Trinity Oaks' grain-feed mix

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trinityoaks

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I use a grain mixture based on the one specified by the late Oren Reynolds ("Mr. ARBA"), as outlined in the Storey book, "Raising Rabbits". The grain mix I feed them is:

6 parts oats
1 part barley
1 part wheat
1 part BOSS (cold weather only)

Mr. Reynolds measured by volume, and I do, as well. I try to get whole grain whenever I can, but sometimes I can get only crimped.

Mr. Reynolds' recipe included 1 part kaffir corn (a type of sorghum), but I have never been able to find it. He also included one part terramycin cubes, which I skip because I don't believe in routinely medicating healthy rabbits.

My rabbits get about 1/2 cup of this mixture per day (free choice for nursing does and kits), plus free-choice alfalfa hay (currently I can find only alfalfa cubes). I also give fresh, bunny-safe greens as available, and occasionally a small apple as a treat (no more than once a week).

It's also EXTREMELY important to give your rabbits a salt/mineral block if you're not using pellets. I get the 4-lb. Trace Mineralized Salt Bricks by Ranch House at the feed store (usually in the goat section).

In addition, my rabbits get a tablespoon or two of red vinegar in their water (helps with digestion, and also reduces the odor of their urine), and pregnant/nursing does also get a teaspoon or two of calcium drench (for goats) in their water.

The lesson in salt blocks almost cost me my first buck, and the lesson in calcium cost me a litter of kits and almost cost me a doe, as well.

I grain-feed for several reasons. First, it's somewhat less expensive than pellets for me. Second, I can grow my own feed if I have to, and any spilled grain can be sprouted for greens for them. Third, after reading of all the problems some people have had with various brands of pelleted feed, I'm very glad I made the decision to grain-feed from the beginning.
 

SMR

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Do you feed grass or other kind of hay with it as well? Do you put the cubes in some thing or just place in cage floor? If cubes work well, that's some thing I could easily get around here and can look into using.
 

MamaSheepdog

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SMR,

I give cubes as an occasional part of my herd's diet and I place them on the cage floor. I try to reserve the smaller pieces for the kits since they seem softer than the whole cubes. Since they are compressed I think they may help to wear down their teeth as well.
 

MaggieJ

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I used alfalfa cubes as a substitute for alfalfa hay last year at about this time. I miscalculated how much hay I would need and so ran out of alfalfa hay. I still had grass hay and fed that along with the cubes. It seemed to work fine, but it was a lot more expensive than baled alfalfa hay in my neck of the woods.
 

trinityoaks

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SMR":1d603xit said:
Do you feed grass or other kind of hay with it as well?
My buns don't seem to care for grass hay, and I haven't been able to get alfalfa hay here. That's why I'm using the cubes for now. Hoping I can find alfalfa hay soon, though--should be getting the first cutting before long.

Do you put the cubes in some thing or just place in cage floor?
I generally put them in their J-feeders. If I put them on the floor, the cubes fall through before the buns are finished eating them. They waste less if I put the cubes in the feeders.
 

skysthelimit

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How many rabbits are you feeding? I'm still trying to make this work, but it must be cost effective. I go through two bags of feed a month, 100lbs, which is not really much, about $30. Hay is $5-7. BOSS is $1/lb. Oats are $.90 a lb. I'm calculating how many lbs of each to get a month, and it seems like getting enough a month would easily exceed the cost of buying pellets.
 

trinityoaks

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We have ten buns right now. We've had as many as 28, counting kits. I haven't priced out everything since we moved here, but I was paying between $7 and $9.50 for 50lb bags of oats, barley and wheat. I think 50lb of pelleted feed was more like $15. BOSS is more expensive, something like $12 for a 25lb bag, but we feed that only in cold weather (which we have a lot less of here).

I should also add that they don't always clean up 1/2 cup every day, especially if they're getting a lot of greens, so some days there's enough grain left in the feeders that we don't give more that day. And as I said, any spilled grain gets collected and sprouted for more greens.
 

MamaSheepdog

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trinityoaks":jvqnuq1j said:
Mr. Reynolds' recipe included 1 part kaffir corn (a type of sorghum), but I have never been able to find it.

