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Discussion Starter #1
I have wheat and rye berries to sprout for the rabbits, but wanted to know if they can have lentles and bean sprouts. My guess is no, but wanted to check if any one else has given them bean sprouts and how it worked out.
 

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I'm not sure, but unless I can comfirm that lentil and bean sprouts are okay, I would stick to the rye and wheat.

You probably already know this, but for the sake of people who have never done sprouting for their critters, one needs to be very careful of mold forming on the sprouts.

I'm curious, SquashNut.... Is this a winter project or something you are doing now?

ETA: Now that I think about it, I don't think I have ever fed sprouted grain to the rabbits... just grain grass in winter, grown in plastic dishpans. I did some sprouting for the poultry, but had problems with mold. I understand if you JUST let grain start sprouting (12 - 24 hours) that the nutrient content skyrockets and the mold doesn't have time to form, but I don't recall if this is good for rabbits or just poultry.

Anybody have any experience with this?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'll start the sprouts when i no longer have other greens for them. Right now I am getting plenty of grass, chick weed, thistles and other greens to keep the 24 rabbits going. most of it is coming out of my very weedy garden. As well as any garden scraps I have. They don't seem to have any trouble with any of the veggies.
I am also making a crumble for them with apple sause or pureed veggies, rye flour, oat meal and a mineral supplement that I bought 25 pounds of. the only ones getting commercial pellets are my main buck and 3 does. the fryers are doing pretty good on the crumble and forage.
i'll be down to 6 rabbits by the time I have to start sprouting for them. At least I hope so.
 

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The crumble sounds interesting, particularly for winter. I've been contemplating a hard biscuit for the rabbits for winter using wheat and oats. I figured if I ground half of it in the blender and left the rest whole, added some sunflower oil and seeds and enough water and/or apple juice to make a dough and bake it hard, it might make a good carb and fat supplement in winter. I figured I could add herbs or sunflower seeds or maybe pumpkin seeds to make it more interesting. My rabbits love a treat of hard dried whole grain bread, but they ignore whole grains mixed with the pellets. They'll eat rolled oats however. Picky, picky.

I notice that there is a growing trend away from feeding any grains to rabbits. I can see where large percentages in their feed could cause digestive problems, but I think in winter especially they may need a little something extra beyond the dried greens, hay and a bit of fresh greens.

I'd be interested in hearing more about the crumbles you make.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't see fryer rabbits gaining much weight with out some kind of grain. Even in the summer.
The crumbles I make are just like you said, a cookie baked hard. i get a mineral supplement for the rabbits and that was the only way to get them to eat it. i don't spend much time making a cookie shape out of them, i make my dogs buiscuits too using the same recipe. And when it's too hot in the house I use a waffles recipe and the waffle maker to make them. substitututing fruit and veggie puress for the milk portion of the recipe. I did just see a recipe for rabbit cookies that had milk in it. But we buy our milk so cann't use too much for the animals.
Part of the reason I feed the home made cookies is the ingredients are organic -people grade. i get organic rye berries for $10.50 for 50 pounds. i bought 300 pounds of them from my co-op last month. thought if we raised our own meat it would be an added bonus for it to be as organic as possible.
 

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SquashNut said:
I don't see fryer rabbits gaining much weight with out some kind of grain. Even in the summer.
The crumbles I make are just like you said, a cookie baked hard. i get a mineral supplement for the rabbits and that was the only way to get them to eat it. i don't spend much time making a cookie shape out of them, i make my dogs buiscuits too using the same recipe. And when it's too hot in the house I use a waffles recipe and the waffle maker to make them. substitututing fruit and veggie puress for the milk portion of the recipe. I did just see a recipe for rabbit cookies that had milk in it. But we buy our milk so cann't use too much for the animals.
Part of the reason I feed the home made cookies is the ingredients are organic -people grade. i get organic rye berries for $10.50 for 50 pounds. i bought 300 pounds of them from my co-op last month. thought if we raised our own meat it would be an added bonus for it to be as organic as possible.
LOL, SquashNut, you mean you don't have a carrot shaped cookie cutter? :D

I figured I would just roll out the dough quickly and cut it with a knife into squares.

