What Type and How much? FEED

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by ONThorsegirl, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Hello Everyone.
    I was wondering what type of feed everyone feeds. How much do you feed? also how much does everyone pay for theres? I live in Canada so the price might be different to compare but still it would be neat to know. I have tried the Meat Rabbit Feed once before and they did really good and looked wonderful but the store I could buy it at went under so I can't get it anymore.

    The type I use most often is the Pet Valu Brand. I get a 20kg. baga bout ever 1.5 weeks for 4 rabbits. I beleive they are $14.00 Canadian(I think). The biggest thing that helps me out is that my Dad is the Warehosue manager for PetValu so any broken bags I get for nothing.

    How much do you feed? I have a feed dish that I got from the feed store it is for livestock it is about 3 inches high and 10 inches across it is round and for 3 rabbits I fill it 3 quarters and it is gone in a day. Should I be feeding more?

    Melissa

    I have had rabbits for 6 years, my oldest rabbit is 6 years old, the youngest was born last February. So I have had them a little while but there is still so many questions. And this seems to be the place to ask.

    I would love to get into breeding for meat but i don't think I have the market around here.
     
  2. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi Melissa ,,
    Ok I have questions ,, first what breed (s) are all your rabbits :confused: ,, what I've been told / advised ,, is on 'adverage' a single adult rabbit 'needs' an ounce of feed per pound of body weight ,, 8 pound rabbit - 8 ounces of feed ,, what should be the adult weight for your rabbits ?? ,,

    a rabbit will eat a lot more than they need ,, which will make them have fat deposits inside ,, making any does that are overweight possibly have problems giving birth ,, and bucks that are overweight possibly will lose / or not have any interest in breeding

    I know what you mean about stores closeing ,, I had 3 feed stores close last year ,, I now have to drive over 15 miles totally out of the way to buy my feed ,, I feed a 'local' milled brand ,, its 16% protein and I pay $8.75 for a 50 pound bag ,, the only other 'brand' of feed sold at a 'convient' location for me is Puriena for $10.75 a 50 pound bag ,, (I don't personally care for Pureina)

    when I first got into raiseing rabbits I read everything I could and remembered reading to use an empty tuna fish can for each adult rabbit ,, this is what I did for a loong time and my rabbits were doing fine and keeping in good condition ,, firm but not fleshy / fat ,,

    I finally got a scale and then weighed the pellets and was surprised to find out that that can was only 5 1/2 to 6 oz of pellets :eek: ,, and at the time I was raiseing Cals & NZs that weighed 8/9 to 11/12 pounds ,, the key is to weigh the pellets ,, different brands will weigh different ,, I did not up the amount I was feeding because they were doing fine on what I had been feeding ,,,,,,

    I useually keep 'mixed' orchard grass hay available to all my rabbits 24/7 ,,, the 'rule' of 1 oz per pound of weight is flexable ,, does with kits get full feed while they are nurseing and weaned fryers I try to keep the feeder full for them ,,

    I'm lucky that I can get alfalfa hay fairly reasonable and I will give this to my does w babies and the growing out fryers to help them gain weight ,, single does and bucks only get the alfalf hay as a treat as its fairly rich in protein & calcium ,, I have a Cal buck that would rather be given straw than hay LOL he loves straw and will ignore his pellets when I put a flake of straw in his cage ,, :monkey:

    since you have your rabbits in a colony situation where they have straw and hay available to eat all the time ,, if you are almost filling the crock its possible you have been overfeeding ,, what I check to see is ,, I feed at the same time every day ,, if the feeder is empty I might up the amount of pellets a little bit ,, if there are pellets still in the feeder cut back a little ,,

    rabbits will tend to eat less when its hot and will eat more when its cold ,, you kinda have to adjust to each rabbit and thats hard to do in a pen colony situation ,,,

    also I would advise ,, don't increase your does feed in anticipation that she 'might' be pregnant ,, give her the normal ration for a single non producing doe untill 'after' she gives birth ,, I was warned not to increase feed for 'possibly' pregnant does because it can cause them problems giving birth ,,

    raiseing meat for the family to eat is great ,, but yes finding local markets for meat rabbits can be difficult ,, it was my hubbys idea for us to raise rabbits for us to eat ,, but he discovered he really REALLY hates butchering ,, he does it but is all the time griping about it ,,