Kaffir is a derogatory racial term used in Africa (esp, South Africa), similar to the "n" word here. (Remember in Lethal Weapon II the South African Consulate tells Murtaugh "He is one smart Kaffir" (pronounced Keffer)... well, he wasn't being nice!) It is also a term used by Muslims to describe "unbelievers".

Try asking for Great millet or bi-color sorghum instead. It is also called broom corn because it is used for making brooms. :)

Your grain recipe is similar to mine except I measure by weight, not volume. I will have to experiment and see how my recipe would change if I measured by volume instead. I use whole wheat and barley though, and I imagine if it were crimped or rolled the weight to volume would drop. :? I also have whole oats now and am using the crimped only for very young kits.

What is red vinegar? I know of white, apple cider, and balsamic, but red is a new one to me. Is it made from grapes, like wine? Also, I wonder if the vinegar could be mixed with the grains and offer the same benefits? I have an automatic water system, and figuring out how to dose them with anything in the water is way beyond my mathematical capabilities! :x I know that live AC will clog valves anyway, and needs to be offered in a crock.
 

trinityoaks

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MamaSheepdog":20ts9ze7 said:
Kaffir is a derogatory racial term used in Africa (esp, South Africa), similar to the "n" word here.
Hmmmm. . . Learn something new every day!

Try asking for Great millet or bi-color sorghum instead.
I've tried. I did a lot of digging to find out just what kaffir corn was, and that's when I found out about the sorghum, but when I asked at the feed store for it, they said they don't carry the grain, even though it's grown in that area. All the sorghum that is harvested there goes straight into cattle feed, apparently.

I use whole wheat and barley though, and I imagine if it were crimped or rolled the weight to volume would drop.
Good point. I prefer whole grain (so that it can be sprouted), but unfortunately, sometimes I can't get the whole grain, only the crimped.

What is red vinegar? I know of white, apple cider, and balsamic, but red is a new one to me. Is it made from grapes, like wine?
I couldn't say for sure. I find it in the grocery store right next to the white vinegar, in containers ranging from pint bottles to gallon jugs. It may actually be cider vinegar without the "mother". I've never had issues with it clogging the valves, though.

I want to get an automatic watering system for our rabbitry when we get our new place. This is something I'll have to give some thought to.
 

MamaSheepdog

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Do you have chickens? Scratch has "red sorghum" in it- maybe you could pick it out of the feed and try to grow it yourself? I had some sprout in a couple of different places, since I compost everything and my piles apparently don't get hot enough to kill seeds.

As to the vinegar, I was buying AC vinegar in gallon jugs because we add it to the horse's nummie buckets. One day I took a closer look at the label, and it was AC flavored vinegar! ACK! So check the label just to be sure you aren't getting plain old vinegar with food coloring or something! I think vinegar of any sort changes the ph of the urine though and dissolves calcium, so while some types may be preferred for additional benefits, any vinegar will help with certain aspects.
 

Mary Ann's Rabbitry

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trinityoaks":1ocra2a0 said:
I use a grain mixture based on the one specified by the late Oren Reynolds ("Mr. ARBA"), as outlined in the Storey book, "Raising Rabbits". The grain mix I feed them is:

6 parts oats
1 part barley
1 part wheat
1 part BOSS (cold weather only)

Mr. Reynolds measured by volume, and I do, as well. I try to get whole grain whenever I can, but sometimes I can get only crimped.

Mr. Reynolds' recipe included 1 part kaffir corn (a type of sorghum), but I have never been able to find it. He also included one part terramycin cubes, which I skip because I don't believe in routinely medicating healthy rabbits.

My rabbits get about 1/2 cup of this mixture per day (free choice for nursing does and kits), plus free-choice alfalfa hay (currently I can find only alfalfa cubes). I also give fresh, bunny-safe greens as available, and occasionally a small apple as a treat (no more than once a week).

It's also EXTREMELY important to give your rabbits a salt/mineral block if you're not using pellets. I get the 4-lb. Trace Mineralized Salt Bricks by Ranch House at the feed store (usually in the goat section).

In addition, my rabbits get a tablespoon or two of red vinegar in their water (helps with digestion, and also reduces the odor of their urine), and pregnant/nursing does also get a teaspoon or two of calcium drench (for goats) in their water.

The lesson in salt blocks almost cost me my first buck, and the lesson in calcium cost me a litter of kits and almost cost me a doe, as well.

