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BlueCamasRabbitry

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So, this last show got me thinking (and I was thinking a bit before), about how much I feed my rabbits. They currently get about 3 oz. of feed a day, as well as unlimited hay & water, and greens about weekly.

This past show, Rowdy, my Sr. buck, (he's a TINY little guy) was underweight, and really in poor condition, and the judges commented on it, but he still got first. Anyway, it made me feel REALLY bad, because he was eating unlimited pellets before I got him, and never going overweight. Now he's really skinny, even though we started upping his pellets just recently. Anyway, we are now giving him as much as he'll eat (we have a show this weekend, so also going to be giving him some black oil sunflower seeds to help put meat on his bones, and condition his fur). He is digging the pellets out of his dish, and not eating them all. A few weeks ago he would have gone crazy for that many pellets! I'm not sure why he's doing this...I don't think he likes our food very much. It took us forever to switch him over to it.

Anyway, what do you guys feed your MR, and how much? What is a healthy amount that won't cause them to go overweight? How much should I feed animals that I want to lose some weight, but are still a bit big boned? How much should I feed pregnant does? My current pregnant doe is getting 3 oz, and is due this Thursday..should I up the feed a bit?

I'm thinking about switching to a show formula, it will cost more, but I think it will be better for my rabbits, both for conditioning, but as well as keeping the weight on, but not causing them to go overweight.

ETA: My current idea is to switch to a show formula when my doe starts weaning her kits, or afterwards. Until then, I will be giving them 3 oz. a day, Rowdy unlimited, and also some black oil sunflower seeds weekly, (Rowdy daily), and lots of dandelion greens, grass, & unlimited hay.

Thanks in advance!
A worried Emily.

 

RAL Rabbitry

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I use a 16% protein 18% fibrepellet that is milled locally. Everybody basically gets a measuredhalf cup of pellets a day from the day they are weaned. Bred does get the same amount until they kindle and then I slowly increase their pellets until the kits eyes are open and then they are on free feed. I feed hay to does with litters everyday and all the others get hay every other day. I don't feed greens and don't supplement except for maybe a few sunflower seeds when it's cold. I alway give the sunflower seedsin the morning when they have empty feeders because if you top dress it encourages digging. I feeddoes with litters twice a day and everyone else is fed in the evening. I may round over the feed cup in really cold weather.

I don't believe in free feeding a single rabbit. They don't eat as much as when they get hungry and are looking for a meal.

If the buck keeps digging feed his supplements in a separate feeder and raise up his pellet feeder so he has to stand on his hind legs to reach it. I would also consider cutting out the hay for a while. He is probably filling up onthe hay and supplementsand not eating the pellets.
 

TCRabbitry

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I free feed EVERYTHING! I have raised about 37 breeds of rabbits, and have ALWAYS free fed. If the rabbit is genetically sound, there is NO reason that you should have to measure it's feed.

I know that there are some that you have to give less too because they dig, or over eat, but that is on an individual basis. As a general rule, I free feed. I raised ND's, MR, and Holland Lops for years and never had a genetically sound dwarf rabbit go over weight.

I think of it this way. How would you feel if someone gave you a specific amount that you could eat EVERY day, and even if you were starving, you were NEVER allowed to eat anymore than that.

Rabbits, just like any other animals, rely on us to give them nourishment and water. They can't just walk over to the fridge or the sink to get something to eat or drink. If you wouldn't restrict yourself like that, then why would you do it to an animal?
 

Blaze_Amita

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my mini rex, along with my dutch and holland lops get 4 oz's a day. hay and water. one holland gets free fed because he's old(almost 6 years), and my only doe left gets an oat/pellet mix and 6 oz's.
 

Purple Mountain Rabbitry

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I feed rangen which is a show ration and I free feed it. Rangen incis based here in Idaho so you should be able to get it pretty easy. The place I get it from Its is like 12.50 w/o the 4h discount and is like 11 something with it. its great and my MR never go over weight. I feed it to everyone of my rabbits including pregnant does and does with kits. the kits are thriving and momma has plenty of milk. my juniors are growing great and my seniors look amazing. And the rabbits love the smell of it it only took a couple days to switch any rabbits I get over to it completely. I got compliments about their great fur quality and how good they look from judges and other showers and just people.

Crystal
 

RAL Rabbitry

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The only animal that I have that is free fed is my parrot. The rabbits, dogs and cat are given what I feel is enough food to satisfy them and keep them in good weight. If I free fed my rabbits or any of the other animals they would be at an unhealthy weight. They are given plenty of fresh water every day.
 

