Fast Weight Gain

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by minnikin1, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

    Feb 3, 2003
    Central NY
    I have an angora buck who dropped some serious weight after damaging his teeth. (cage biting)

    I've been clipping them and now they seem to be straight and fairly even again, and he's eating, but he's thin thin thin.

    What can I feed that will help him gain as fast as possible? (He's not a chow hound - he barely cares for pellets.)
  2. TerriA

    TerriA Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    I read your message last night and didn't know exactly how to respond. I thought about it and I guess if he were MY rabbit, here is what I would do..

    First, you don't want FAST weight gain.. most of that would simply be FAT.. not good!!! Am I understanding you to say he is not eating pellets? That makes it tough to get enough of the necessary nutrition per day (not impossible of course!!! But much harder). You want a slower rate of gain so the feed will convert to muscle and build true condition.

    If that is the case, then I would try to find some nice alfalfa hay for him. I shudder when I say this but even Walmart has those little bags of alfalfa.. and they are VERY tender without a lot of stems. If you have access to a bale of alfalfa, that would be good, too.. the stems can add fiber IF he will eat them. I am just guessing that perhaps his teeth hurt now?

    I'd also offer Quaker Oats (or generic type). Perhaps a couple tablespoons a day. Do you have access to fresh dandelions or comfrey? A couple of those a day until he starts eating well may help stimulate his appetite.

    By all means, keep offering his pellets.. once he is up to eating a half portion, cut back a bit on the oats, etc.. always keep alfalfa or hay available. Hay, once he is up to 3/4 his normal feed. Dump out any he doesn't eat on a daily basis.. no rabbit will eat old, musty, slightly damp feed. If he doesn't like what you are using, is there another breeder close by that has a different type of feed that you can mix 50/50 with your usual feed for a few days and then cut back to your normal feed? (cheaper than buying another whole 50# bag of feed <G>)

    I know that some people have had good results top dressing with one or two of the following top dressings on pellets in the winter to give extra energy and avoid losing weight due to cold- VERY sparingly, btw.. the trick is to get him to start on the pellets without starving him in the process- perhaps a Tablespoon per day of ONE of the following:

    Flax seeds
    Black Oil Sunflower seeds
    rolled corn (I try to avoid this at all costs... but up to you)
    Calf Manna (high protein.. do not overdo! Bucks have problems metabolizing excess proteins!)

    I'm sure there are more but others can chime in, too..

    Also, if you have access to dried herbs (I do, so for me it is a no brainer <G>), I'd try a weak tea of the following ... perhaps 1/4 cup per bottle of regular water. (can also offer these dried herbs mixed with pellets!! Perhaps a couple Tablespoons per day)

    Chamomile (reduces stress and soothes tummy troubles)
    Alfalfa (adds vitamin A and more)
    Red Clover tops (very good really and adds vitamins, etc)
    Parsley (easy to find in grocery stores <G>)

    Also something to consider is .. does he need worming? Overload of worms or cocci can cause weight loss.

    How does his wool look? Is he molting? If molting, harvest his wool (pluck the LOOSE stuff and clip down the rest)... growing wool also uses up energy and you want to convert all energy to conditioning his body.

    Also check out his hocks... sore hocks can make rabbits go off feed .. if he has them, treat with antibiotic ointment and follow up with preparation H.. try a "body size" resting board made from dry wall... try a lumber store and see if there are some peices that are broken, etc to get cheap (easily cut with a utility knife- score/bend/cut the other side's paper).

    HTH a bit... what do others have to say???


  3. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

    Feb 3, 2003
    Central NY
    I wouldn't say he's "off" his pellets. He just never has really enjoyed them the way the others do.
    I have access to fresh alfalfa, dandelion etc. but I've been afraid to give too much. He adores that. I fear that is what spoils his appetite for pellets.

    Other than the teeth thing, he's healthy. He gets wormed and regular shearing.
    He's a house rabbit and gets all the exercise and fresh air he wants.
  4. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 18, 2002
    A couple tablespoons of cracked or rolled oats on top of his pelleted feed each day should do the trick. But fair warning... like the doe who went on a hunger strike, he will prefer the oats to the pelleted feed! You may wish to consider adding vitamins to his water, too.

    Pat Lamar
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    Chairperson, ARBA Commercial Department Committee