    Gosh I'll shut up now ,,

    this is evidently 5 c's worth of rambling :D
     

  3. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Thanks Tucker

    I have 1 dwarf cross 4lbs, and 2 rexes. they are only 6 and 7 lbs. I would like to see them bigger but they are in good shape, The Dwarf is 5yrs, the 6lb rex is 1 yr and the other rex is about 8 months old. They must be a cross as They just don't seem to be as big, and should they have the dewflap undertheir chin?

    Anyways. They have full access to hay and straw and I must be over feeding as I'm giving alot more that one tuna can per rabbit. But the only food I can find is the pretty cheap stuff. I can't seem to find another kind, I would like to try a different brand but I can't seem to find any, and atleast any that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg. I live on a farm, so hay and anyother type of grain is easy to come by. Have you ever heard of people feeding cracked corn or barley, I have that available all the time?

    I have't changed the does amount of food. She seems to eat alot, I fill her dish ever night and she eats it all. All the time, but she drinks alot too. I also feed alot of greens and veggies to my guys, as well can you ever give too much, I only give it every other day but they seem to like it.

    Thanks for all of the help Tucker, you helped alot and I don;t mind the rambling at all it helps.


    Melissa
     
  4. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi Melisa ,,
    Well I'm not familiar with all breeds of rabbits but I 'believe' mostly its the does that have larger dewlaps ,, if your bucks have large dewlaps they 'might' need to go on a diet :p someone else will correct me if I'm wrong on this subject ,, I don't recall that my Cal buck or the NZ bucks I've owned as having large dewlaps :p

    what does the label say is in the pellets you're feeding ,, ingredients listing protein % / fiber % / vitiamins etc . just because its cheap don't necessarily mean its not good for them ,, you 'might' just be lucky and have a local / instate feed co-op milling feed ,,

    in your buck pen it will be hard for you to tell if 1 is being a pig and hogging all the food if you really cut back on 'their' feed hard ,,

    I reccomend weighing your pellets and seeing how much your feeding them & the doe daily in their crocks ,,

    now as for greens & vegies ,, be carefull ,, too much IS a bad thing ,, if yours are used to eating them you're doing ok ,, but watch the amounts ,,

    When I first started raiseing rabbits I gave all mine 1 - 2 handfulls of fresh grass , dandylion leaves, clover almost daily ,, I remember one pretty May Sunday when I gathered some for every rabbit ,, gave each a big 'bunch' ,, got up monday morning my only buck had direah :eek: ,, he was dead the next morning :stars:

    Some do give cracked corn , barley , oats and 'calf' manna as suppliments ,, with pellets in different amounts to reduce their feed bills ,, I don't have experience with feeding those so I can't give any advice on them other than start with small amounts and watch for digestive upsets ,, the runs will kill a rabbit almost overnite ,,

    and if you add other stuff ,, reduce the amount of pellets you're feeding ,, almost every 'professional' breeder I've ever talked to will tell you that 'most' pellets are made with everything a rabbit needs in their diet ,, barring the adding of hay for more fiber in a rabbits diet ,,

    my biggest surprise was finding out about summer sterility ,, and knew I'd experience it with our August temps in the 90's to 100's :flame:
     
  5. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    This female doesn't have much of a dewlap and my males don't either I was just wondering.

    Sorry I don't have the bag of feed right her with me I will have to get it and see later.

    Thanks for the tips of weighing the feed I should try that. My Rabbits are pretty used to the greens and vegetables so that shouldn't be a problem.

    What do you mean about the summer Sterility? You didn't get babies or you did?

