Can't find definitive answer--rabbits and clover?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by jasmer, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2012
    Hey, we're getting our little homestead farm set up next year for chickens, goats, sheep, and rabbits. I have a lengthy list of pasture plants that are safe for all of the above and should be able to feed all of these animals off the pasture alone. However, we want to do a crop rotation for wheat with nitrogen-fixing legumes, something like clover, wheat, clover, wheat. We like the deer on our property as well, so I wanted the rotating legume patch to be something highly palatable for them, and the top picks are alfalfa (too high maintenance, i'll pass) and several clover varieties.

    Ladino
    Red
    Birdsfoot trefoil
    Alsike
    Sweetclover

    I'd hate to mow all this clover down and let it go to waste or worry about keeping certain hay and silage separate from rabbit feed. However I cannot find a definitive answer. I've been trying to find out if clover is okay for rabbits. I hear conflicting reports. Clover is bad for rabbits, it causes infertility. LADINO clover is bad for rabbits, red clover is fine. Birdsfoot refoil is great forage for all animals, Birdsfoot trefoil kills rabbits. Clover causes infertility in rabbits. Clover is not on the list of dangerous or toxic foods on any rabbit website I've found so far.

    Does anybody know for sure with a definitive study that organically grown ladino and red clover, free of pesticides and not grossly overfed, is actually bad for rabbits? Is it just a moderation issue like alfalfa is with pretty much everything that eats it? Would it be okay to mow down this clover patch for silage instead of letting it go to waste when I rotate wheat onto it the following year? My primary concern is if I can then feed clover hay or silage supplementally to meat rabbits over the winter. They will of course have an absurdly varied diet.

    Sorry for rambling, I just don't want to plant a bunch of clover and then have it go to waste. I only want it to fix nitrogen in the soil, and will probably feed a good amount of it to the livestock, but I need to know once and for all if Ladino, red clover, and/or birdsfoot trefoil is safe to feed rabbits.
     
  2. aprille218

    aprille218 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    northern MN
    I'd avoid the sweet clover because it can cause photosensitivity in SOME rabbits but all else are fine. Clover is very rich so use in moderation. A mix of the above types would be better or a mix of above clover+ annual ryegrass would be excellent!!
    Aprille
     
  3. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2012
    Thanks!
     

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