Reinvent the Wheel

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by CountryGoalie, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    636
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    I rather like the concepts that I've read at http://www.greenerpasturesfarm.com/ and I got to wondering about feeding rabbits. Now, I know that most of you are going to think that I'm reinventing the wheel here, but is there anyone who has mixed their own feed, and seen better results with it?

    If so, what grains and other ingredients did you use? What percentage of the feed was what? Where were you able to keep this feed? Where did you get your ingredients?

    Also, is there anyone here who feeds mainly hay with just a grain supplement? I have heard of this being done, but have never spoken with anyone directly who has done so.
     
  2. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Location:
    Washington
    "Pasturing" rabbits is successful on a limited basis, since it would require a lot of acreage. To make a long story short, below is a paragraph and reference which is being put into the PRMA Standard for Commercial Rabbits that we're working on:

    "Pasture rearing of rabbits:

    “Although pasture finishing of fryer rabbits may be useful to serve specialized niche markets, rearing fryer rabbits on the ground is not recommended as a normal production practice because of slower growth rates (18). Furthermore, the enclosures must be moved regularly to prevent disease buildup (especially coccidiosis) and provision must be made to prevent rabbits from burrowing out. Pastured rabbits should not be returned to the same area for at least a year.”

    18. "Growth of Fryers Reared and (or) Finished Using Controlled Grazing in Movable Pens," McNitt, War R., Way M., Forrester-Anderson, World Rabbit Science Vol. 11 #4, 2003.

    Yes, pasturing rabbits is currently being done, so you're not the first to think of it.


    It is not uncommon for producers with the larger herds to have their own formulas milled. The mills generally have access to the necessary ingredients, so you don't have to acquire them, yourself. "Rabbit Production," 8th Edition, by McNitt, Lukefahr, Patton & Cheeke has enough nutritional information to formulate one's own formula. Better yet, Cheeke has a better book on "Nutrition of the Rabbit" (I think that's the name), but it's pretty spendy.

    Feeding mainly hay has the same basic results of pasturing. What it all boils down to is: slower growth rates.

    I hope this helps.

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
    Chairperson, 2005 ARBA Commercial Department Committee
     

  3. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

    Messages:
    1,508
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
    Pat, the World Rabbit Science article sounds really interesting. I've been wondering if any scientific research has been done on pastured rabbit, especially since hearing that people have tried it with limited success. I'm assuming the article is available online (like in the PRMA archives)?
     
  4. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Location:
    Washington
    Well, I do remember that we did print a research paper having to do with pasturing rabbits. I'll have to do some digging to find which issue it is, so I'll get back to you on this. Sorry... daughter just had surgery, this morning, so I'm a bit short on time, right now.

    Pat Lamar
     
  5. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

    Messages:
    1,508
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
    Thank you very, very much, but if it's going to take a lot of time to dig up, I'll try to find it. :)
     
  6. GrannySue

    GrannySue Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Location:
    IL - currently
    When I mixed my own feed it was the following:

    2 parts barley
    2 parts cracked corn
    2 parts oats
    1 part alfalfa pellets

    I could have dispensed with the alfalfa pellets and used 'the real thing' had I had a place which I thought would be safe from vermin and rain.

    I stored the mixture in metal garbage cans (lids held down with bunge cords to the handles). It was in a 'shed' built on to the porch where I kept the bunnies.

    Since I had no land to speak of, they couldn't 'go outside', and I picked clover and such from the neighbor's yard. Found out they also like dandelions very much, but didn't get them a lot. They also got fed the ends of veggies that I was making for dinner - and a chunk or two when I had an apple or pear. They always got the carrot and beet tops (DH doesn't like them).

    I've never had chickens, so the dogs, cats and rabbits got all the kitchen waste... I never fed the rabbits anything that had been cooked, though.
     
  7. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

    Messages:
    1,508
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
     
    Horton likes this.