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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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Question about raw.

Most of you know we raise meat rabbits for my kitties raw diet. I want to know how much of what I feed my rabbits, effects my kitties? We are in the process of changing rabbit feeds, and I want to consider how it effects my kitties when I choose what brand we go with.

A. No corn in this feed, and I've heard great things about it, but I have to drive over an hour to get it, and we go through alot of feed, so this is a concern. I do like that it has no corn though.

B. A rabbit pellet made by the company that makes my horse feed. My horses do awesome on this brand of feed, minerals are specifically adjusted for our area, but it does have a minimal amount of corn in it, and I have to special order whatever we use, which could end up being a pain.

The rabbit feed we are changing from, we are changing because of the increased amount of corn bits we are finding in the pellets. I just am not pleased with this company, especially considering they keep raising the prices of their feed.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-01-2011, 01:47 PM
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Being that I do not have bunnies currently, but I used to, I googled a little and what I'm seeing is the same as I used to do. Although I am unaware if this is something possible for a herd of meat buns.

We fed a diet consisting mostly of hays and grasses (bought in bales-Timothy Hay, Meadow Hay, and Bermuda Grass.). As well as fresh outdoor "produce" (dandelion leaves are everywhere, as well as wild grasses and such), and stuff bought at farmers markets (collards, beet tops, romaine, leaf lettuces, etc). Their diets were probably 70-80% hay and the rest fresh vegitation. We would rotate what they got, it was never the same veg all the time.

As far as pellets go, we never used them. :S I may try both feeds, and see which your buns do better on then use that as your guidline? Although, in general, anything with corn in it would leave me very hesitant to use this for buns. They just don't need it, and it seems a waste, not to mention potentially unhealthy.

Kelly

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 01:16 PM
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Just from what I know about human allergies, I would say that there would be a connection between what the bunnies eat and the kitties, but it may not be too big a deal depending on other factors. Examples would be the general level of household chemical exposure (carpet glue, flame retardants in newer furniture, cleaners and fragrances, etc), outdoor allergens like plants, pollen, pollution, stress levels in any given situation, genetics, other health factors...

A woman I know is very allergic to soy, for example - and she has had to stop eating supermarket chicken since they are routinely fed large quantities of soymeal. Maybe she'd be okay with locally-raised chickens brought up on some other kinds of grains and such. Also, in the United States at least, nearly all the corn used for livestock is genetically modified (and not labelled as GMO, since we don't require it here!), which scientists think has contributed to a rise in food allergies and low-level inflammation in the (human) population. There is no reason to think that this would not also be an issue for our pets. At the very least, I think that hidden GMOs, pesticides etc. might make susceptible people and animals more prone to illness, or a degree sicker than they would be with a 'cleaner' diet.

All of this is to say that the better the food, the better for the rabbits and anyone who eats the rabbits! And I would think that even half regular (with corn) plus half something better (without) will probably make a difference. I am not a food scientist or anything, but this is an area of huge interest to me...I have spent years learning about the effects of allergens and resulting immune system imbalances in my teenage son and my husband. It has been quite a journey and there is a lot of improvement needed in our food practices and our medical system, in my opinion....

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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VERY interesting information! Thanks so much. I would love to be as natural as possible, and it's a goal of mine I plan to keep at some point!! But, when you are in production, and trying to produce a certain amount of meat in a given time, pelleted feed is the best way to go for commercial use. It also comes down to cage space right now, I need to get weanlings out at 10 weeks, because I've got new kits ready to wean right as those 10 week olds are ready to move out. Three does produced 21 kits yesterday! When I wean, cage space is a hot commodity!

Going all natural is still on the table, and may happen in the future if we can add a bunch more cage space. Feeding a natural diet is going to add on a minimum of two more weeks of growing time, and put me at 12 weeks vs 10 weeks, and it's just not possible right now.

I think the best thing to do is avoid as much "crap" as we can given some of the info you gave me, so I'm going to go with the corn free feed. Thanks again for the info!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-02-2011, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muzby View Post
We fed a diet consisting mostly of hays and grasses (bought in bales-Timothy Hay, Meadow Hay, and Bermuda Grass.). As well as fresh outdoor "produce" (dandelion leaves are everywhere, as well as wild grasses and such), and stuff bought at farmers markets (collards, beet tops, romaine, leaf lettuces, etc). Their diets were probably 70-80% hay and the rest fresh vegitation. We would rotate what they got, it was never the same veg all the time.

As far as pellets go, we never used them. :S I may try both feeds, and see which your buns do better on then use that as your guidline? Although, in general, anything with corn in it would leave me very hesitant to use this for buns. They just don't need it, and it seems a waste, not to mention potentially unhealthy.

Using pellets is the equivalent of feeding cats dry food. The best diet for rabbits is fresh hays and fresh produce. When we had rabbits we fed them mostly all the leftover stuff when we made salads and stuff. All leafy vegetables, which were on sale, etc.

However, since they are feeder rabbits, you have a bit more flexibility. I am assuming it should be the same as feeder chickens though. When you purchase them and they've been fed mostly corn, they have a lot more body fat on them. Overall, they are not as healthy.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-03-2011, 11:11 AM
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I agree with the others who suggest timothy hay and vegetables. Our rabbits only get 1/4 cup EACH of pellets a day as a *treat*.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-03-2011, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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My breeders get pretty much free choice grass hay, I feed just enough a.m. and p.m. that I know they will eat, and not waste.

I'm feeding 75 rabbits, not including the 21 new kits. I can't imagine the storage for produce, especially in winter.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-03-2011, 09:35 PM
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I totally get it for feeder buns. They are not PET buns, although you do take care of them much better than most breeders I've seen!

I just figured I'd throw that out there incase it was a possibility. I would, again, use the cornfree food personally. I'd be happy to be one of your buns, Geri! Even if it meant I had to be eaten later.

Kelly

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-03-2011, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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AC........since we've been doing this ourselves, I know now exactly where Hare Today is cutting corners, and when I got the bad batches from them that I complained about, I now know exactly why they were bad! It takes 10 seconds to pull that fat off. My fryers at processing (young rabbit around 5 lbs) are not that fat, it's usually on the back of the neck where there are two small sections of fat, and then some in around the organs and such, which literally takes seconds to remove.

When I talked to Hare Today, the admitted they add their culls into the grinds, they don't separate. Culls, are older rabbits that aren't producing at acceptable levels anymore. They have a much different smell, and flavor...........I know, we eat our rabbits too. They are also loaded with much much more fat than a fryer. We had a cull we just processed today, and the amount of fat she has was spread more over the whole body, and much much more in around the stomach.



Thanks Kelly! I do love my rabbits. I touch, pet, and talk to each of my breeders every time I feed. They get used to the attention, and enjoy it. All of my bucks now come to the cage door for kisses, and to tickle my nose with their whiskers.

Definitely going corn free!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-03-2011, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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A.C. I think people here know me better than that, and that I would never be that critical to someone who works hard to give kitties the best feed they can. I think you totally misunderstood my post. Sorry if I confused you with my wording. I was speaking only in regards to the poor quality coming from Hare Today........I used to buy from them too, and was so mad at the quality I was getting from them. They should not be sending out quality like that, and only meant to point out they should be pulling that fat off the products before sending to a customer, that it would literally only take them seconds to do so.

Thank you for the info you posted, I really appreciate it.
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