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Weaning my rabbits off pellets on to natural forage greens

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello, I'm new to the world of rabbits, just picked up my trio yesterday. I've read everything I could get my hands on and even taken classes on rabbit care, but nothing is compared to actually owning them, so any and all info is welcome aside from the title.

 

In the class I've taken, plus how I'm raising my family and other animals, I want to have my rabbit on a pellet and natural forage diet. My concern is they have NEVER had any greens before, they are 4 months old and I want them to have as well of a rounded diet as I can safely offer. In my pasture I have clover, wild lettuce, dandelion, and cats ear, those are the ones I can 100% identify. I NEVER use any chemicals because of my goats, chickens and ducks already so that is not a concern. 

 

What ratio should I start introducing the greens with pellets? I don't want to cause any issues with their bellies. In my class the instructor said once adjusted, the feed pellets should be given every other day and greens on the off days, but that concerns me because I don't want to under feed them, so my end game is to offer both daily. 

 

Thank you 

2 Nigerian Goats, 3 Mix Breed Chickens, 6 Pekins, Malamute, Sibe Husky, and a German Shepherd 
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2 Nigerian Goats, 3 Mix Breed Chickens, 6 Pekins, Malamute, Sibe Husky, and a German Shepherd 
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post #2 of 3

This is just my experience and opinion, I know everyone has different methods and goals...

 

Feed them as they were being fed at their breeder(?) and begin introducing greens and veggies a little at a time( like a 2:1 ratio every other day or so). IMO, hay or roughage of some sort- can even be cubes, is more important than greens. Rabbits are a lot like horses in the way they digest food. Hay is very important. True, they do have sensitive digestive tracks, but usually by the time they're weaned the bacteria has developed sufficiently to prevent any issues. Unless you feed them dairy or something else that rabbits shouldn't eat.

 

You may want to try sprouting barley fodder to make up the bulk of the greenage instead of trying to feed just the pasture forage. I've been considering this myself. Read about quite a few folks switching completely over from pellets.

 

Again, just my opinion. All depends on your goals for the buns.

 

Good luck with your trio! What kind of rabbits did you get?

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice, I have boxes for them to sleep/hide in in their hutches, even in the bucks hutch. It get very windy here and in the summer super hot so give them an option for extra shade/wind break/ little extra safty feel. In the boxes I have some hay for them, same that I feed my goats, fescue. Each hutch is 4'x 2n1/2', just my personal choice the happier and less stressed the animals the better they'll produce, eggs, milk, babies, whatever. I gave them 1 leaf of dandelion each after I read your post, think I'll take it super slow just to be safe with their age ( doe's 4 months buck 5 months almost ).Plus it's Spring so no super rush to push their bellies. Doe's mom is half New Zealand half flemish giant and their dad is 100% d'argent, buck is half new zealand half california. Would it be better if I get bermuda hay for them or is the fescue ok?

Thank you

2 Nigerian Goats, 3 Mix Breed Chickens, 6 Pekins, Malamute, Sibe Husky, and a German Shepherd 
Reply
2 Nigerian Goats, 3 Mix Breed Chickens, 6 Pekins, Malamute, Sibe Husky, and a German Shepherd 
Reply
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