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Balanced Rabbit Forage

 
Charlei Scott
Posts: 32
Location: Tampa, FL (USDA 9b)
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I live in Tampa, zone 9b.
Trying to get my rabbits on a mostly forage/garden based diet. Anyone have diet balance needs to go off?

Protein needs? Etc.?

I'm pretty well covered on what's safe and not safe for them to eat and can look up nutritional values of different crops and wild plants we have available, but need to make their bundles of green goodies as balanced as possible.

Any help would be appreciated.

Also what specifically needs to change when a doe is nursing diet-wise? More protein? More of certain vitamins? T

Thank you.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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I'm interested in this as well. I know they do need proteins, for instance grass with seeds is better than grass blades only. I'd like to be sure to give them the proper balance. I have lots of parsnips in the ground, but I wonder how much is good and how to find a balance.

I don't want to feed my rabbits only pellets but in the winter I will need to give them some as a supplement. Unfortunately the only rabbit food at our local seed and feed is likely all GMO. If anyone knows of a non GMO rabbit feed, I'd also like to know about that.
 
Charlei Scott
Posts: 32
Location: Tampa, FL (USDA 9b)
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Countryside sells organic feed for rabbits. Some co-ops will carry it but its about $40 for a $50 bag. Not something I can manage on a regular basis.
 
Charlei Scott
Posts: 32
Location: Tampa, FL (USDA 9b)
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According to this there were studies done in Uganda where Tithonia diversifolia (mexican sunflower) was the sole feed for rabbits successfully, but I don't know enough about nutrient content.

http://www.feedipedia.org/node/15645

I also heard from someone at an event taking place at H.E.A.R.T. in Lake Wales, FL that they had heard of people feeding exclusively water spinach (considered invasive in water ways, but grows well and is also edible for humans in contained systems) and being quite healthy.

Not really looking to have one plant as a sole feed, just don't want to give too much of some vitamins, nutrients, etc. that might cause any health issues for the rabbits - hairballs, ulcers, eye problems, and so on. I know sometimes improper diet can lead to GI Stasis which is almost always fatal because by the time you realize they have it, they're too malnourished and sick to bring back from it.

Feedback?
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
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there really is no set perfect forage diet. different areas cant grow certain things and even if you pick ten spots that can all grow the same ten plants, each area is going to have different results in how well the plants do and the actual nutrient content of the same plants at each location.

that said, there is a lady on another forum (I know bad me for linkin to other forums! ) but she does a small colony and mostly forage feeding (what isn't forage is grains, mainly winter time) and is quite successful with it.
here is a link for a thread full of home recipes for rabbit feeds (mostly grain mixes) : http://rabbittalk.com/natural-feed-formula-list-t12371.html

and here is a link for what I've found the most helpful rabbit safe plants list: http://rabbittalk.com/safe-plants-for-rabbits-list-t55.html

good site for working out protein calculations (don't ask me about it I just found it. this is a bit over my head in language and what I understand at the moment. BUT rabbits need 16-18% protein feed) http://www.lionsgrip.com/protein.html

best of luck!
 
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