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We are thinking about doing this- I gave a beautiful Rex doe who would not raise her kits in a nest box to a friend trying this, not only does she have beautiful bunnies in her shed, they are much less expensive to feed. (She uses bales of alfalfa)- would like to hear from someone else with experience about this-
Thanks- Teri
 

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We do the same and we feed our rabbits everything, scraps, grass, hay, feed,...meat. You'll be suprised what rabbits eat. They seem to love bread the most. Do you mean they have a barn colony or is in a fenced in lot. We have a large fenced in lot. Two females and one male. We pull the male out every now and then to give the females a break. You'll have to be carefull on putting youre rabbits together at first. We noticed that they get preaty rough when they are establishing there pecking order. I seen one female tear a hole in another. They were also picky with the male that they wanted. Anyway, not that I have a decent crew of 3 breeders they produce more than I care to deal with. Another thing. You don't have to worry about the male killing the babies. They all get along fine. They females are the only mean ones.
 

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Lost in the Wiregrass
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my colony is in the chicken pen, they burrow under the coop and have not dug out yet, they dig back into the hill side they are kinda on down deep into the tree roots, the does have litters when they want them and as long as they are well fed they stay in good condition, i have three adult does and an adult buck and then a mess of young ones rangeing from time to butcher to just comming abouve ground,
 

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Crazy Dog Lady
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Missy, you actually didn't start the thread, you posted to the Feeding Rabbits Naturally thread. Where you admitted that you've only been in rabbits for 6 months. The replies were not condescending, there were simply people there with 20+ years of experience raising rabbits who told you to be careful feeding a species-inappropriate diet.

I am a licensed veterinary technician, which is a 2-year associates degree plus a rigorous national exam. I have seen people feed animals all sorts of things short term (and yes, 6 months is short term).... and it comes back to bite them over the long haul.

We are not being arrogant, and we aren't closed minded. However we are basing our recommendations on research and observation of the domestic rabbit and their wild cousins.

They are your rabbits, feed them what you will. However many people come to this forum to find experienced rabbit raisers who can help them, and you are presenting yourself as an authority on this matter when you are not.
 

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Carpe Vinum
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I know of people who have fed their rabbits cat or dog food in one particular instance, when they have does who have eaten a past litter. Some folks say that it seems to supply the doe with something that she needed keeping her from eating her litter. I can't speak as to whether this works or not, as any baby eating doe does not last here. I have given mine a bit of cat kibble in the winter(protein boost) but a very small amount. I would not feed them dog food full time, as a good quality kibble would be inappropriate as it contains too much meat, which would not be good, and a very poor quality kibble is first mostly corn, and then with a nasty list of by-products behind it. I don't have a problem feeding chickens a good bit of dogfood, as they are omnivores, but other than an occasional snack I would not give it full time to rabbits. I'd be concerned about kidney failure in rabbits eating a high meat dog food. Of course only time will tell, 6 months really isn't long enough to clearly judge if your feeding program is a success or not. What dog food are you feeding?
 

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Carpe Vinum
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Okay I did a search and found this-

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=502&S=5

The kidney failure is mentioned, and the fact that it kills off the gut flora is a big problem. Rabbits get something called 'gut stasis' where their digestive system stops or slows, whether from a hairball or loss of proper gut bacteria. It kills them, and as they are double digesters(cecal pellets) a healthy gut is really important. Hopefully the dog food your feeding has a lot of corn and grain products in it, perhaps you'd like to try and make your own mix, adding in more grains and only using the dog food in moderation. Thats what I would do, as I myself feed many things that would definitely not be considered natural feeding. I would be very concerned about feeding the dog food alone, really consider working on your own formula. There are some excellant ideas over on the natural foods thread, take what works for you and use it. Try not to get defensive or upset, we disagree all the time but there's a lot of really great people here.
 

