Too Much Fat? warning graphic images of opened rabbits

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jaxmarblebuns

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I have been the one butchering rabbits’ sense we switched to Californians (about 5 years) and I've noticed that they seem to have a lot of fat. We haven’t had any problems that usually come with obese rabbits, and they don't look overweight from the outside, but when you open them up the average rabbit looks the picture below (the second pick was a doe I think she was about a year and 8 months old, the first I believe was a buck that was about 5-6 months old.) Maybe this is how they have always looked, but I can’t remember. What do you guys think?

I’m thinking about raising one of the litters in a tractor to see if that helps, but I’m not sure if I have the room and security to do that.

this is a link of how they are raised to get a bit more of an idea of what may be the issue.


PS ignore the arrow in the second pick
 

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MaggieJ

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Jax, that is a lot of fat. I had the same issue when I fed pellets to the rabbits (the first couple of years while I gained experience.) What's the use of saying a fryer weighs five pounds if one pound of it is pure fat? A little fat around the kidneys is fine, but I'd revisit my feeding regimen -- as indeed, I did.

There was very little fat in my naturally fed rabbits, maybe just an ounce or two around the kidneys. They had free choice alfalfa/grass hay, fresh forage, and a small quantity of whole grain - no more than a quarter of a cup by volume.

In my last years of keeping rabbits, as my mobility declined, I turned the feeding of the rabbits over to my adult son, who was living with us at the time. He had a "generous" hand and I know the rabbits got more grain under his care. When I finally had to give up the rabbits and we were butchering the does, I found gobs and gobs of fat inside them, much like in your pictures. As a result, I believe that too much grain (and there is grain in most pellets) makes for fat rabbits.

Perhaps you could get hay or hay cubes and reduce the amount of pellets gradually? It might help the situation for the future.
 

jaxmarblebuns

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too much fat. Do you measure or free feed?
Yes, they get one ounce of pellets (volume) per pound of body weight. Weight/size wise they are all comfortably within the breed standard. One of are current bucks is actuality a little small (not under weight, just the runt.) That's why it never seemed to be an issue, because externally and the way that act they don't show being overweight or obese at all.
 

jaxmarblebuns

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Half cup pellets each in the morning free feed hay if they're nursing then 1 cup pellets (I'm trying free feed pellets while they're nursing) I'm new to everything just what I've seen
I have heard of those portions, will try.

I have been trying to find natural feeding information as well, but it’s hard to find, and it’s hard to know if they are getting the correct nutritional values.
 

MaggieJ

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If you offer a variety of natural foods with the diet based on a good alfalfa/grass hay mix, they will do fine. They will need a trace mineral salt block if you are not feeding pellets.

A lot of the information about natural feeding is in among the general feeding section. You can find it using key words in the search feature. Or you can click on my profile and then on the threads I have started and scan down them until you see something that looks useful to you. A great number of the threads I started are about natural feeding.
 

ladysown

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what percentage protein is your feed? the 1 oz per pound is based off 16%.

MIND some rabbits don't need that much.
 

jaxmarblebuns

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what percentage protein is your feed? the 1 oz per pound is based off 16%.

MIND some rabbits don't need that much.
Ours is 18% so, that maybe it. My dad and I have been talking about switching to 16%. The ingredients and values are in the linked post above.

Also, have been researching a little more and was wondering. Would timothy pellets work the same/similar to timothy hay? They always waist a lot of hay, and then it gets mixed into the manure and sense I sell the manure I do not think that would be good. So, I was thinking, if stuck with the one ounce of feed per pound, but did half with just timothy pellets and the other half with the rabbit pellets do you think that would be ok? Or would they not get enough nutrition from that.
 

ladysown

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no, they aren't the same thing. But honestly.. rabbits, if fed a good pellet, do not need hay. you could try them on timothy blocks. It's like compressed hay in a little cube.
 
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