I'm a little confused. Feeding instructions + vet handout vs internet and forum information.

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Space Monkey

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The Oxbow Essentials Young Rabbit Alfalfa Pellets my 5 month old rabbit eats says to feed in unlimited quantities until a year old. A handout the vet gave us recommend this very food with the same "until one year old" instructions, and then other Oxbow foods for adult rabbits. The internet and forums, however, say that rabbits are mature by about 7 months old and should move off of Alfalfa and that pellets should be given in small quantities according to weight (for Freya about 1/8 to 1/4 cup per day). Which is right? Could it be that a renowned company like Oxbow is giving rabbit killing advice and the vet is following?

Moving on, we found treats that she likes. Oxbow Simple Rewards Apple and Banana, which is a treat with dried apples and bananas baked with Timothy Hay, Barley, Oats, Molasses, and Rosemary. I've read that fruit treats should be given only a couple times a week, but the feeding instructions say 1-2 pieces per day.

I'm very confused about the amount Freya should be eating and when to move off of Alfalfa pellets for Timothy pellets.
 

Preitler

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Pellets are a rather recent fad, a spinoff from meat production that has it's advantages when feeding pet rabbits too. Rabbits don't really need it when fed a proper, diverse diet. But that is difficult for most pet owners, so pellets can be a good supplement.
Alfalfa for max growth imho is good when your goal is getting them to butchering weight asap, or for wool breeds. It doesn't hurt young rabbits though, I personally just think that fastest growth rate isn't necessarily the best. Rabbits evolved to thrive on a rather meager diet.

Anyway, about whatever is printed on labels: That's marketing. All those "essential, Science, extra formulated for this and that age, etc" - Marketing. Rather cheap stuff can be sold for premium prices when the marketing is right. What kind of pellets doesn't matter much if they are just fed as a supplement or treat and not as a substantial part of their diet.
Sugary treats can be fed in small amounts without harm, I would opt for fresh fruit though, but "feeding instructions" for sugary, industrially processed treats make no sense at all, apart if they would say "not too much!!!"

I use simple pellets from our version of Tracktor Supply as treat and supplement, and occasional fruit like apples when there's the season, but stick to forage and hay as their main food.

Good link about feeding pet rabbits:
 

Space Monkey

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Pellets are a rather recent fad, a spinoff from meat production that has it's advantages when feeding pet rabbits too. Rabbits don't really need it when fed a proper, diverse diet. But that is difficult for most pet owners, so pellets can be a good supplement.
Alfalfa for max growth imho is good when your goal is getting them to butchering weight asap, or for wool breeds. It doesn't hurt young rabbits though, I personally just think that fastest growth rate isn't necessarily the best. Rabbits evolved to thrive on a rather meager diet.

Anyway, about whatever is printed on labels: That's marketing. All those "essential, Science, extra formulated for this and that age, etc" - Marketing. Rather cheap stuff can be sold for premium prices when the marketing is right. What kind of pellets doesn't matter much if they are just fed as a supplement or treat and not as a substantial part of their diet.
Sugary treats can be fed in small amounts without harm, I would opt for fresh fruit though, but "feeding instructions" for sugary, industrially processed treats make no sense at all, apart if they would say "not too much!!!"

I use simple pellets from our version of Tracktor Supply as treat and supplement, and occasional fruit like apples when there's the season, but stick to forage and hay as their main food.

Good link about feeding pet rabbits:
She gets 2 cups of leafy greens (Romaine Lettuce and Dandelion Greens) and 1/4 cup of Alfalfa Pellets per day. Along with unlimited Timothy Hay and Orchard Hay.

She won't eat fresh fruit. We've tried just about everything, but she's a simple girl and likes her veggies, hay, and pellets. That lead us to look for some form of treat to reward her with and further diversify her diet. These Oxbow Simple Rewards Apple and Banana treats are what she took to.
 

Space Monkey

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Secondary question to the main topic: She acts weird with this treat. She runs around with it in her mouth until she finds a secure location to eat it. It takes her a bit because it's a hard baked treat. If we approach while she's eating it she runs away with it in her mouth again until she finds another secure location. Does she love it so much that she doesn't want to risk it being taken LOL?
 

Dandy&Tuli4693

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Defintley dont give him 1 year of unlimited alfalfa pellets. As soon as he turns around 6-7months defintley swich him to timothy hay pellets because bunnys can get very fat very quickly and unlike a dog you cant put them on a diet because they can go into GI stasis if they dont have constant gut movement.
 