    Melissa
     
  6. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    This is what my Rabbit food says:

    Martin brand
    Protein 15%
    Crude Fat 3.5%
    Crude Fibre(min) 15%
    Crude Firbe(max) 18%
    Moisture 10%
    Calcium .8%
    Phosphorus .5%
    Sodium .2%

    Pet Valu Brand
    Protein 17%
    Crude Fat 7%
    Crude Fibre(min) 14%
    Crude Firbe(max) 17%
    Calcium 1.05%
    Phosphorus .5%
    Sodium .2%

    So what do you think?

    Which would you choose over the other and why?

    Thanks, Melissa
     
  7. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi Melissa ,, I got no babies :( two breeding in a row :bash: ,,

    had perfectly co-operating does popping right up and allowing breedings ,, Happy buck glad to do his sireing duties ,,

    first breeding - 32 days nothing ,,,,, second on day 18 both does built very pretty nest pulled fur ,,,

    rebred again ,, 3 weeks ago Spotty had 7 & Harli had 11 ,, I fostered 2 to Spotty ,,, lost 1 ,,, now have 17 furry kits hopping around ,,

    and daddy Buddy looks smug :clap: ,,,

    August temperatures get into high 90's and 100 sometimes here ,,, and from what I'm told ,, more than just a few days at over 85 degrees can cause sterility ,, after cooler temperatures return it can take a month+ for the buck to recover ,,,

    LOL Hub hates butchering and HE didn't mind them missing
     
  8. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Thats to bad, I didn't know that either, but it is like chickens needed roughly 14-16 hours of light to breed. Many people don't know this and they are wondering why they aren't getting fertilized eggs. Oh well we all learn things we didn't know before at some point.

    Those are good numbers, I think? The 11 seems high but its good that the other doe raised to 2 you fostered. Does this normally happen without a hitch, have you ever expereinced it when the doe wont take up to the new ones?

    Melissa
     
  9. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi Melissa ,, Yes ,, I consider those good numbers ,, Spotty is the first doe I bought 3+yrs ago ,, since her 1st litter ,, she 'normally' has 7 - 9 kits in a litter ,, fosters anything I put in her nest :goodjob: and she is a great 'milker' = she'll drink 2 - liter+ bottle of water a day when she's nurseing ,, and her fryers are always the biggest ,, :bow:

    This was Harlie's 1st litter and I'm always surprised when a does 1st litter is high numbers :) I have had NZ does that had 13 1st litter! and raised 12! (Spotty raised the 13th one{I added to the 11 she already had}) that particular breeding episode ,, I had bred 10 does same time and every 1 was having 9 - 11+ babies :goodjob: but I don't think I have ever had a doe reject a kit I fostered to her ,,

    I guess I've been lucky with my does ,, I 'have' had deaths in litters ,, say a few days after I've fostered kits ,, but those deaths 'seemed' to be either the 'runts' or the 'pulled out of nest on nipple deaths' that happened ,, but ,, its not been the fostered into the litter kits 'when' I could tell the fostered by colors ??

    I too found out about needing lights after I got into raiseing rabbits ,, 'I' accomplish light requirements by useing a 'clamp light' hanging out in my henhouse ,, right now its got a 20 watt bulb in and that is keeping my bantams laying :) we are finding it extremely unusual that our bantams are not stopping laying again this year ,, this fall going into winter ,, I've even got crazy hens trying to sit !!

    A few weeks ago I had Hub rearange my rabbit hutches / chicken area and the light I have in the henhouse also shines onto my cages / hutches better ,, and now 'I' will be in the dry for our winter weather :goodjob: so I'm hoping I will have good luck breeding this winter ,,


    Hub dosen't like butchering and with the 17 out there 'he' is in no hurry for me to rebreed (His responce to 18 being born on same day was "don't rebreed them till Spring!) :sing: ,, the kits are 3 weeks old now ,, I 'try' to get him to butcher at 10 - 11 weeks ,, so I need to get my calender out soon to figure out possible breeding dates to avoid babies being born during Feburary (our coldest month) I'll breed and then tell hub :nana:

    Good luck with your doe ,,
     
  10. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Hi Tucker,

    Those are great numbers for first timmers. And she seems to be able to raise them fine! About the water, My Doe drinks alot of water now not as much as 2L a day but alot when you compare it with my Bucks?

