oats and hay as rabbit feed

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by ridethatpony, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. ridethatpony

    ridethatpony Well-Known Member

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    I started raising NZ this past summer, as meat for my family.
    During the summer, while they were producing, I fed them
    commercial rabbit feed.
    Since I was not, and have not, wanted babies until spring, I
    switched my doe and buck to plain oats and alfalfa/grass hay.
    They are still fat, and seem to have thrived our Michigan winter.
    Wanting to stay organic, could I still feed this diet once they
    start having babies again?

    Thank You
     
  2. Timedess

    Timedess Guest

    I'd like to know too. Are you using rolled oats or oat groats, and how are you preparing them?

    How about it? Any help out here? Please? :)
     

  3. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    I feed alfalfa pellets full time, whole oats part of the time and some calf manna about once a week. I don't have the amounts settled as to how much how often, but the rabbits look good and are holding their weight ok, I don't think it will be balanced for meeting all of their dietary needs long term. But so far at nearly 3 months, they are still doing good, I also give different vegetables and apples sometimes too, and grass hay and a little fresh green stuff from time to time also. I am working my way to growing all of their food in the next year or two.
     
  4. BeatrixP

    BeatrixP Active Member

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    This isn't a simple answer to your question, but here is a link to a great article on feeding and the rabbit's digestive tract from Colorado State University. Some parts are pretty technical, but I found it really helpful.

    http://www.asas.org/jas/jas0942.pdf
     
  5. nans31

    nans31 Well-Known Member

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  6. chas

    chas Well-Known Member

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    I started all my butcher rabbits in a movable pen. They only got grass and scraps from the garden,plus some apple twigs,and lots of water.Very tasty and a fair amount of fat.I pasture feed my chckens and goats also.
     
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  7. TAKnight

    TAKnight New Member

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    We have 20 Does producing a litter every 8 weeks. We feed a large amount of oats. The oats we purchase have hulls on them. They close as you can get to being organic. Last week we purchased 2600lbs bulk. We feed some to the chickens and ducks as well as the beef steer.

    The rabbits receive oats in the morning. Does get 1 1/2c to 1c depending on where they are in their cycle. Does with litters get 2c, and does with kits who are actively eating get 3-4c or whatever the feeder holds. The rabbits eat the oat and toss the hull on the ground. There is a little waste but not as much as it looks like. Some eat the oats from a bowl better then a feeder. Some leave the hulls in the bowl. In the evening they get grass clippings or hay and/or pellets depending on the season. In the winter I also toss in a little cracked corn.
    We have a great growth rate on fryers. They normally are a little over 5- 5.5lbs at 4 months. They will have a little fat inside and on the back quarters.

    Weaned kits and fryers get as much oats as they want to eat. All except the sire bucks get 1TB Calf Mana a week if I remember fed alone, and grass or grass hay depending on the season.


    Don't mix the oats with pellets they rabbits will pick through it. Don't mix the calf mana either.

    I have Does who are now four years old no digestive problems and they throw large litters. We have NZ, Cal, Creams, Cinnamon, and Giant Chinchilla.


    Not sure if this is good or bad but none of the rabbits are having problems. they throw large litters 8-12 kits and they are tasty too. The oats cost us about 10 cents a lb and locally right now pellet 17% food is at 30 cents/lb so this makes a big difference in our overall cost. We only do oats due to the cost savings combined with the growth rate.

    The only problem is you don't want to put the rabbit manure direct in the garden a few of the oats they missed will grow. Compost first water - well then use in the garden after you have sprouted the oats. I spent part of last summer pulling oats out of my beets and carrots.

    OK that is my 5 cents worth - worst case if your rabbit does not do well on oats then eat the rabbit and get a different one. Breed the best and eat the rest - with rabbits that is a good directive.
     
  8. akane

    akane Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oats have the highest fat of any grain so actually you can make them too fat on it while not breeding. We mix it 50/50 with barley and right now even amounts of barley, oats, and manna pro pellets fed every 4 days for supplement plus mineral sources available 24/7. There are some vitamins and minerals missing from just hay and oats. Certain ones get destroyed in the drying process of hay and are bound up where they can't be used in an inactive seed or grain (meaning not soaked or sprouted).

    You can get vitamin/mineral mixes in loose form from the feed store to make up for this. The goat or equine formulas are best. This is what we do most of the time. You can also use blocks but those hard trace mineral blocks are not enough unless you are also following option 2 which is to pick fresh forage for them every day. Tough grasses, bushes, tree branches, berry canes, dandelions.... Time consuming but makes up the missing vitamins and minerals very well.

    Long term just 1 grain and hay is going to eventually lead to a deficiency even if it takes a year or generation to show up. You know it can take humans 20years to show vitamin b12 deficiency after not having any during that time? Different things store in different amounts for different lengths of time so you may not see a problem tomorrow but eventually things start to happen that you might not even notice at first like a slight lessening of coat quality, a couple kits less per litter, etc... until it becomes much bigger. You need to make a more rounded diet before that happens. More grain types mixed together and vitamin/mineral supplements do a fair enough job. Fresh forage does a better job.
     
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  9. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Akane has given excellent information, as always. :)

    I've been feeding my rabbits on a diet of alfalfa hay with some grass content along with small amounts of grain (usually wheat but sometimes barley) and as much forage (weeds and tree trimmings... See the Safe Plants sticky). They also have a trace mineral salt block. I've been doing this for several years now with very good results.

    It is not for everyone. It is a lot of work gathering the greens and I can do it only because I have a small rabbitry... 2 or 3 does and a buck, plus offspring. You need a good alfalfa hay to keep up the protein levels. The rabbits do grow more slowly and it takes 14-16 weeks for them to reach butchering weight, but it is considerably cheaper in spite of this. I have absolutely no GI issues. We love the flavour of the meat.
     
  10. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Well-Known Member

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  11. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Use the drop-down menu at the bottom right of the page (the one you use to go to a different forum) and scroll right to the bottom to find the Archives.

    Edited to add: Hmmm.... All I got when I tried it was a "page not found".
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  12. jwal10

    jwal10 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I feed oats, wheat and oat grass and grass and clover hay. I like the manure fresh as it does grow more green feed, I don't mind that around as long as it doesn't choke out my garden plants, just pull when headed out. I plant wheat and oats as cover crop and cut some everyday to feed, it grows back all winter. Some garden crops but no cabbage, brocolli or such to rabbits I will eat, gives meat an awful smell. No commercial feed here at all...James
     
  13. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Got it!
     
  14. oregon woodsmok

    oregon woodsmok Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you are going to feed alfalfa, barley is a better choice for grain.

    Alfalfa is a good source for calcium, but it lacks phosphorus. Barley is a decent source for phosphorus, to balance out your calcium / phosphorus ratio.
     
  15. unregistered168043

    unregistered168043 Guest

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    Never saw a wild rabbit eat a pellet, they seem to have plenty of healthy babies.