hole anywhere?

2. For ease of storage and convenience, can I use Timothy/alfalfa hay cubes instead of loose hay? Will this provide enough of the long fibre to keep their systems moving? I also like the idea of it being harder to grind their teeth on, less hay waste and not worrying about hay bale storage. We would only really need to make sure we had some hay or straw for the nesting boxes.

3. Is the best way to lower the pellets, by testing them on the fodder and slowly increasing it, while slowly decreasing the pellets? As that’s where most the nutrition would be coming from.

Feel free to share any other thoughts and wisdom with me too. Thank you.
Keep asking! You're asking for lots of us. And I m thinking like you too.
 

JG3

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
174
Reaction score
92
Location
Southwestern Ontario
Be careful of your sourcing for the alfalfa hay and flaxseed. The commercial production of both leans heavily on GMOs. Unless you are specifically buying organic and non gmo products, the money is on it being GMO.
Thank you! I’m aware! In Canada we only have GM alfalfa on the east coast. No where else. So as long as my source isn’t from there we are good. I found one from the west and they state non-gmo too. And anything else we would buy organic, or at least non-gmo if organic isn't available.
 

Cindy in SD

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2022
Messages
68
Reaction score
54
Location
Western South Dakota, USA
White growth is typically okay in fermentation for human consumption. In fact, I was surprised when I tasted some; it was cheesy (though it wasn't a dairy ferment) and really good.

Pink or any other color means you should toss it. Realistically, if you get any kind of unknown growth it's there to stay. You need to disinfect everything and most likely move your operation into an entirely different location. It looks like your sprouted fodder needed better drainage and/or better air circulation. Also, the fodder should be used before it gets too tall or the nutrients in the seed begin to be depleted by the effort of growing.

I realize that domestic rabbits are a distinct species from North American wild rabbits. That said, both are pretty resilient. We had naturalized domestic rabbits on the grounds of a place I owned once. They lived there on their own and had done for a long time before I came on the scene. It seems to me that a varied diet including sufficient protein is likely to succeed. We're not as careful of our own diets.

If you're planing to raise rabbits commercially that's one thing, but if you're just raising on a small scale for your own consumption, then profit margins don't matter as much. Caveat: I do have a pretty high risk tolerance.

There was some talk about loose hay being hard to store. I haven't done this, but I've seen youtube videos where people cut their fields with a scythe (a gasoline trimmer would work and I already have one of those...), lay it in the sun for an hour or two then rake it out in a different direction until it's dried out (it dries fast around here). Then they pack it into a (clean) trash can with twine crossed beneath the mini-bale-to-be. Once it's well packed (some kind of a tamping device is helpful), they tie it up and voilá; a small bale of hay which is easily stored, preferably off the ground at a sufficient altitude to discourage rodents.
 

Missy's Mom

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2022
Messages
21
Reaction score
18
Out of curiosity, what do you have against GMOs? There is a huge misconception about them; without GMO food, much of we enjoy today would not exist. Corn, soy, canola, alfalfa, and potatoes are my favourite examples. More palatable, bigger yield, pest/drought/disease/etc. resistant, etc. are all things that traits that were introduced with selective and variation breeding.

In fact, most "non-GMO" products are not actually "non-GMO" at all. Foods from even 20 years ago compared to now are genetically modified. Brussel sprouts used to be bitter and gross, but now they are delicious and buttery. That's not your taste buds changing; that's "GMO."

I would bet that even the "non-GMO" feed you found is actually GMO. So I suppose what I'm trying to say is if you are still hard anti-GMO, a forage diet would have less GMOs (but probably not none, realistically). But I digress.



I currently feed pellets, and I'm also wanting to switch to natural when I have the acreage to do so. However, I was tired of the waste, mess, and storage of hay and tried out cubes last summer. I loved them and they were super easy. Most of my fryers went crazy for them, but the breeders were relatively uninterested.

Again, I fed pellets as well, but everyone did great on the cubes and no loose hay. The only issue I had with it was, at least the brand I got, there is molasses in it to keep it compressed. I didn't have anyone get too fat on them, but I did feed less than I would have feed loose hay to avoid those extra sugars. If you're ever worried about fibre then you can feed corn stalks as well, which I find easier to store than loose hay.