    So too bad I didn't have 2 does so that if they did have big numbers I could foster, Wow would my parents ever love that LOL. I haven't tod my parents that they have been together but my dad kind of told my mom as a joke I was haveing baby bunnies and my mom said "What did you expect was going to happen" ,so they wont be too mad :clap: .

    I have a light on in my coop and where my rabbits are. I have 35 layers in one coop and I had a normal lightbulb in a heatlamp shade in the coop, but now when the weather started to get rally cold, it was -12C last night. and the water froze I switched to a clear heatlamp. It is right above my waterer and best of all it is an energy efficient bulb. So I have it running all the time.
    Down in the barn where I have my Rabbits and 3 silkies and 3 roosters I have another regular bulb in a heatlamp shade. It puts off alot of light and keeps everyone happy it seems. I'm trying to get my silkies to lay it seems to be taking for ever.

    So your also being sneaking with your rabbits, it seems to be the best way, what are they going to do with a bunch of rabbits running around?

    What did you think of the feeds I have been feeding? I have switched back to the PetValu brand, and they don't seem to be eatting nearly as much, it is lasting longer and they are still looking and acting fine so I wonder if it is better than the Martins brand? Proably with the Protein higher right? I'm not sure.


    Melissa
     
  11. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi Melisa ,, Well kinda sneaky :p from our years of raiseing Hub 'knows' that from the time I breed till the 10 - 11 weeks he likes to delay butchering to - is 3 months ,,,,

    but for some reason ,, if he has already butchered the fryers when the next litter's are born he's ok with a futcher butchering job ,, but if the fryers are still in the growout cages when the next ones are born ,, he's just determined that I'm overbreeding !! :viking:

    About your feed ,, percentages isn't everything ,, your bucks are not on an intensive breeding schedule and the lower percentages 'probably' would / could help keep them from getting fat ,, the same will apply to your doe if you are not going to breed her ,, again ,, or not but once in a while ,,

    in most cases a nurseing doe will need a higher protein while nurseing to maintain condidtion ,, but not necessarily ,, I feed a 16% protein to all of mine ,, single or 'working' ,,,,

    their showing a perference might be a 'taste' factor ,, maybe one is 'fresher' than the other ,, or the difference 'might' be the ingredients being used to make it ,, if they are eating less and still maintaining condition .. 'they' might be telling you this is a better quality feed ,,

    I'm 'told' that if pellets have 'gone old' they will / can have lost their vitamin values which will really pull down a rabbits condition ...

    I was reading the lable on mine today ,,

    1st ingredient was wheat middings
    2nd ingredient was alfalfa
    3 was some other wheat product

    corn was down on the list ,, I also saw molasses ,, I had 3 different feed stores close around here last year and had to switch to a different feed each time ,,, :grump:

    mmm I pay $8.75 a 50 pd bag ,,, I would perfer to buy a pellet with alfalfa listed as the 1 st ingredient ,, corn is fattening and can cause intestinal problems in rabbits - I'm told ,,,, and molasses is just a 'sweetener' to make it more palatable ,, but my rabbits are doing well on this feed sooo ,,

    ,, I'm feeding the 16% + alfalfa hay ,,, the does & kits are emptying their hay rack every other day ,, really enjoying that ,,, and Buddy likes his straw :p ,, I give some treats ,, rabbits like stale cherioes :p & right now I have two refridgerator drawers full of pears to start giving them ,,

    why I planted fruit trees if Hubs not going to eat the fruit I don't know :viking: ,,
     
  12. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Hi Tucker,

    How many Rabbits do you have and how many batches of babies would you have a year?

