Feeding Rabbits Naturally

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by MaggieJ, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. JoannaCW

    JoannaCW Well-Known Member

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    We're transitioning our recently bought rabbits (2 NZ does, pregnant as we hope, and one Silver Fox buck) onto natural food; they're eating a variety of greens and twigs eagerly, and we're using the advice from these forums about which plants are safe to give in quantity. But...

    We have a spell of wet weather coming up and I'm not sure what to do. Cut greens ahead of time and spread them out on trays under cover to feed? I wasn't sure about that because I think I've read that wilted greens lose their nutritional value rapidly. Cut them wet and feed them in small quantities so the rabbits will eat them before they have time to mold? Are the rules for twigs and for soft green plants different?

    Any advice greatly appreciated.
     
  2. feedbunns

    feedbunns Well-Known Member

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    I need a new shade tree. Our died last year. I found a very nice cottonless cotton tree that I want to plant. Can the rabbits have it leaves and branches?
    Here is a picture of my beautiful tree that died. I have a picture of it being cut down but I can not find it. I miss that tree.
    feedbunns
     

  3. wood1963

    wood1963 Member

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    I don't grow anything specifically for the rabbits, but they get all the scraps from the greenhouse and garden. In the winter I stick to a little Timothy hay and pellets, so I don't keep too many rabbits then either. Come spring I ramp up the breeding as I have lots of extras to feed with. I really love having the chickens and rabbits as I never waste anything. I would be interested in a list of the dont's on their food lists. So far I haven't had any health issues, but would hate to feed them something bad for them. One of my does just started pulling her ruff today, so barbeque is on the way!
     
  4. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You need to give us the Latin name for the tree you are planting. It is too risky to approve any plant as a rabbit food using only a common name.
     
  5. Sumatra

    Sumatra Well-Known Member

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    I just got through reading this thread, and would like to say, thank you so much for the incredible amount of information on feeding rabbits a more natural diet!!

    I know it was mentioned back in 2008, but has any new information risen on the topic of Japanese Stiltgrass as a rabbit feed? It's an extremely invasive weed that has taken over several states and crowds out nearly any other plant that sprouts after it does, so I've been looking for new ways to use it.

    And one more thing, why are roses with all their thorns okay for rabbits, while pines are considered dangerous due to the small points on their needles? Seems a bit contradictory, but I've got plenty of roses, so it doesn't matter as much.
     
  6. cloudhidden

    cloudhidden Well-Known Member

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    Hi all-
    I am collecting free and natural feed for my meat rabbit operation, which I am just putting together.
    I am staying away from commercial hay and pellets because I don't want the persistent herbicides found in hay/pellets to make their way thru the bunnies and into my garden.

    I don't have the bunnies yet but am putting away food now.

    I have a pile of red delicious apples. I don't like the flavor of red delicious but could dry them for the bunnies. Does anyone have experience w dried apples for their bunnies? Should I dry them leathery or hard?
    Any precautions? Is any amount safe or should I restrict it to treats? I assume rabbits love them. (?)
    Also, I have lots of redroot pigweed. Does anyone have experience w feeding that to bunnies?
    I have a whole bunch of large outdoor drying racks that I dry rabbit-friendly weeds on and then store as hay. I have pigweed and common mallow coming out of my ears and would like to make use of these. (the lambsquarters are mine!)
    I'm afraid I didn't read all 26 pages of this thread, so if it's already in there, just shame me and I'll go back and read! Lol
    Thanks everyone :-D
     
  7. feedbunns

    feedbunns Well-Known Member

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    Hello Cloudhidden

    yes I dry crab apples for my bunns every year. They do love them. I only give each rabbit 1 handful each day. My rabbits are used to having fresh greens every day. I think if you give them to much dried apples they might get runny poo.
    Try to read this thread and the thread on rabbit illnesses and how to treat them. ( forgot the name of that thread ) There is a world of info that would take you years of research to find on your own.
    Good luck with your bunns.
    feedbunns
     
  8. cloudhidden

    cloudhidden Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! Thanks! I live in orchard country and am always getting free apples, certainly more than I can eat.

