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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, my dh came home last night with a trio of Californians. Lovely. We had talked about getting rabbits...talked. Love it when he takes the initiative.

So now I have these cute little furballs. They have been fed pellets, and came with about 25 pounds to get them started. However, we feed our chickens and goats COB, grass hay and alfalfa pellets, and I'd love to not have to rely on pellets for the rabbits if they can eat this combo as well.

I had been doing some rabbit research and in one of my books it says they can't tolerate whole barley or oats, though. Is that true? Can they eat the alfalfa pellets as is?

We will be raising them for meat, just for home use.

I apologize if this is a redundant question. I did a search and didn't find anything definitive on whether or not the whole oats and barley are o.k.

Thanks!
 

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They eat the oats and the barley just fine unless the hulls are still on the grain. I would be more concerned about the corn, as too much corn can clog up their bowels. Is the corn whole or cracked?

They can eat alfalfa pellets and grass hay just fine, but that's not nearly a balanced diet for them. If you can get a type of COB in which the barley and oats are hulled (even rolled or crimped) and the corn is cracked, that would be a good addition to the alfalfa pellets. I think I would supplement with additional hulled barley and/or oats to lower the proportion of corn, along with some black oil sunflower seed (BOSS).

You might be interested in the recent threads on home feed mixes, in which we're all hashing out some of these things in more depth.
 

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I feed COB, grass and alfalfa hay and a daily special of fresh food. In winter the fresh food might just be a piece of carrot or beet, a slice of pumpkin or a handful of grain grass. I also count dried summer greens as fresh. In summer, they get large quantities of weeds, safe tree clippings and leaves and some surplus produce from the garden. We are, as Trinityoaks said, working on improving this with a few extra additions.

Use the pellets you have during their transition. Give them just pellets for a few days until they are settled in, then begin mixing in small amounts of COB. They can have grass hay immediately... its the safest rabbit food there is. As the pellets go down, start adding in the alfalfa hay to maintain the protein levels. They should do just fine.

I don't worry too much about the husks on grain, except on corn. Is the corn in your COB cracked or whole? They may avoid the oats if they are not crimped or hulled or they may learn to husk their own, leaving most of the husks in the dish. Acceptance of corn depends on the individual rabbit. Most rabbits, according to studies I have been reading, prefer barley to other grains and do well on it. I think a mix is best.

Grow out rates will likely be slower on COB and hay than on pellets. But it will be cheaper, especially as you will be able to buy in quantity and feed all your critters from the same supply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The corn we get is cracked, but the oats are whole. We mix the COB ourselves, so it wouldn't be a problem to leave out the corn if that would be better. We also do have BOSS and throw a handful or so of that in to everyone along with their grain; it's not measured, more like a condiment, lol.

I figured in the summer we would supplement with fresh greens, and surplus from the garden, but I know that I do need to be careful and only feed the safe plants. We have a ton of plantain growing here, and I've head they love that stuff. We also have a lot of root veggies right now, that I can supplement with until things start greening up again.

Grow out rates will likely be slower on COB and hay than on pellets. But it will be cheaper, especially as you will be able to buy in quantity and feed all your critters from the same supply.
Yes, we figured they'd grow slower, just like our other animals. But we prefer the slower (more natural, IMO) growth rate in exchange for knowing what's going into the meat, and being able to supply the food more cheaply. And yes, I'm so relieved to know that we can feed everyone the same stuff!
 

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Umm...COB? Let me guess - corn, oats and barley? Or carmels, oatmeal and blueberries? Or....
 

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How about sprouting the oats and barley before feeding?
TerryW was doing this, with good results. The only thing you have to watch for is that they don't develop mould.

Umm...COB? Let me guess - corn, oats and barley? Or carmels, oatmeal and blueberries? Or....
Caramels, oatmeal and blueberries! I could go for that, never mind the rabbits! LOL But I'm afraid your first guess was right, Madame... corn, oats and barley.

Lada, your approach to animal husbandry sounds very similar to mine. My byword since the beginning has been "as in nature". BTW, your buns will enjoy that sprinkling of BOSS as much as your other critters do. Great protein and oil content in those little seeds.
 

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The COB I buy is premixed with Mollasses and they clean up every bit of it, no waste.
 
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