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STILL not Alice
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Discussion Starter #1
I searched this one, came up empty-handed (empty-screened?), so...

Do any of you give salt/mineral blocks to your rabbits? I picked up a couple, forgot about them, read in a book today that they should have the blocks, but don't remember reading it on here.

What's been your experience?

THANK YOU!!

Pony!
 

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I've never given my rabbits salt/mineral blocks because "they say" there is enough in their pellets. However, now that they are not eating much pelleted food, I do wonder if they should have them.

I watch the wild cottontails a lot and often see them on our gravel driveway. They are getting something there and since they don't have gizzards needing grit, :rolleyes: I figure it must be the road salt that the van brings in on the tires in the winter.

I'll be interested in the answers you get to your question.
 

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I have 2 different feeding programs going on. one group gets pellets, one doesn't. The second group get a home made crumble with cattle minerals in it.
The cattle mineral group is in a tractor and has no salt block. The pellet group has salt blocks.
i moved one doe from the tractor yesterday and she now has a salt block. she started licking the block for so long, I removed the block and gave it back this morning. She went back at it, till I took it out again. i'll probably give it back tommarow.
This leads me to beleive that the rabbits need a salt block. i preffer to buy the mineral blocks rather than plain salt.
This whole thing has confused me cause I thought the cattle minerals had enough salt in them.
i buy the 4 pound block and cut them into 6 peices. That way I get 6 for $2, rather than paying 99 cents for 1. In the summer heat they may be really important.
I hardly ever see my pellet fed rabbits use their salt block.
 

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STILL not Alice
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Discussion Starter #5
Mine are on pellet and a few tasty nibbles from the garden, but not more than a few leaves of "treat" a day. I don't know how much of that is enough. There are comfrey, raspberry leaf, and clover growing right out there, so I give them some, and they all like it. Even Mongo the Vicious (descended from the Holy Grail Killer Rabbit).

I may as well put the blocks out there, since I have them and all. <shrug> As long as it doesn't hurt and they self-regulate. They certainly aren't doing any good just sitting in a bag on the counter.

Pony!
 

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Back in the 1980's, when we first raised rabbits we fed pellets and alfalfa hay. When alfalfa was not available we gave them what ever hay we could get. Also they got tidbits from our garden. Those rabbits did lick and chew on mineral blocks but not consistently. We have been raising rabbits this time since Dec. 2003. This time we found a commercial pelleted feed that is properly balanced for rabbit nutrition and feed only that. No hay except for what's in the nest basket and for the occasional case of diarrhea (very rare). Also no treats except for small pieces of black berry leaves, again for the rare case of diarrhea. When we gave them mineral blocks, they either ignored the blocks or used them for play toys. Our rabbits obviously are getting enough salt and other minerals from the pelleted feed and don't need mineral blocks. We have therefore come to the conclusion that if a rabbit needs a mineral block, it must need it's feed changed. A top quality pelleted feed product should give a rabbit all the nutrition, including minerals, that it needs. Feeding hay and treats throws off this balance and that causes the extra costs of paying for mineral blocks and other supplements.

Not everyone has a top quality pelleted feed available in their area and by necessity these growers shall have to try and supply their rabbits with everything they need by other means. That is a trial and error process. If your rabbits are utilizing mineral blocks then I would guess your feed is lacking something and your rabbits need the minerals.

MikeL
 

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I give my rabbits a high quality feed, and mineral blocks. Some of my rabbits like them and use them regularly, some of my rabbits never touch them (and I have over 100 bunnies). Maybe it just depends on the individual rabbit.
 

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I always put the salt & mineral blocks in for them. Sometimes they eat them up, and sometimes they ignore them. I think they naturally know what they need and ignore the blocks if they don't need the minerals or salt.
 

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Do rabbits need more salt in the summer heat, So that the pellets may not supply enough?
 

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Michael Leferink said:
We have therefore come to the conclusion that if a rabbit needs a mineral block, it must need it's feed changed. A top quality pelleted feed product should give a rabbit all the nutrition, including minerals, that it needs. Feeding hay and treats throws of this balance and that causes the extra costs of paying for mineral blocks and other supplements.
MikeL
I don't quite agree with this. Rabbits naturally crave salt, the same as any other herbivore. One certainly can provide this as you do with a "complete" pelleted feed, but some of us are working toward a pellet-less diet for our rabbits, partly because of the high cost of pellets but mostly because we are seeking a more natural and interesting diet for our rabbits - and a more natural meat for our dinner tables. On a diet of greens, hay and small amounts of hay, we may need to buy salt and/or mineral supplements, but I do not consider this an "extra cost" when I will not have to buy pellets.

I think what we are trying to decide here is whether or not the rabbits need those salt/mineral blocks or whether the diets we are feeding -- be they pelleted or "green" or a mix of both -- contain enough on their own.

I feel I need to get salt blocks for my rabbits, since they eat very little pelleted food now. Pony's original post came at a good time, from my point of view. What has me confused is the wide variety of salt/mineral blocks available. Last time I looked there were blue ones, brown ones and white ones... intended for different animals, I suppose. The labelling, if any, is inadequate and I don't feel the feed store people necessarily know enough to guide me... Some of them don't even know the difference between oyster shell or granite grit (for chickens) so how can I trust that they know about this? So I am hoping that someone here can point me in the right direction.
 