What mineral supplement do you use? Is that like the Redmond pre-mix?

You've got a lot of good ideas... keep 'em coming! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have short sided cookie sheet. I oil the pan and put the dough on it spred it out with my fingers, sprinkle a little flour over it, and use a jar to level it out. Then I use a knife to cut into squares right on the cookie sheet.. That way I don't have to clean up the cuboard are from rolling it out. i bake them on 375 till done and then turn the oven off. leaving them in over night. You could stir them to allow for better air circulation.
The animals have their own cookie sheet, an old one that I don't use for any thing else.
I've also made these in my food dehydrator, on the highest heat setting.
Yes it is the Redmond pre-mix. cost me $12.50 for 25 pounds from my co-op. I think it is going to last forever. I use only 1-2 tablespoons for each 4 cups of flour or oat meal. Not sure if my math was right , but they said to feed it at 1 to 1.5 percent of feed for rabbits.
 

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Thanks, SquashNut. That's a great idea about rolling them right in the cookie sheet. I hate cleaning dough or flour off counters.

I can probably get the Redmond pre-mix from my feed store... but I'll bet they have to special order it. They get other organic products from the same place (Homestead Organics), so it shouldn't be a hassle. I wonder what's in the pre-mix and if it really necessary?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The pre-mix is minerals. They are the same minerals that were in the pellets I am buying.
I tryed to buy organic rabbit pellets and they wanted $26 for 50 pounds. I don't know how much it is costing me to make my own feed, but I know Its not that much.
I also give my nursing doe some of the cookies with her pellets.
It worries me that my pellets , do not list which grains are in it. Just says grains. but the more I look at them the more I think there is corn in them.
this is the second brand of pellets I've tryed. I may have to switch again, and i've only used 2 bags total.
 

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$26 for 50 pounds of organic pellets? :eek:

I guess it's no worse than the $33 I pay for 88 pounds of organic chicken feed... but rabbits go through feed much faster.

We don't have a lot of choice for pellets unless we want to drive to the next town over. I can get Shur-Gain or Purina, so I've been feeding Purina pellets becuase the buns seem to prefer them. I contacted Purina by email to get the ingredients list. I was not impressed and that was when I decided to try getting them off pellets altogether. They use wheat instead of corn, but the darn things have animal tallow in them! :eek:

I'm going to try making the bunny biscuits tomorrow. Today is hot and very humid, but tomorrow is supposed to be cooler. Thanks for all your help. :)
 

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SquashNut said:
It worries me that my pellets , do not list which grains are in it. Just says grains. but the more I look at them the more I think there is corn in them.
this is the second brand of pellets I've tryed. I may have to switch again, and i've only used 2 bags total.
I gathered someplace that corn will turn the fat on our rabbits yellow--And considering that corn gluten does the same thing for chickens ( people WANT chickens with yellow fat/yellow skin) I think if your pellets are corn based, then you would find yellow fat deposits when you butcher. A neighbor who raises beef told me corn sweetens the flavor of meat--so she stays away from corn when she has to supplement a cow for some reason (grass feeder) I know that I prefer the taste of beef that is NOT grain fed--And find it more filling and satisfying-- So check the fat on the ones you butcher-- and see what the evidence tells you about the contents of the pellets..
 

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Terry, my experience bears out what you say about fat colour. The fat on my rabbits is white.

Personally, I don't find yellow fat at all appetizing and prefer English dual purpose breeds of chickens like the Sussex or Orpington for the table. I gather that yellow skin and fat is more popular in the United States than here in Ontario, since most of storebought chicken here is white skinned with white fat. We see the yellow occasionally though.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I noticed the 4 butcher rabbits that we bought were heavy in the pelt. Made them feel muscular, but the body was not much better than my mostly forage raised fryers. The guy we got them from raised them on nothing but pellets. The pellets must have had corn it them as the fat on the pelt and in the cavity was very yellow.
 
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