Dandy&Tuli4693

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Secondary question to the main topic: She acts weird with this treat. She runs around with it in her mouth until she finds a secure location to eat it. It takes her a bit because it's a hard baked treat. If we approach while she's eating it she runs away with it in her mouth again until she finds another secure location. Does she love it so much that she doesn't want to risk it being taken LOL?

I think she just really likes the treats 😅
One other treat to try is dired peppermint!!
My buns go CRAZy for dried peppermint and strawberry leaves (the acual plant leaves not the strawberry tops)
 

lindner.michelle

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Secondary question to the main topic: She acts weird with this treat. She runs around with it in her mouth until she finds a secure location to eat it. It takes her a bit because it's a hard baked treat. If we approach while she's eating it she runs away with it in her mouth again until she finds another secure location. Does she love it so much that she doesn't want to risk it being taken LOL?
Loki gets a meadow loop by Selective Naturals in the morning. He does the same thing! takes it and runs to somewhere secret to enjoy it. Hilarious! As though I'd take his treat away.
He also loves dried red and green peppers. I got a food dehydrator just for him. He enjoys dried peppermint, and the occiasional dried cranberry without added sugar.

I feed him 1/4 cup of Sherwood Pet Health timothy rabbit pellets daily - a bit less actually. He has unlimited timothy hay and water. He's a year old now and and expert cardboard destroyer!

Oh and he gets some fresh greens italian parsely and romaine lettuce. Not too much though.
 

SableSteel

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Pellets are a rather recent fad,
I don't know about this, the brand of rabbit pellets I've been feeding has been making rabbit pellets since 1930. Previously to that rabbit nutrition consisted of things like table scraps and mashed potatoes (one of my hobbies is reading through historical rabbit books - it's amazing how often they reference feeding mashed potatoes to the rabbits as a large part of their diet). It's fun to look at guidebooks from the middle of the century and see old advertisements for my feed.

Personally I feed a completely pellet based diet (alfalfa pellets) for the whole rabbits life. Been doing so for thirteen years, I have never had an issue with too much calcium. All of my rabbits are intact so they have a higher protein requirement than altered ones. There is no one "correct" way to feed a rabbit, especially when nutritional needs vary so much from animal to animal. Just find whichever one works with your rabbit.
 

odyssey~

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She gets 2 cups of leafy greens (Romaine Lettuce and Dandelion Greens) and 1/4 cup of Alfalfa Pellets per day. Along with unlimited Timothy Hay and Orchard Hay.

She won't eat fresh fruit. We've tried just about everything, but she's a simple girl and likes her veggies, hay, and pellets. That lead us to look for some form of treat to reward her with and further diversify her diet. These Oxbow Simple Rewards Apple and Banana treats are what she took to.
What you're feeding her now is completly fine, though you may want to start transitioning to adult pellets within the next month or so. The full transition process takes 10 weeks (so first week, it's 10% new 90% old and then every week you increase the new by 10% and decrease old by 10%). The 1/4 cup is fine for when she's adult as long as she's eating her hay well, but IMO I believe that pellets are soley a supplement to a rabbit's main diet so it's okay to feed none if they are getting a large enough variety of veggies. If she starts gaining weight when she's older because she's still eating the full 1/4 cup of pellets and no longer growing, then 1/8 of a cup is a good amount.

I'd also recommend that you start introducing more veggie varieties now that she can stomach those two. Maybe some cilantro, mint, basil? Generally bunnies should get 3 types of veggies a day. The volume of veggies is great and can be kept though.

Regarding the treats- molasses, oats and barley shouldn't do too much bad in the small amount that the treat has but definetly no more than one of those a day- I've bought them before and they're rather large. fruit can be given every day in moderated amounts- I say no more than 2 tbsp for 4lb body weight. The oxbow dried strawberry treats are a lot better as they have no additives and especially since she had a GI upset recently if I recall correctly it might be better to not feed so much proccessed.

Haha! Odyssey does this too with treats or chews that she likes lol.
 

Space Monkey

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What you're feeding her now is completly fine, though you may want to start transitioning to adult pellets within the next month or so. The full transition process takes 10 weeks (so first week, it's 10% new 90% old and then every week you increase the new by 10% and decrease old by 10%). The 1/4 cup is fine for when she's adult as long as she's eating her hay well, but IMO I believe that pellets are soley a supplement to a rabbit's main diet so it's okay to feed none if they are getting a large enough variety of veggies. If she starts gaining weight when she's older because she's still eating the full 1/4 cup of pellets and no longer growing, then 1/8 of a cup is a good amount.

I'd also recommend that you start introducing more veggie varieties now that she can stomach those two. Maybe some cilantro, mint, basil? Generally bunnies should get 3 types of veggies a day. The volume of veggies is great and can be kept though.