    Thanks for the info on the feed! :D i ahve the Martin Brand feed right infront of me and it's tope 3 ingredients are: 1-Dehydrated Alfalfa, 2- Soybean Hulls, 3- Wheat Shorts.

    I don't have the other brand here but I think its first ingredient is Alfalfa.

    I have a Question about the Pears. I have been told never to feed pears to Guinea Pigs and rabbits as it causes Constipation. Is this true? Just wondering as we always have pears but I have never fed them. There is also some other ones like carrots cause Kidney Stones and such, I still feed carrots. Mine love Apples and Banana, I only feed Banana in little amounts though.

    I throw in whole apples and carrots they seem to love them, mine are used to the Apples and Carrots so it doesn't bother them, could this hurt them? I have been doing it for awhile now.

    Melissa
     
  13. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi Melissa ,,, Well we got into raiseing rabbits around 4 years ago I did have rabbits when I was a kid ,, started out with a trio then got another doe ,, 'I' started expanding upwards ,, thinking to make a few $$ selling to the processors ,,

    I built up to 11 does and 3 bucks ,, and was selling to the processor ,, and was makeing my feed $$ back plus putting meat in freezer and occasional 'pet' sales ,, was dreaming :p of even more expansion ,,

    I was rebreeding the does at 5 - 6 weeks and most of my fryers made processing weight at 9 - 10 weeks ,, the under or overweights when I took the rest to processor went into our freezer ,, I could get 5 to 6 litters a year from each doe this way barring any misses and the doe maintaining condition ,,, really 'profesional' breeders will rebreed at .. 2 - 3 or 4 weeks depending on the way their herd performs on the schedule they 'need' ...

    Hub was becoming preturbed :nono: with me ,, because I'm disabled and He was of the opioion I was doing too much ,, plus the fact that he has to do all the poo shoveling and heavy work ,,

    :viking: when I fell on the ice last year going out to do rabbit chores he finally put his foot down and declared all he ever wanted was to raise just for US and something had to give ,, ;) soo I sold my breeders to friends and I now have my two favorite ,, most friendly does and my fav buck ,,

    it is much easier on me now and more enjoyable since its not such work ,, lol I'll not tell hub that tho :p ,,, Now I'm planning on breeding these two ,, hopefully every 3 - 4 months = 3 to 4 litters a year ,, plenty for just us when the two are having 17 together :rock:

    I'll need to find the sites that say what all is safe to give rabbits ,, but I do know apple and pear tree trimmings are safe for them to chew on (If the trees have NOT been sprayed) ,, I give mine apples and pears and occasional pieces of bannanas ,, I'll cut a pear into 3 give each a section ,, same with apples ,, I sometimes buy carrots and will give each a 2 -3 inch chunk ,, when I grow broccli in the garden they love being given a big leaf from a plant ,, I think the main thing with any treat is small amounts ,,

    anything fruit or vegatable with a high water content can and will give them diareha and that will stress one and they can die quick ,, just like a 10 pound baby if it has the runs for 2 - 3 days it will get soo weak it can die ,,

    or if its something like cabbage that can give them gas / colic ,, I've been 'told' the shock & hurting of gas pains can cause a rabbit to just go into trauma shock and just die / keel over :grump: ,, I know I feel like I 'killed' a buck one time by giving it too much clover as a treat one day ,,

    I don't know about guinea pigs ,, ?? but constipation ?? I would 'think' diareha would be the worry with feeding fruit not constipation ?? Let me find the sites about safe treats ,,

    if both feeds main ingredient is alfalfa thats good ,, price and availability and which they like best is up to you now ,,, do the lables also include what vitamins that have been added and their amounts ?? All the breeders I know stress the bad things that happen to rabbits that are not getting their vitamins lol ,,

    but if you're feeding treats like fruits and veggies that would help make sure they are getting all needed nutrients ..

