What do you feed your show bunnies?

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

Bunnie

Active Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
41
Reaction score
2
Location
NULL
I am looking for a good quality show pellet, I am not happy with the mess I am getting from my feed store. Can anyone reccomend a good brand?

Also, how do you judge how much to feed your show rabbits, and how much hay? What type? Right now I am feeding timothy hay, a good bit a day, and 1 cup of pellets. This is for a dutch rabbit. I'm not sure what else I should feed her for showing.
 

BinkyBunny

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2012
Messages
475
Reaction score
98
Location
USA
I feel like I've heard of breeders feeding manna pro? Maybe I'm wrong. I'm sure other will chime in soon!
 

KittyKatMe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
597
Reaction score
25
I would defenitly cut back to 1/4 - 1/2 cup pellets. They will become obese quickly on that much for such a small rabbit. As for hay, just have a rack and keep it always full. You can use Timothy, Orchard, Oat, Meadow; any type of grass hay you can find good quality.
 

Bunnie

Active Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
41
Reaction score
2
Location
NULL
Looked again at the "cup" I was using, it is a 1/2 cup. I can cut it back to 1/4 and keep the hay 24/7. She is only 13ish weeks old, and very active.

I think we have the manna pro at our local Tractor Supply.
 

BinkyBunny

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2012
Messages
475
Reaction score
98
Location
USA
Again, I'm just pulling from memory. I have not ever shown rabbits myself. I think that is what I have heard of breeders feeding :ponder:
 

majorv

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
3,433
Reaction score
702
Location
Texas
You're going to get different answers from different breeders as to what brand. It's mainly what works for you. We have fed Purina Show with no problem, but it was getting expensive so we tried Pen Pals. We like it and the rabbits like it but it costs more than the Purina because the feed store doesn't normally carry it. Right now, we're using Bluebonnet, except my Polish don't seem to care for it as much. I'm thinking about just going back to Purina.

I just talked to a Dutch breeder friend and he gives about a cup of pellets a day to his show rabbits. He doesn't have a problem with his rabbits getting overweight, but they know when to stop eating. My Polish would be fat on a cup because they can't stop. I'm not sure about cutting back to 1/4 cup for a 13 week old though. You just need to watch and weigh him, and adjust if needed.

We use horse quality coastal hay for our show rabbits. We can get a bale at the feed store for less than $10. Good quality pellets and hay are all you really need for show rabbits.
 
Last edited:

woahlookitsme

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2009
Messages
4,194
Reaction score
593
Location
, Texas, USA
I have heard many using manna pro and having good luck with it. Like said it depends on what is good for your rabbit. You can always search the rabbit food on here and get some sort of feedback. Some breeds you need to watch because they will not stop eating but most show rabbits will leisurely nibble through out the day without over eating. Show and breeding rabbits have different requirement than pets so keep that in mind too. I also wouldn't cut back that much for a young rabbit.

Also my tans are more active. They are able to easily maintain their weight and not become obese between showing, running in their cages, and breeding. I think you can maybe give her 1/2-3/4 a cup and see if she can maintain a healthy weight. I can post the weight requirements for dutch when I get a hold of my standards book. This should be your guide on measuring how much your bun should weigh at a certain age.
 
Last edited:

JBun

Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
10,575
Reaction score
5,952
Location
Utah, , USA
I've read good things from breeders about manna pro and pen pals. For an adult rabbit I think the general amount to feed is about 1 oz per lb body weight, depending on your rabbits metabolism as well. Being a growing baby still, you will want to feed more. Some people do unlimited pellets for babies, but I haven't found that works for my bunnies, so i limit pellets. 1/2 cup to 1 cup a day sounds good. I feed my 2 lb 5 month old bunnies about 1/3-1/2 cup a day and unlimited timothy hay. Also, I don't know if you know about transitioning feed. I always transition my rabbits onto a new feed. I know some people don't, but I've found that my rabbits have less digestive problems when I do.
 
Last edited:

Bunnie

Active Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
41
Reaction score
2
Location
NULL
I will have to see what TSC and other local feed stores cary. The stuff I am getting at my feed store is old and nasty looking. I took one bag back and got the Rabbit World food at WalMart until I can get something else, but she isnt over the top about the RW food
 

Imbrium

Jennifer
Joined
Aug 13, 2012
Messages
6,160
Reaction score
1,125
Location
Houston, Texas
Looked again at the "cup" I was using, it is a 1/2 cup. I can cut it back to 1/4 and keep the hay 24/7. She is only 13ish weeks old, and very active.

I think we have the manna pro at our local Tractor Supply.
babies are supposed to have "unlimited" pellets, so I definitely wouldn't cut back to 1/4c. I'd go with 1/2-1c per day, depending on her natural hay intake and how much veggies she's getting.

make sure to gradually transition her to a new pellet over the course of a week or two - they can get upset tummies from an instant switch.
 