Momto3boys

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I free feed everyone here, dogs, cats, rabbit, guinea pigs and hamster. I only have ONE overweight animal and that's one of the cats.

It's funny because my dogs don't gorge, they're not food aggreesive AT ALL and I have 3 that eat out of the same bowl and they will just eat a few pieces of kibble and walk away. My friend feeds 2 meals a day to her dogs and it's a measured amount, her dogs have nothing but problems with gorging and food aggression....

I'm all for free feeding. I know when I'm hungry, I want to eat, I don't want to have to wait until the next day or until somebody decides to feed me.

Where your bunny is skinny and people are noticing, I would definately free feed. Let him eat what he wants, IF he gets overweight THEN cut him back.
 

GorbyJobRabbits

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I always freefed my Mini Rexes, and all bunnies. They eat what they want, and they generally just nibble here and there. and really don't over eat.


I agree 100% with the poster above me. The animals do not suck down all of their food when a bowl is put in front of them. I can't stand animals begging all day to get food so they can suck it down. The animals will nibble here and there and hop away when finished.
 

mistyjr

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I only have one MR left. He gets about 1/2 cup daily like the rest of LH and JW.. But some get un limited feed.
 

TCRabbitry

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RAL Rabbitry wrote:
The only animal that I have that is free fed is my parrot. The rabbits, dogs and cat are given what I feel is enough food to satisfy them and keep them in good weight. If I free fed my rabbits or any of the other animals they would be at an unhealthy weight. They are given plenty of fresh water every day.
I don't understand this. How can they be satisfied with a measured amount of feed twice a day? I free feed EVERY animal that I own. None of them gorge themselves, or are over weight.

Think of it this way. How would you feel if someone was giving you a measured amount of food twice a day and telling you that was all you were allowed to eat. Just like people, animals appetites change from day to day. But, unlike people, if an animal gets hungry, especially a rabbit, cannot just go somewhere and get whatever it is that they want to eat or drink. They rely on us to get them the food that they need. So, why would you restrict that?
 

akane

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Cats and dogs are designed to eat meals and many will overeat. My akita is not one of them but 90% of the dogs I've known would just keep eating if you kept filling their bowl.

Rabbits are not cats and dogs. They evolved to eat constantly. A rabbit is always surrounded by food. Mine have unlimited hay and I feed pellets individually about what they'll eat in 24hours. They still only eat that much if they run out of hay. The MR don't seem to overeat. The champagne d'argent are different. They will just keep inhaling it. They got the pellet bucket down once and ate about a pound of feed. I have to measure out their pellets or they will only eat pellets and not touch the hay.
 

mistyjr

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Some rabbits need more food then others. Like Finch (REW JW DOE) is 2 pounds over weight. I give her less then others. When I had my dutch. They would had ate their feed up so fast. Eat the bowls,ect and they were over weight. Mine get 1/2 cup and big handful of hay. By next morning. They have pellets left in their bowls and some would be all over the floor. My mom's with babies, And young Jr. and some show rabbits get a hole bowl of feed. And some have J feeders and get it filled all the way.
 

SMALL S RABBITRY

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Well like I said before I feed mine 4oz once a day and when I go out and check on them every morning they all still have feed my MR don't even eat all the feed I give them and when I go out to feed it is all gone by then and they are ready to eat again .......Toby

But I do free feed my pregnat does and does with litters.........
 

BlueCamasRabbitry

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The buck in question doesn't really touch his hay. He always has an almost full hay rack when I go to feed. I will be slowly upping some of the rabbits' feed to 4 oz, but the others who are larger will get about 3oz. My Opals are more broody than my REWs, so I will have the weight problem there, and not so much with my REWs, who are much tinier.

This morning I gave Rowdy a full dish of pellets. The cup is up about 4 inches off the ground, and he still tries to dig pellets out of it. He had a little amount left this morning from last night - not sure how much of that was eaten and how much was spilled.

Will black oil sunflower seeds work as a supplement?

I do not believe in free feeding. It's fine if others do that, but for my animals, I feel they should have a measured limit. That doesn't mean that they don't have other foods available too them - they all have unlimited hay, and get greens daily to weekly. Not everyone in my barn eats all their pellets in one sitting either, so feeding more than they will consume is just wasting feed & $$.

Emily
 

mistyjr

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yup.. i agree with you... i have some that will sit there and dump all there feed out every time. Ugh
 

akane

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I mix 1 scoop of sunflower seeds to 3-4 scoops of pellets as a supplement. It is best to give some flaxseed or nuts with sunflower seed to balance the omega fatty acids if you are feeding a lot of it.
 

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