Starving My Rabbits?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Dirk, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. Dirk

    Dirk Retired Village Idiot

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I'm feeding Producers Pride 15% pellets and I'm concerned that I'm not feeding enough based on calculations made using the feeding instructions. I have New Zealand and Dutch.

    The instructions say:
    Mature maintenance/early/mid gestation: 3.0-4.0 oz (dry does and bucks) for New Zealand sized rabbits

    One cup of feed weighs 5.7 oz. so it's calling for roughly 1/2-2/3 cup for New Zealands which doesn't sound right to me at all. That would be 1/4-1/3 cup for my Senior Dutch buck.

    I'd appreciate any assistance or advice.
     
  2. ladysown

    ladysown Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,873
    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Location:
    Huron County, Ontario
    that's like 1/2 cup of 15% feed. That doesn't sound right to me either. How do your rabbits look, feel and act? do they act hungry? Do they eat everything you give them and act like they need more? If you run your hands over them do you easily feel their backbone? Do they look overly thin?
     

  3. oregon woodsmok

    oregon woodsmok Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,336
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Location:
    Central Oregon
    It's going to depend upon the nutritional content of the feed. I free feed, but I'd bet my Californians and New Zealands don't eat any more than that.

    I give a small amount and then give a bit more when the feeder is empty.

    I've got 2 mystery rabbits that eat a lot more than that, but they are growing, so I keep giving them more food whenever their feeder is empty. The 2 of them eat more than 4 of the others combined, even though the others are growing fast, too.
     
  4. Dirk

    Dirk Retired Village Idiot

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    They do act very hungry if I feed the recommended amount and there is nothing left after 12 hours. My New Zealands do not look as plump as the pictures of the breed standard and I can feel backbone if I run my hands over their them but not overly so. My two Dutch do seem fine but very hungry.

    I've only had these rabbits for 3 weeks and at the beginning fed 1 cup for New Zealand and 1/2 cup for Dutch. They didn't seem hungry at all at feeding time with a little left over feed. Then I read the feed bag and cut the rations for 3 days, which I think was a huge mistake because everyone seemed desperate for chow climbing the cage fronts when they would normally ignore me and running laps in their cages.

    I'm going to free choice pellets for a few days until I can work out the proper amounts.
     
  5. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    12,493
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Location:
    MI
    I used to feed the 'recommended' amount. My does all stopped standing to be bred and lost condition DRASTICALLY. I thought I was doing everything right... but it wasn't working. I even considered switching feed. First, I switched to 18% and free fed them to get some condition back. The does were standing within a week (after MONTHS Of refusal from some does), weight was perfect by kindling.

    From then on, I"ve fed a heaping cup of 15% pellets to each doe, a little bit less than a full cup of 15% pellets to bucks, and free feed does with litters/ and growing babies till 16 weeks with free choice 18% pellet. Works great for me.
     
  6. lil'farmer

    lil'farmer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    132
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    NW Missouri
    We went through the same thing. We fed our rabbits NZW and cali 1/2 cup for like a week. So when the rabbits were going to bite my arm off I told DH that we had to feed them more. We moved them up to a cup to a cup & 1/2 depending on wether they were a doe or a buck our bucks get a cup a day our does get a cup unless they are prego then they get a cup and a half. If they have kindled the free feed!
     
  7. ladysown

    ladysown Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,873
    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Location:
    Huron County, Ontario
    sounds like based on what you observed that your dutch should do fine on a 1/2 cup and your meat does on 1 cup. If they have feed left over just short them a little bit. :)
     
  8. boundarybunnyco

    boundarybunnyco Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    997
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Location:
    Idaho Panhandle
    I'm just free feeding right now, and I give them hay and vegetables daily. I also am picking grass and clover for them while we still have it.
    Am I over feeding?
     
  9. ladysown

    ladysown Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,873
    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Location:
    Huron County, Ontario
    rabbits generally don't need to be freefed and it's a good way to increase your feed bill.

    As long as your rabbits aren't overweight, are acting well and breeding fine you are doing just fine. :)
     
  10. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,437
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    Hoosier transplant to cheese country
    One cup to your NZ and 1/2 to your Dutch. That would be typical amounts. If I feed less than that my rabbits look like death in a very short time period. I have to increase in the winter. If I fed 15%, my rabbits would starve. Its just not enough protein.
     
  11. Dirk

    Dirk Retired Village Idiot

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Thank you all for your feedback.
    I will be increasing my feed back up to 1 cup for New Zealand, 1/2 cup for Dutch and adjusting for cold weather. Also free feeding any who are pregnant or growing.

    I would increase the protein percentage but every time I try to introduce "new" pellets they just pick out the old pellets and leave the new. They were all raised on these pellets. I'll just have to feed the bags of premium pellets I have to my future weanlings, which is probably for the best anyway.
     
  12. brandkelz

    brandkelz Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    504
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    NW Missouri
    Luckily we only have 18% available locally here so that is what everyone eats. I would say all our adults get a heaping cup of food.....does get that plus some BOSS once confirmed they are pregnant and free fed once they kindle up to weaning. Fryers that are growing out get free fed up to about 10-12 weeks which is butchering age around here. If we are keeping any, then we separate them in their hole and start cutting down to the 1 cup a day and play it by ear.....some eat a little more, some eat a little less.