BinkyBunny

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2012
Messages
475
Reaction score
98
Location
USA
I think I'm actually feeding knock off manna pro...
 

Blaze_Amita

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2008
Messages
1,315
Reaction score
26
Location
Owingsville, Kentucky, USA
Alot of the feed depends quite heavily on what your rabbit likes and what is available to you. To date I've used Nutrena Naturewise Premium(not the Proformence- 16% versus 18%), PUrina Chow, Purina Show, Manna Pro Pro, Manna Pro Show, and some other odds and ends no name brands like Southern States, Triple Trust, Big Red, Red A, and a couple local no name brands.
Quite frankly, my guys did the best-appetite wise on Nutrena Premium. Personally I don't use an 18%, I just don't like the coat conditions on it nor do I think they need an 18%. I raise Dutch, with a few Holland Lops(My New Zealands are on Triple Trust as that's their favorite) on the Nutrena and they do quite good. I feed 4oz to the Hollands and 5 oz's to the dutch daily, along with their Alfalfa cube(daily in the winter, 3x's a week in the summer) and large handfuls of hay-which is horse quality. It does keep my buns a tad to the chubby side but I've done well on the show table with them.
A friend of mine that also raises dutch in western KY-I am eastern KY- just switched off Purina Fibre3 to Pen Pals due to having alot of problems with Purina- I switched to Nutrena the same time as I can't get the PenPals over in the eastern side of the state as easily as I can get to Nutrena.
Problems could be stemmed from where feed is mixed, we all know all this but for our Purinas-which came from two different mills- and were two different Purina's (Fibre 3 versus show) and we were both having the same problems we both bailed on Purina. Your area may not have any trouble but there's no location for you listed so it's hard to offer suggestions.
My dutch babies are on free feed until 12 weeks of age and then I move them to a regular diet of 5 oz's a day- always have, as I don't show them under 12 weeks(the two I did, were still on a self feeder when they showed at 11 weeks of age but did fantastic!)
 
Last edited:

shananagrams

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
60
Reaction score
6
Location
Manhattan, NY
Purina is not a very good brand for any animal food. It's like the bottom of the line for dog food at this point. I don't know much about the rabbit food, but I imagine its on the level of kaytee minus the seeds/sugary cereal.
 

whitelop

Morgan
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
3,930
Reaction score
510
Location
York, South Carolina, USA
According to the ARBA Dutch standards, seniors(over 6 months) should weigh between 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 lbs.
http://www.dutchrabbit.com/aboutthebreed/aboutthebreed.html

I have a 10 week old dutch, who isn't show quality, but she gets around 1/2 cup a day of pellets. I feed Sherwood forest, and she gets coastal horse quality hay, with 2 handfuls of alfalfa hay a day and little timothy hay blocks as treats. She seems to be doing well that amount of food. She doesn't eat all her pellets at once, she grazes on them through out the day. I feed her half at a time, morning and night.
 

JBun

Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
10,575
Reaction score
5,952
Location
Utah, , USA
Alot of the feed depends quite heavily on what your rabbit likes and what is available to you. To date I've used Nutrena Naturewise Premium(not the Proformence- 16% versus 18%), PUrina Chow, Purina Show, Manna Pro Pro, Manna Pro Show, and some other odds and ends no name brands like Southern States, Triple Trust, Big Red, Red A, and a couple local no name brands.
Quite frankly, my guys did the best-appetite wise on Nutrena Premium. Personally I don't use an 18%, I just don't like the coat conditions on it nor do I think they need an 18%. I raise Dutch, with a few Holland Lops(My New Zealands are on Triple Trust as that's their favorite) on the Nutrena and they do quite good. I feed 4oz to the Hollands and 5 oz's to the dutch daily, along with their Alfalfa cube(daily in the winter, 3x's a week in the summer) and large handfuls of hay-which is horse quality. It does keep my buns a tad to the chubby side but I've done well on the show table with them.
I'm just curious what you mean by 'they did better appetite wise' on the Nutrena pellets? I'm looking at different feeds right now, but I had read varying things about Nutrena, including some people having problems. What differences did you see between the Nutrena and the Manna Pro?
 
