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grandfather fed rolled barley

726 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  MaggieJ
I was just thinking, when I was a kid my grand father fed rolled barley and garden scraps to his rabbits. no supplements and no pellets.
He had a 3 way hutch. room enough for a buck and 2 does. He bred just fast enough to have small bunnies with the does and his larger fryers were raised in a small shed on the floor. The litter was made from dryed grass clippings and he shoveled it and cleaned it between litters.
he filled a old bread pan full of the rolled barley twice a day for the 2 litters worth of fryers, and had a hay type feeder for the veggie scraps.
I am not sure but I think they grew the barley them selves and had the mill prcess it for them. They also fed the barley to the rest of their live stock.
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Corn is NOT high in protein. Its high in starch = energy.
This is a quote from a PhD in horse nutrition, but corn has basically the same effect in rabbits. If you feed corn, it needs to be introduced gradually, and fed with PLENTY of fiber (hay) to avoid enterotoxemia and death. I'm not saying not to feed it, or that it cannot be fed to rabbits successfully, just do some research and learn the basics of animal nutrition if you want to try to balance your own ration to feed livestock that are confined and kept at a high rate of production.
QUOTE: Corn sometimes has a bad reputation as a horse feed, for good reasons. Corn is more energy dense and heavier than oats, so a direct can-for-can substitution of corn for oats will lead to overfeeding. Also, corn is not balanced for nutrients, containing about 71% starch, 8% protein, 4% fat and only 2% fiber. And, worst of all, most of the starch in corn is not digested in the foregut, unless the corn is ground and pelleted or extruded. Most of the starch (72%) from whole or cracked corn is not digested in the foregut and proceeds to the hindgut where it is rapidly fermented. That process results in the production of lactic acid, which lowers the hindgut pH and kills many beneficial fiber-digesting bacteria. Dying bacteria release toxins, and the result can be a horse with colic and/or laminitis resulting in founder. For these reasons, corn should be processed for all horses, and it should not be more than 25% of a pelleted feed. Also, corn screenings often contain potentially lethal mycotoxins and should never be used in horse feeds. :QUOTE
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You know what, SquashNut - that is the thing that drives people crazy, no matter what they are trying to learn. :^) Everyone has a different opinion and different experiences, and you just have to wade through it all and try to make the best decision you can. For myself, I tend to check the source of the information. And then, you have to know if the environment, management style, livestock used, and goals are similar to your situation, too.
I can't tell you how many people I've been talking to say - "I just wish there was a book that would tell you step by step exactly what to do!".
It can get frustrating, but its also so interesting, and I think the discussions we join into can really help us all learn new things and new ways of doing things. And some of them can't help but work. :^)
Lisa at Somerhill
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