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grandfather fed rolled barley

723 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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Very interesting, Sommerhill. So, people shouldn't panic when they see corn in their extruded feed - if they are purchasing a feed especially formulated for rabbits the corn can be there if it's properly balanced with other nutrients.

Isn't the rabbit digestive system closest to horses as to any other farm-type creature?

With all the talk of mixing your own feed, and feeding natural forage to the rabbits, I find with the type of life I lead, and the resulting time constraints, I have to put my faith in the brand of feed I have chosen (not the cheapest either!). The feed mix has been formulated with consultation of some of the larger rabbit producers in southern Ontario (western) and my rabbits do VERY well on it. I feed it as their sole ration, as it is designed. It does have corn in it.
and add to that regional differences in weather, availablility of quality feed, the constitution of the stock when you start, how much time you have to devote to research, gathering, the availability of stuff to gather, and as Maggie said the number of rabbits you have, your end goal, etc. I'd love to be able to devote the time and energy to feeding my rabbits more natural foods. Age has taught me not to bite off more than I can chew, and to be more realistic about my personal expectations. I won't start something that I can't carry through with, so my rabbits get the best quality pellet that I can buy locally and that has a consistent supply. (I made the mistake of switching to something they had to special order for me, and availability was not consistent. They only got one chance - they didn't have my feed one time when I went in, and I switched back to the old faithful - and yes, I had enough feed on hand to make a gradual switch).

It's actually one of the nicest things about rabbits. There's more than one right way. One thing for sure is that to be successful you MUST pay attention to what you're doing, watch your rabbits! They will tell you whether what you are doing is good or not - by their weight gain, their condition, how well they breed, etc. And they don't waste any time about it either! They get sick quickly, they can get better quickly, they reproduce quickly. What more could you want?
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