wild foods for rabbits

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by r.h. in okla., May 14, 2006.

  1. People in other contries don't run down to the feed store to buy their rabbits feed. They collect grasses and such from around the farm for feed. What wild grasses and weeds can a rabbit eat? I'm planning on harvesting my cornstalks for rabbit feed after harvesting the ears for ourselves. I done a little bit of this last summer and most seemed to like it very well. I also cut some dried switch grass and fed them but have no ideal how much nutrietenal value their was in it. I fed these more as a suppliment along with the store bought feed but just incase the SHTF or money just down right gets tight I would like to kind of wean away from store bought rabbit feed if possible. Any suggestions?
     
  2. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    dandylion, most all grasses, root crops (carrots, turnips, beats etc.) black berry leafs, rasberry leafs, hay (all kinds), comfry, spinich, cabbage, sunflowerseed,

    try the tractor method, moveing them to new spots when needed so they can graze on their own
     

  3. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We feed our pet bunnies dock, wild onions, rose tips (finally a use for that blasted multiflora), leaves from our root crops and any brassicas that go to seed. Growing up, my father would never allow us to give the rabbits cut grass unless it was hayed.
     
  4. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I forgot the nastiest one - cooked potato peels - hate the smell so as soon as I had bunnies of my own I stopped feeding that! lol
     
  5. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Dandelions and chickweed.
     
  6. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    The tender tips of your favorite rose bushes!!!!

    So go for the younger multiflora, the rose hips, too.-- they seem to like several types of young, tender twings in the winter---
    ya know what-- I air dried some overwintered turnips a couple weeks ago-- the buns still like them that way, too! Mine like a fresh grape or two - dry some berries for the winter
     
  7. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sassafras, sycamore, and maple leaves. Both green and dried. I wish I had a bigger barn to store all those lovely leaves in, I'ld never have to buy hay again! Multiflora rose gets fed to bunnies but I always pick off the thorns, got nailed handling the branches ONCE! OUCH! Marigolds, plantian (buckhorn for you old timers), mints, lemon balm, violet leaves, dried apples, butternut squash (properly aged, at least a year), pumpkin seeds (also a homeopathic worm remedy), and oats (but only in cold weather).

    Forgot grape vine trimmings, good for chewing.
     
  8. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

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    My buns love mint, and considering how rampant it can grow its a good way to keep the mint in check. I have clumps of clover growing all over, they love that. I read somewhere that they like dried oak leaves, and some folks save them by the bag in the fall and feed them all winter. Now that would be an easy way to supplement them in the cold months. I may try that this winter, wonder if they can eat acorns?
     
  9. Thatch

    Thatch Well-Known Member

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    I've been augmenting some with bamboo leaves gleaned from the wetland area that borders my property. While it doesn't seem to be the bun's favorite meal (cabbage is much more prized) they do eat it and with the amount of bamboo back there I could make a fairly serious dent in my feed intake (if I only went down there a bit more often to gather it).

    J
     
  10. Well after I posted this I went outside and seen lots of dried grass that I had cut with a mower about 2 days before. It had been laying in the sun and looked dry and hayish like. I gathered it in a big toe-sac and fed the bunnies with it. They seem to really enjoy it so I gathered enough for this morning incase they're still alive. Good luck! They were still alive so I gave them some more dried lawn clippings. I hadn't treated that part of the lawn with any harsh chemicals such as tick crystals or anything. Also I don't ever treat any of my lawn with fertilizer so there may not be a whole lot of nutritional value in the dried lawn clippings. However as fast as it grows you would think it was loaded with nutrition.

    I got to thinking, one part of my back place I don't mow it but once every other or third time that I mow my lawn. It's usually purty tall before I get around to mowing it down again. So maybe I should buy me one of those idiot sticks and whack her down as she grows and make my own hay out of it for the winter. I could fertilize it with the rabbit droppings.

    Thanks everyone for your replies! Very much appreciated.
     