    On a side note, I just dried a bunch of red delicious. I don't care for them fresh. However they were delicious dried! I was so surprised!
     
  9. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) is edible for rabbits, but it is best to feed it when young. It not only unpalatable when mature, it may also accumulate unhealthy amounts of nitrates, depending on the soil in which it is grown.

    I use the large mesh bags that oranges and onions come in to dry weeds. Just put them in loosely so that they don't go mouldy while drying. Later, once they are thoroughly dry, you can consolidate several bags into one.
     
  10. cloudhidden

    cloudhidden Well-Known Member

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    I heard that about nitrates in mater pigweed elsewhere too but assume that's not a problem at my place. I'm not really sure where the nitrates come from, but wouldn't that be from chemical fertilizers? I have been at my place 18 years and never fertilized w anything. I don't do the "lawn" thing and my place is mostly weeds. The soil is river bottom silt and rocks from the days of the Missoula floods. Am I ok in assuming a general lack of nitrates in my soil?

    Thank you all so much for the info and feedback. My future bunnies are grateful as well!:)
     
  11. Lookin4GoodLife

    Lookin4GoodLife Well-Known Member

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    Probably wouldn't hurt to take a soil sample to your local extension agent if you're not sure. They can tell you what your makeup is.
     
  12. cloudhidden

    cloudhidden Well-Known Member

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    Oh duh! Right! Thankyou! :)
     
  13. JamieCatheryn

    JamieCatheryn Well-Known Member

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    Many plants are natural sources of nitrates: celery, carrot, lettuce, green beans, spinach, cabbage, beets, strawberries... They aren't bad but you in fact a certain amount of nitrates are vital. But you don't want to be eating or feeding only very high nitrate foods. Nitrogen is fixed in soil and made available to plants by a variety of natural processes, leguminous plants, decay, lightening even.
     
  14. cloudhidden

    cloudhidden Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I read about the lightning thing once! Crazy stuff!
    I think I had better educate myself about nitrogen, nitrates and nitrites.
    I skipped chemistry class in high school, thinking I wouldn't possibly need the info when I got out into the real world! Lol
    I love this forum. So much good information, and everyone into sharing it.
    I think that until I have a solid grasp of the ins and outs of nutrition I'll just feed as much variety as I can.
    When pig weed is referred to as mature, I assume it's that the plant has reached flowering stage, not so much the age or height? The sites on the web all seem like they are quoting from each other, and no one really defines what is "mature". I'm probably safe since I have only been picking the really young stuff but I'm also probably letting a large quantity of usable forage go unused so the extension agent is a great tip.
    Thanks for helping advance my nitrate knowledge! :)
     
  15. puttster

    puttster Active Member

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    sorry, moved to another forum
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  16. H2Homestead

    H2Homestead Member

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    Hi there
    This is such a fantastic thread and a wonderful resource (I've been taking notes as I read through each page!)

    I was hoping that someone might be able to help me to identify these plants that are growing in my backyard. I know they're a variety of tree but I'm not sure what and since we'll be digging them up anyway, I figured I'd try and find out if we could feed them to our rabbits.

    Any thoughts?
     

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  17. GBov

    GBov Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Does anyone feed the wild Passion flower vine? AKA May Pop.

    Passiflora incarnate I think is its proper name.

    I use to feed it to the Guinea Pigs but, with tons of it now in the yard, it would be nice to feed it to the buns as well.
     
  18. cloudhidden

    cloudhidden Well-Known Member

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    H2Homestead,
    They look just like the Tree of Heaven shoots that come up in my yard. Is/was there a mature one anywhere nearby?
     
  19. cloudhidden

    cloudhidden Well-Known Member

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    Another rule-out would be staghorn sumac... Does your plant stink when bruised?
     
  20. cloudhidden

    cloudhidden Well-Known Member

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    The one on the right reminds me of black locust but it's harder to see..