You got it. Diet changes should be gradual to not upset their gut. Almost every rabbit I've had prefers fresh forage over pellets anyway, so I'd suspect you have an easy transition.

What I do is start off with a handful of rabbit-safe forage on top of the pellets. As it gets closer to summer, I slowly increase the forage until they get free fed the forage (and also measured pellets) for the entire summer. I don't have any good way to do winter forage, so they gradually go back to pellets, grains, and hay for winter.

I think if you were to do it gradually how you describe, ensuring they have access to the mineral lick in this time, the rabbits should be fine. But, again, I also feed pellets so would love other input here!
Tons of issues w/ GMOs. SELECTIVE BREEDING for better tasting Brussel sprouts, drought resistance, etc. has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the GMOs we need to avoid. The problem w/ the GMOs is that they are modified by pesticide companies to allow them to live when more poison -- EXTRA POISON that is -- is sprayed on them to kill "weeds". Problem is that those applied poisons now get into our food, as well as animal feed, and their manure -- some of which is then spread on crops, which then fall to the poison, because they are targetted as weeds by poison. Not sure if the hay sprayed was GMO in this case, but this is what can happen. SS-AGR-415/AG416: Herbicide Residues in Manure, Compost, or Hay
 

Preitler

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
381
Location
Austria
Not to mention that Glyphosat is an antibiotic that targets processes animals don't have, that modified plants can do without, but to me it seems plausible that we relay on taking in the products of those processes to be healthy. I can't wrap my head around how this epidemic of allergies (and quite some other stuff) is silently accepted like it was always there, or if it were a law of the universe.

This is just my opinion, but I think we are doing some things fundamentally wrong, all for profit.
 

Missy's Mom

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2022
Messages
21
Reaction score
18
Thank you! I’m aware! In Canada we only have GM alfalfa on the east coast. No where else. So as long as my source isn’t from there we are good. I found one from the west and they state non-gmo too. And anything else we would buy organic, or at least non-gmo if organic isn't available.
Have you looked into sweet potato vines as feed? Some research says it has as much protein for buns as alfalfa... I'm trying to get some started myself. This youtuber grows it in a hotbed and here is a link to research Sweet potato vines in diets for growing rabbits on performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality - PubMed
 
Last edited:

MuddyFarms

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
550
Reaction score
452
Location
NW US
Have you looked into sweet potato vines as feed? Some research says it has as much protein for buns as alfalfa... I'm trying to get some started myself. This youtuber grows it in a hotbed and here is a link to research Sweet potato vines in diets for growing rabbits on performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality - PubMed


Thanks so much for that article and information! I am glad to know about using those as feed; and at up to 100% replacement for alfalfa in their diet, too. This I will be looking into more. :D
 

Cindy in SD

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2022
Messages
68
Reaction score
54
Location
Western South Dakota, USA
Has anyone tried/looked into growing sweet potato vines in a bed of tomatoes? I would need to grow both in my greenhouse beds as we can have frosts all year. I'm excited about using the vines for rabbits and for chickens (etc) as well; I'm just limited on useable space for both. I've seen sweet potatoes mentioned as a companion planting option for trellised tomato plants; just wondering whether anyone out there has done this.
 

ladysown

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
8,560
Reaction score
978
Location
near London, Ontario
if you have apple or pear orchards near you, you might want to contact them about getting their tree trimmings. Depending of course on how many rabbits you end up getting. I know when my neighbours apple trees were still being trimmed back annually they produced more than enough for my 20 rabbits.

Hay cubes were something to be peed on according to my rabbits so they were a complete bust, even among my youngsters. I tried both alfalfa and timothy. I ended up bagging them into ziplocs and selling them to the pet rabbit community.
 

dlynn

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
51
Reaction score
76
Has anyone tried/looked into growing sweet potato vines in a bed of tomatoes? I would need to grow both in my greenhouse beds as we can have frosts all year. I'm excited about using the vines for rabbits and for chickens (etc) as well; I'm just limited on useable space for both. I've seen sweet potatoes mentioned as a companion planting option for trellised tomato plants; just wondering whether anyone out there has done this.
Sweet potatoes like lots of heat. Not tried in greenhouse but if you mainly want vines, they do well in hanging pots in the house. Just keep cutting them back. They bush out. I've even had them try to make tubers inside. Tiny because they were in a tiny pot. Bigger pot would work better.
 

Latest posts

Top