Properly feeding my neatherland dwarf pair?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by ShellyBear, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. ShellyBear

    ShellyBear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello! I recently bough myself a lovely pair of ND's (Type of rabbit) and as I was reading and researching I saw that there were many ways to "properly" feed them. I have them on mazuri right now and 24/7 timothy but nothing other than that, but what are the right amounts for them to be feed healthy. Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  2. BirdsNRabbits

    BirdsNRabbits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Definitely keeping access to timothy or orchard grass hay is a must. I raise Holland Lops and feed them a half a cup of manna pro a day, the big girls and nursing mothers get more obviously. Hollands are similar to Netherlands in size, so my advice should apply.

    Most feed brands have a chart on how much to feed. They usually have it in ounces of feed per pound of rabbit. But that may be 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 of a cup, depending on what kind of food you're using. Just take a close look at the feed bag.

    Also look at the ingredients, and the protein percentage. A 16-18% should be good.

    As for treats, I personally don't like any of those processed treats. If you want to feed treats choose good veggies and fruits. Fruit is like candy to rabbits though, so feed only one slice of apple every day at the most.
     
  3. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    There are many ways to feed rabbits. Some people have success raising them on mostly hay diets, with very small amounts of pellets and some safe vegetables/leafy greens. Most rabbit breeders and showers (at least that I know of) follow almost the opposite feeding program, giving each rabbit a set amount of pellets a day and rarely offering hay, much less greens. I've always raised my rabbits the latter way, with the results being happy, healthy rabbits with good flesh condition, quality coats, fertility, and productiveness.

    I don't raise Netherland Dwarfs, but I do raise Mini Rex, which are a similarly sized (though slightly larger) breed. I free feed Mini Rex kits up to about 10 weeks of age, then switch to giving each rabbit 1/2 cup of pellets each day. If a rabbit seems slightly "off" or is stressed out, I give a handful of timothy hay. Rabbits having trouble maintaining weight or nursing does with large litters get supplemented with some calf manna, sunflower seeds, or oats. Otherwise, my Mini Rex eat just pellets. The pellets I use have about 16% protein, but 17% or 18% is fine.

    You could try the mostly-pellet method and feed your NDs 1/3-1/2 cup of pellets each day, or the mostly-hay method, and feed only a few tablespoons of pellets each day, but unlimited timothy hay and some vegetables (parsley, bok choy, romaine lettuce, kale, etc.). Either way would probably work; the choice is up to you.
     
  4. BirdsNRabbits

    BirdsNRabbits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So you don't have access to hay all the time? I figured hay is a pretty important part of a rabbits diet? It gives them the fiber they need and also helps keep their intestinal tract intact, preventing GI Stasis. I'm not botching your method or anything, just wondering.
     
  5. ShellyBear

    ShellyBear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for your guys help! I was curious though. . .don't all rabbits need hay in order to digest foods that's why they need it all the time. I'm no expert but I would think they would need a little at least. . .
    I' now feeding my Rabbit 1/4 a cup and my girl just got bred so now I got some calf mena and they have all the timothy they want. They seem pretty happy!
     
  6. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, rabbits clearly don't need hay for digestion or good health, since I and probably thousands of breeders throughout the country/world raise happy, healthy, and productive rabbits on just-pellet diets. Except one time when my rabbits picked up a digestive illness virus at a show, they have never gone into stasis or had poorly formed droppings. Pellets do have fiber in them, in addition to all other necessary nutrients.

    With that said, there is nothing wrong with hay. It is especially helpful when rabbits are stressed out, recovering from digestive illness, or being weaned/switched to different foods. The reason I only feed pellets (except during the few instances previously mentioned) is that it is cost effective, not messy, and I haven't seen any ill effects. If I were to begin seeing digestive problems due to not enough hay, I would certainly feed more hay.

    Good luck with your bred doe! I just bred two does yesterday; hopefully they and your Netherland Dwarf have some nice babies.
     
  7. ShellyBear

    ShellyBear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh ok, I understand. Thank you all very much!
     
  8. BirdsNRabbits

    BirdsNRabbits Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck with your rabbits! And hope they have sweet babies.
     

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