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Just for further thought: Sometimes I eat raw meat (most cultures have some tradition of eating raw meat; it's not that odd). I was taught growing up to sterilize everything that touches raw meat and NOT eat it, which now I know is because of the corrupt meat-processing industry in this country and how easy it is to buy contaminated meat. My research says that meat is safe to eat raw if it is butchered cleanly and IF IT COMES FROM AN ANIMAL THAT ONLY EATS PLANTS. Rabbits (fed their natural diet), ruminants (cows, goats, sheep, deer) etc are okay to eat raw as long as there is no poop on the meat. But chickens, turkeys, pigs (and other omnivores) are not okay because they can contain serious parasites.

Also, cows will eat meat too, but it leads to mad cow disease and other problems LONG TERM that are very hard to get rid of. How long have cows been fed meat in the "industry"? I haven't looked it up, but I'm betting it's 20-50 years before the serious human-killing diseases started up.

Just be careful messing with nature's plan for animal diets. I don't feed mine anything unless I think they might eat it in nature. That means they never get milk and stale bread like some experts suggest, and I don't feed them anything cooked (except those nasty pellets that I haven't completely weaned them off of yet, but that's an organization problem. I didn't grown enough for winter feed, again. I don't eat pellet-fed animals raw, though, just in case.)
 

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Hey guys, I'll sum this all up for you. It doen't matter what you feed them as long as they are eating and there is a variety of different foods for them. Apples are good for humans but if thats all we ate we would get the nutrients we need and we would be walking around hunch back in not time. Just feed them a bunch of different stuff, SCRAPS. They'll eat what they want and leave what they don't. I've been doing scraps, feed, and BREAD.....(they will fight over bread) for many years now and these guys love it and they are producing more babys then we care to eat. We sell some kits to pay for the feed and put a little in our pocket so this has been a very positive project for us.
Our rabbits do burrow a little bit but none have tryed to escape. My thinking is if there happy why do they want to leave. Give them enough room to run and plenty to eat, they will be happy. If not put them back in a cage for a month. They'll get the hint.
I'll tell you when we started this we had some bad experinces and lose all of our rabbits for some reason or another. We kept losing money on rabbit. My wife put an add in the local Iwanna paper "looking for free unwanted rabbits". We were offered more than we could take. I don't feel right butchering soemone's pets so the ones we took are the ones we have for breeding in the coloney. This can be a cheep project if you do it right and experiment a little bit. Always think out side the box. I always lissen to any advise I can get but remenber Vets are in it for the money so be carefull. If they tell you there in the job because they love animals, good then can they come look at animals and give them some of that love for free. You can get better advice from the old timers and people who have been doing this for years.
This just may be my way of thinking....but it seems to work just fine.
 

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Carpe Vinum
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Man I hate it when it looks like I'm talking to myself!! Guess I was anyway, because she didn't listen. Sorry about the thread drift on your thread IHN, here's some sites on colonies that I like-

http://www.rabbitgeek.com/articles/clny_valerie.html
Believe rabbit geek is Franco's site

http://gardenplotter.com/rospo/blog/2007/01/rabbit-colony-update.html
The above is a forumer here

http://www.blackmesaranchonline.com/animals/rabbits.htm

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cuniculture.info%2FDocs%2Findexphoto.htm&langpair=fr|en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_toolsb

That last one is a great site, came from Hannah of Verdant Rabbitry, lots of pictures.

I don't colony raise, have thought of doing so several times, to the point of sitting and drawing up plans. Predator pressure is so high here, I'm afraid its an exercise in futility though.
 

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Budding homesteader
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I really like the IDEA of colony-raising, but I just don't think it would work well for me. Like Honorine, we have predator problems here. We may be moving in a few years back to fire-ant country, and I do NOT want to be losing my rabbits to fire ants!
 

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Lost in the Wiregrass
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i am in the deep deep south where fire ants are strongly in controle, we have several fire ant beds in the yard, but the colony under the coop has no problems with them at all, they have kits under ground and the ants leave them alone, i dont know why but it works for me,
 
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