Last edited:

Blaze_Amita

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2008
Messages
1,315
Reaction score
26
Location
Owingsville, Kentucky, USA
Well the Manna Pro we have around us is CRAP, it's very dusty and a pale brown- not even smelling good-I wouldn't have fed that to a starving animal it was so nasty. Nutrena smell good, it's greener adn teh pellet itself isn't crumbly like the Manna Pro. I lost several litters in the spring due to Manna Pro(Nutrena's the 3rd switch this year in feed). Rabbit feeds in KY are hard to find- either they make it on whatever is available at TSC or they don't for the meat breeding folks around me. I went and ordered Purina Show in through a Purina dealer, and worked with that from February-November. Lost some babies, some had good condition some not and finally got a hold of a Nutrena Rep that located my closest dealer that carried or could order the Nutrena rabbit and that's where I went. I've only lived in KY for 3 years, the prior time(I've had rabbits for 8 years) was all in upstate NY where Nutrena was common and I started on it- did my rescue work and my breeding/showing and never had a lick of problems. Kentucky not so much-a very non-rabbit friendly area.
The Nutrena my guys have been cleaning out their bowls and I have two extremely picky eaters that had all but quit eating the Purina Show I had before- they're the only two I cold turkey switched their feed because they just would not touch the Purina-everyone else had a nice changeover. The nutrena, I've got a label inside, I'll scan it in to the computer and post it if you want so you can see a label. I've also had an older doe that simply would not conceive a litter when on the Purina, got her back on Nutrena(it was what she was born and raised on) and she's bred now(actually wanting to be bred!) and back in gorgeous condition.
Bottom line though: Some folks don't like Nutrena, some do. I, personally, will swear by the Nutrena and won't ever look back. Jbun-I see your in Utah, find other local breeders and see what's what for them. if you're going to try the Nutrena just make sure you first have a dealer around and before you think to ask, TSC can NOT bring it in-I've had 4 different stores try for me, I have to drive 2 hours north to get mine. TSC-it's something about the way they have things set up with Nutrena that doesn't allow them to bring it in-at least that's what the one store manager told me.
 
Last edited:

JBun

Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
10,575
Reaction score
5,952
Location
Utah, , USA
Thanks for the info. I actually have a feed store near me that I know carries it. If you wouldn't mind posting the label that would be great.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
2,422
Reaction score
397
Location
, Pennsylvania, USA
Feed is a very individual preference, as you can see from the responses so far. The brands available and quality of feed vary from region to region. For example, some breeders have access to excellent locally milled feeds. Others have better access to the "big brands."

I would recommend looking into what you can buy the freshest and start there. The fresher you can get the feed, the more content the rabbits will be with it and the healthier the actual food will be.

Aside from that, look at the percent protein. Wool breeds or more active breeds will require a higher protein percentage (typically 16-18%). Smaller, calmer breeds may do just fine or better on less protein (14-16%). Pregnant or nursing does and kits also do best on a higher percentage. Dry bucks and does on a smaller percentage.

Fat content is also important. Most foods are somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5%-2.5% fat. Guidelines for that are similar to protein.

I raise Holland Lops primarily and have been very pleased with Blue Seal Show Hutch Deluxe. It is an extruded feed, which is said to improve digestibility. I haven't had any GI issues with my rabbits on it, so I guess we can speak to that! More than that though, the rabbits go crazy for it and have good flesh and fur condition overall. It is not the freshest feed I have access too, though not "old" or anything, but it has had the best response from my rabbits. I've tried Purina, Manna Pro and Pen Pals with little success.

In addition to pellets, a good grass hay is best. Timothy, orchard, bermuda. Again, whatever you have the freshest access to.

In my experience, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pellets daily per 5 lbs. body weight works best. You will discover that some rabbits need a little more or a little less and can adjust accordingly. Also, none of my rabbits are free fed here. Digestive issues are very common in young rabbits, and I've noticed that Holland babies are particularly susceptible to "poopy butt," the precursor to worse enteritis. So even my babies are rationed and hay eating is encouraged! The babies are fed based on their "expected" weight. For example, I put 1/2 cup of food in the dish for each baby in the cage (following the weight rule above), and then offer unlimited grass hay. So they have plenty of food for such little bunnies and still have hay to graze on when the pellets are gone. The incidence of digestive symptoms has gone way down since I stopped with the unlimited rule, so I highly recommend rationing pellets for any age - it's just done a little differently for youngsters.

Again, you will find that feeding methods vary. But hopefully this helps with some ideas!
 
Last edited:

KittyKatMe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2012
Messages
597
Reaction score
25
Oh ok. I thought your rabbit was a senior. Definitely give unlimited pellets.
 

Imbrium

Jennifer
Joined
Aug 13, 2012
Messages
6,160
Reaction score
1,125
Location
Houston, Texas
oh, as far as food goes, personally I love sherwood forest - http://www.naturalrabbitfood.com/sherwood-forest-natural-rabbit-food/ - no added sugars/molasses, lots of fiber and TONS less starches than other rabbit foods. I highly recommend it. I don't think any of our breeders use it, but I assume the main reason for that is simply that it's cost-prohibative if you're feeding a lot of rabbits.
 
Top