    Did you have a great Thanksgiving ?
     
  14. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Hi Tucker

    Ok I see how you run things! Very neat. Did you have a whole building just for them?

    Veggies can be good or bad but like you sad it all depends on how much you give!

    They do say what Vitamins they gave

    PetValu Brand
    Vit.A 20,000 IU/KG
    Vit.D 2000 IU/KG
    Vit. E 40 IU/KG

    Marins Brand
    Vit.A 17,600 IU/KG
    Vit.D 2200 IU/KG
    Vit. E 55 IU/KG

    Do you give Vitamin C in there water?

    I had a good thanksgiving in October. I live in Ontario Canada. How was your Thanksgiving?

    What is the weather like where you live?

    Melissa
     
  15. Sinenian

    Sinenian Well-Known Member

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    Hello Melissa,

    I rule of tumb I've always heard is 1 ounce per pound of the rabbit.
    Of coarse, this does not affect pregnant does (15-kiddling days) and while their kits are nursing.

    I have a chart outside by my Hutch, I don't have it memorized.
    Every rabbit is a little different, you can't go JUST by guidelines. It also differs with breed, what their being used for (Pet, Meat, Fur, Wool) etc.

    The cost I'm not even sure on, I'll have to check on that.
     
  16. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

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    IMO, this is bad advice. I have NZW in a commercial environment.
    If I fed a 12 pound NZ buck 12 ounces of feed a day, he would become
    OBESE! Also, junior does should never be overfed or they may
    have conception and kindling problems. An 8 pound junior doe
    receiving 8 ounces of feed per day?

    It's difficult to say how a rabbit will respond on a particular feed. I changed
    to a feed last year with a higher energy level. I've been able to maintain good
    condition, conception, and production with less feed consumption. In fact,
    I have to carefully watch the bucks. They receive 4 to 5 ounces of
    feed per day.


    I would be very cautious with feeding a 7% fat ration to breeding stock.
    It might not even work very well the fryers. I'm betting that you see
    more fat accumulation at butchering than with a feed that is more in line
    with the industry guidelines. You will probably have very soft flesh instead
    of the firmness that most of us strive for.

    Linda Welch
     
  17. Sinenian

    Sinenian Well-Known Member

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    I also commented on that it varied alot. And that each rabbit is different, etc.
     
  18. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi Melissa ,, No I don't give anything in their water ,, Our Thanksgiving was good ,, I cooked and the whole family came here ,,

    today I even made a dish of dressing again just so my giblet gravey won't go to waste :p

    the weather here in North Carolinia is fairly decent most of the year ,, we do get up in the high 90's to 100 in July & August ,,, then Feburary is when we will have temperatures going down into the teen's ,, brrrr!

    Lord I couldn't live in Canada :) I'd freeze !!!! LOL
     
  19. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    Thanks Sinenian and Linda,
    I'm pretty much feeding now feeding what I would concider sufficiant I feed what they will eat in a day but sometimes they have some left over it works, they aren't getting fat/overweight, and they are looking fine. I don't have a scale that weighs that small of a weight but I can work it out on something else measurement cup/1/2cup type thing. Also We me having my rabbits in a group setting it is hard to only put out enough for one rabbit each as they are going to steal from each others dishes and one could be with out feed. So I try to feed some extra to them.
    Thanks for the Advice and info, I will keep the fat % number, What would a Good Fat% be?

    Thanks, Again, Melissa


    Tucker:I was wondering because the books say... Well I don't have anything in my guys water either.

    Thats good that your Thanksgiving was good. I bet the food was great :D .

    I guess your climate is a little bit different from ours, It is snowing up a storm again today and it is very cold. We ar putting up a new barn and at the moment we are doing the interior part, insulation and such and it gets pretty cold if you take your mitts or hat off. Lots of people say they couldn't take this weather but really I couldn't live anywhere else. I like it here, but having that nice and hot weather must be nice.

    Melissa