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I buy the brown ones.
For the comercial grower pellets are OK and they may be complete. But I bought my rabbits with the intention of feeding them on my garden left overs. So now I have the job of balancing their home made diet. By the looks of that they need the salt block.
 

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My Question on SALT is this with 90-100 degree heat the norm here for 6 months out of the year! Should the Rabbits get Salt ? With the Water compsumtion well up in the Summer????
 

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Thanks, SquashNut. I'll check them out again ASAP.

James, are you feeding all pellets, mainly pellets or what? It may have some bearing on how much salt they need.
 

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james dilley said:
(0% pellets And A few Mesquite beans/leaves. They get them from the trees That the cages are under!!
Zero per cent? No pellets at all? Then I would think some salt would be beneficial, especially in the hot weather.

Edited to add: Oops! I'll bet you meant 90% and your finger hit the shift and you typed a bracket. In which case, you should likely look at the ingredients label on the pellets and perhaps consult with the manufacturer. That said, I don't think it hurts to add a salt block as long as the rabbit isn't gorging itself on it. In a case like that I think I would only offer it a couple of times a week for a short time.
 

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Please allow me to clarify my earlier post. What I stated is what works for us and may not fit some one else's management program or fall within their chosen parameters. If someone has only a couple of breeding does, a large garden, a hay meadow and lots of time on their hands, then they can experiment all they want. We don't have all of those things. We are not currently a commercial operation. We are a disabled couple trying to make it on a fixed income and therefore it is absolutely necessary to produce our food at the lowest possible cost and the least possible labor. There may come a time when pelleted food is no longer a reasonable option for us. If that happens then we shall have to decide if it is reasonable to continue raising rabbits or to replace them with a different type of livestock. Something that can forage on it's own.

Here is the bottom line as I see it: Give your rabbits salt/minerals. If they need it, they will eat it. If they do not eat it, they do not need it.

As to which salt/mineral to use? I'm as confused as anyone. We have tried all the different rabbit blocks and our rabbits just do not eat any of them. If we were to try something else, it would probably be horse minerals.

MaggieJ, I agree. The feed store folks are of little help in this area. Our feed store people do not raise rabbits and know next to nothing about them. That is why I like homesteadingtoday.com so much. People need to get their information from folks that have experience and this site does supply that need.

JMPO,

MikeL
 

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Michael Leferink said:
Please allow me to clarify my earlier post. What I stated is what works for us and may not fit some one else's management program or fall within their chosen parameters. If someone has only a couple of breeding does, a large garden, a hay meadow and lots of time on their hands, then they can experiment all they want. We don't have all of those things. We are not currently a commercial operation. We are a disabled couple trying to make it on a fixed income and therefore it is absolutely necessary to produce our food at the lowest possible cost and the least possible labor. There may come a time when pelleted food is no longer a reasonable option for us. If that happens then we shall have to decide if it is reasonable to continue raising rabbits or to replace them with a different type of livestock. Something that can forage on it's own.

Here is the bottom line as I see it: Give your rabbits salt/minerals. If they need it, they will eat it. If they do not eat it, they do not need it.

As to which salt/mineral to use? I'm as confused as anyone. We have tried all the different rabbit blocks and our rabbits just do not eat any of them. If we were to try something else, it would probably be horse minerals.

MaggieJ, I agree. The feed store folks are of little help in this area. Our feed store people do not raise rabbits and know next to nothing about them. That is why I like homesteadingtoday.com so much. People need to get their information from folks that have experience and this site does supply that need.

JMPO,

MikeL
Mike, I apologize for stepping on your toe. I was probably being a bit defensive because feeding green flies in the face of conventional wisdom. I suffer from "foot-in-mouth" disease now and again. :rolleyes: Thanks for responding and I hope no hard feelings.
 

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I consulted Ann Kanable's excellent book Raising Rabbits on the issue of salt for rabbits. She believes that some salt is important, epecially for rabbits on pellet-less or low-pellet diets. She thinks it is especially important for nursing does. Salt encourages the rabbit to drink water. With increased water consumption, the rabbit's appetite is better and therefore she is in a better position to create an ample milk supply. If you are using salt from the kitchen, make sure it is uniodized. Pickling/canning salt is suggested if the feed store spools or blocks are not being used.

Kanable goes so far as to suggest that does without free-choice salt may have youngsters who take considerably longer to reach butchering size. This may account, at least in part, for some of the disappointing results that people using rabbit tractors as grow-out pens have experienced.

What she says makes sense to me. I like this book very much as it is geared towards the needs of backyard or homestead rabbits rather than commerical ventures. I think it is time I reread it from start to finish. :)

Edited to add: I anyone is looking for a low-priced copy, try abebooks. They often have copies for about a dollar, plus shipping. Be sure to check the shipping rates... some are very reasonable, some outrageuous.

http://www.abebooks.com/
 
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