Self feed or not


Flock Mistress
14 Years
Jan 12, 2007
Land of Lincoln
I am concerned about teeth problems in rabbits and chinchillas that has been increasing over the years by my U of I vets and my own pet vet. Too many people are feeding them pellets and cubes instead of hay and pellets for their teeth and health care. Too many rabbits and chins are having cheek teeth growing outward into their sinuses and causing sores inside cheek flesh. We had to put one down because she was fed on pellets and cubes, no loose hay flakes.

Many breeders told me they never had that issue with their rabbits. They fed them pellets, no hay or pellets and hay cubes but very few ever use loose hay. They say it is due to genetics. I am skeptical about that since rabbits' teeth continue to grow unless the pellets got powered rocks to be able to grind their teeth in good shape.

I'm having problems finding grass hay of good quality. Timothy is very very limited. Grass hay is not of good quality around here. Clover and alfalfa were in very good condition in their first and second cut but third cut is fair.

It would be nice to feed rabbits solely on pellets, due to easy feedings and limited storage space. However I like to feed them hay to keep them from getting bored and "something to do". They are naturally grazing animals.

My purpose for them is to raise meats, fur, 4H/FFA projects and sometimes a good exhibition rabbit now and then for the serious breeders/exhibitors. I already got some pedigreed buck of well known breeder here in IL and looking for more does of very good quality.

I am planning on feeding them on Purina Rabbit Chow (if I can find them in non corn ingredients) or MannaPro. We had rabbits before for 4H, fed them Purina Chow and some alfalfa/grass mixed hay (shared with horses in bales). That is back in late 80s to very early 90s.

So what you all feed yours?
I feed hay and LOTS of it. Pellets make up a minimal portion of their diet for lots of extra calories (for breeding and growing) and trace minerals. For teeth I feed rose, blackberry and mulberry branches, as well as woody weeds like queen anne's lack and sow thistles root and all. They eat the whole plants. I also keep toys in the cages. Something as simple as a cardboard box big enough to hide in can make a huge difference to their quality of life. A little goes a long way with rabbits.

I also feed some supplements; some cracked corn in the winter, alfalfa cubes, lots of greens and grasses.

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