I grain-feed for several reasons. First, it's somewhat less expensive than pellets for me. Second, I can grow my own feed if I have to, and any spilled grain can be sprouted for greens for them. Third, after reading of all the problems some people have had with various brands of pelleted feed, I'm very glad I made the decision to grain-feed from the beginning.
you say the lesson on salt blocks...Do you mean you had to much salt or not enought.?
 

MaggieJ

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Rabbits not being fed a pelleted feed need a trace mineral salt block. These things are already included in pellets. So the problem TrinityOaks had at first was that the rabbits did not have enough salt and minerals in their diet.
 

trinityoaks

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Mary Ann's Rabbitry":1i8or2mg said:
you say the lesson on salt blocks...Do you mean you had to much salt or not enought.?
Not merely not enough, NONE. When we got our first pair, we immediately began transitioning them to grain feed. We were amused that they seemed to love to lick our fingers as a dog would, but not knowing a lot about rabbits, we didn't think it unusual. I did notice, however, that if I had just washed my hands, they would ignore my fingers. I thought that perhaps the scent of the soap turned them off.

Then, one day we found our buck lying motionless in his cage. We were relieved to find that he was still alive, but we noticed that he had not eaten his food nor drunk much of his water, nor could we get him interested in it.

Finally, we had a flash of insight and it dawned on us that he was dehydrated, and why. It was late on a Sunday evening, and everything was closed except Wal-mart. Hubby and I went out and found some unflavored Pedialyte. We put it into the buck's water bottle, and once he tasted it, he sucked it down as fast as he could. Suspicions confirmed!

The next day, I went to the feed store and bought a couple of salt/mineral blocks for our rabbits. The buck recovered completely from his dehydration within 24 hours, and we've never had a problem with it since.

The only drawback is that not too long afterward, my youngest came to me in tears one day, saying the rabbits didn't like him anymore, because they weren't licking his fingers like they used to! It took a while to convince him that the rabbits had been licking us because they were sick, and that now they were well, not that they didn't like us anymore.
 

MaggieJ

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I use the reddish brown ones that are a bit smaller than a brick. They are for general livestock. I just break chunks off them with a hammer and put the piece in small crock or ramekin. This keeps the salt clean and off the wire.
 

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trinityoaks":2aainnry said:
The only drawback is that not too long afterward, my youngest came to me in tears one day, saying the rabbits didn't like him anymore, because they weren't licking his fingers like they used to! It took a while to convince him that the rabbits had been licking us because they were sick, and that now they were well, not that they didn't like us anymore.

Awww! Bless his little heart!
 

trinityoaks

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Mary Ann's Rabbitry":1d8r4p4i said:
So how big are these salt blocks. What do i look for at the feed store and what color are they ect.
As I said in my first post, I get the 4-lb. Trace Mineralized Salt Bricks by Ranch House at the feed store (usually in the goat section). They're tan in color, and the same price as the itty-bitty salt disks they sell for rabbits. I had originally planned to break them into chunks, but leaving them whole seems to keep the rabbits from moving them around so much.

I've never had a problem with the salt damaging the cage wire, but until recently, I lived in a very dry climate. I'll be watching this summer to see how things go, and if necessary, I'll find something to put them on to keep them off the wire.
 

Mary Ann's Rabbitry

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I just called the feed store and i found the small round mineral and salt spool. I bought a case of it. I will not use it yet as they are still on pellets. Picking up my grains this afternoon. Is there anything else i should mix in with the wheat oats and barley and how much should i give at first.?
 

trinityoaks

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Mary Ann's Rabbitry":27gvombn said:
I just called the feed store and i found the small round mineral and salt spool.
You can use those, but they're a WHOLE lot more expensive than the 4-lb blocks.

Is there anything else i should mix in with the wheat oats and barley and how much should i give at first.?
If your goal is to completely transition them from pellets to grain, I would start by giving each bun a teaspoon or two of the grain mix along with their pellets each day, and gradually increase the grains while decreasing the pellets over the course of 3-4 weeks, until they are on only the grain mix. At that point, or shortly before, I would give them the salt/mineral blocks. In addition to the grain mix, you'll want to free-feed them alfalfa hay (or cubes if you can't get hay).
 
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