Regarding the treats- molasses, oats and barley shouldn't do too much bad in the small amount that the treat has but definetly no more than one of those a day- I've bought them before and they're rather large. fruit can be given every day in moderated amounts- I say no more than 2 tbsp for 4lb body weight. The oxbow dried strawberry treats are a lot better as they have no additives and especially since she had a GI upset recently if I recall correctly it might be better to not feed so much proccessed.

Haha! Odyssey does this too with treats or chews that she likes lol.
I will do a lot for our little Freya, but always having a huge variety of greens available is something I won't do. She's one small rabbit. At 5 months of age and being a Mini Satin, she weighed in at 2.97 pounds at the vet. I'll attach a photo of her below. She's a nice thick rabbit, but she's naturally just a tiny little girl. The greens go bad way too quickly for her. I keep some Rosemary to go with the Romaine and Dandelion, but it's small little organic pouches found at Fresh Thyme so I hardly count it as a green since she gets what amounts to a sprinkle. The kids are picky and really nobody will eat what she doesn't get through before it goes bad. I do not feel bad whatsoever for giving this rabbit Timothy Hay, Orchard Hay, Oxbow Pellets, fresh Romaine Lettuce, fresh Dandelion Greens, a sprinkle of Rosemary, and now an Oxbow fruit treat every day. She has it good. What I would do is maybe not buy Dandelion Greens one time (she likes Romain the best so she'll always have that) and instead buy another leafy green that isn't in the spice category and slowly try that, but I wouldn't buy several varieties at once. And with our schedule, we only make the grocery store on Wednesday.

IMG_20210824_113747462.jpg
 

Space Monkey

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I see. Perhaps grow something if you have the time? Celery is good since most people seem to like it and buns can eat the leaves.
I'm definitely considering growing our own vegetables; not because I think Freya is lacking, but because I love her so much that I would like to be able to give her a little more variety. As things stand now, it's just not feasible to have all that produce. It's a waste of money. Her diet is already better than most rabbits have it. You remarkable people here are on another level.

My biggest question and concern is the pellet feeding discrepancy. The manufacturer and vet say one thing and the internet says another. I'm definitely going with you guys on this as I have (limited pellets [1/4 cup per day] since she gets unlimited hay and 2 cups of greens). She's gaining weight, growing, and happy and healthy. Where I come from you don't fix what's not broken.
 

SirLawrence

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If you're supplementing her with pellets (1/4 sounds good to me), the variety of greens and veggies isn't as important, as she getting "complete" nutrition from the pellets. I say that because she still needs tons of fiber from hay. Personally, I tried keeping a variety of veggies and greens around, and found the same as you: it was a huge waste. And I'm not a rich person, nor do I have a ton of time, 'cause I wage-slave for the MAN. I've settled on packaged spring mix salad, which gives them a pretty good variety, and it comes ready to eat, so it saves me time. I do pick out spinach if it has a ton in it, but other than that, they get salad. Pretty easy. As mentioned in another thread, it's more expensive that buying greens in bulk and making my own mix, but I'd rather spend time with them than at the store and in the kitchen! It's a cost I'm comfortable with, though.

And truth be told, some days I forget they need greens, and it's not the end of the world. They have unlimited hay and they get pellets daily. I see the greens as more of an enrichment thing, rather than "necessary food".

I'm sure people will disagree with me, but that's how it is with my two boys.
 

Barbara

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I'm definitely considering growing our own vegetables; not because I think Freya is lacking, but because I love her so much that I would like to be able to give her a little more variety. As things stand now, it's just not feasible to have all that produce. It's a waste of money. Her diet is already better than most rabbits have it. You remarkable people here are on another level.

My biggest question and concern is the pellet feeding discrepancy. The manufacturer and vet say one thing and the internet says another. I'm definitely going with you guys on this as I have (limited pellets [1/4 cup per day] since she gets unlimited hay and 2 cups of greens). She's gaining weight, growing, and happy and healthy. Where I come from you don't fix what's not broken.
I have grown basil. My bunny loves it and I'm able to keep it on my counter. I cut off a little branch every night. You can also try thyme. My plant didn't seem to thrive, but it was a extra for a few weeks.
 

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She gets 2 cups of leafy greens (Romaine Lettuce and Dandelion Greens) and 1/4 cup of Alfalfa Pellets per day. Along with unlimited Timothy Hay and Orchard Hay.

She won't eat fresh fruit. We've tried just about everything, but she's a simple girl and likes her veggies, hay, and pellets. That lead us to look for some form of treat to reward her with and further diversify her diet. These Oxbow Simple Rewards Apple and Banana treats are what she took to.
I use them as a treat and training.
 

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