  11. sunshine estate

    sunshine estate Well-Known Member

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    good suggestions, but I have a few more...

    I keep at least one "spare" rabbit, and I test new foods on him or her for a few days before I give it to the herd...

    I've tried a water weed that I think is arrow root, and the test bunny really liked it and didn't die from it...also tried cattail leaves, and the test bunny ate it like she was starving (and she's not); but I think cattail leaves should be cut up into reasonable sections, I've read that long fibers in their guts can be a problem...want to try cattail - uh, what do you call their seed heads? - but I waited too long, they're getting fuzzy already...

    As far as rabbit tractoring, I ran into a problem I didn't anticipate: the rabbits foul their grazing area with feces and urine so quickly that I'd have to move them several times a day...they won't eat the grass/weeds that are contaminated...and it's only practical for me to move the cages once a day right now...so I'm back to taking it to them...
     
  12. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I feed pellets, but I don't think they are the best way to go, so I am gradually addings greens, grains and hand-cut hay. A few years ago, shortly after we moved here, we seeded the former owners' vegetable garden to alfalfa, red clover and timothy. This was to improve the soil, but when we found that the cottontail rabbits left our new vegetable garden alone and pigged out on the alfalfa and clover, we decided to let it be a permanent patch. Now it provides lots of nutritious greens for our domestic rabbits and we cut and dry it for winter hay as well.

    We have a number of wild apple trees and willows and one maple to provide fresh branches for nibbling. I am planting comfrey this spring, and there is a large mint patch, plentiful dandelions, plantain, white clover, chickweed and purslaine. Our south "lawn" is low-lying, so it rarely gets really dry even in a drought. So there is good fodder there from May to November.

    I do not feed dock because I am uncertain about it... I have heard that the seeds are extremely toxic (although my son's pet voles thrived on them) but that the leaves are fine. I don't feel like taking chances when there are so many other choices--at least until I have done more research. I understand that Shepherd's Purse is excellent to cure scours, although that is one thing I have not yet needed.

    I am lucky to have a copy of a British war-time book on caring for farm animals... and because of the many shortages the British suffered during those years, there is a wealth of information there about keeping animals well-fed and healthy from natural foods. I like "outdated" books about livestock... they make so much more sense than common modern practices!
     
  13. Al. Countryboy

    Al. Countryboy Well-Known Member

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    I give mine a number of different grasses, limbs and leaves also. I am planning to also dry my corn leaves after my corn is finished for fodder this year. My father use to do this when we were kids. We would pull the leaves off the stalk till we had a nice pundle and then wrap one leave around the bundle then pull it up through the middle of the pundle of the bundle. He would then take the bundle and hang it on the ear of corn left on the stalk until they were dry. This process took a couple of days to dry. I read that one European country that have rabbits as their main meat source feed hay and corn to their rabbits. They feed the corn on the cob to them and they do quite well and have large litters. Not sure of the type of rabbits that they have. This was a very interesting article that I found somewhere on the internet.
     
  14. Al. countryboy, I tried the whole ears of corn this last winter but the rabbits didn't eat it too good. It may have been the kind of corn I had as these were very hard white dent corn. However they loved the stalks as they contained a soft pulp inside that they loved to chew on. This summer I'm gonna save all my sweet corn stalks. Bundle them up and stand upright to dry in a teepee form. Like they did in the old days.
     
  15. rickd203

    rickd203 Well-Known Member

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    I have been giving mine dandelions and maple leaves and branches. After they eat the leaves and bark, some of the rabbits seem to enjoy playing with the stripped branches. I try to regularly give them something to play with to keep them from getting too bored. I also have a small play area that I can put about 5-6 rabbits per day in to get some exercise.
     
  16. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Too much white clover that is not dry can cause bloat.
     
  17. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree. I always give them a variety at each feeding - a little of this, a little of that. No less than three types of greens. I feel it is safer -- and more pleasant for the rabbits. Think tossed salad.