Monday, June 2, 2008

Feeding, Fur & Condition

I plan to put informative posts up on here fairly regularly once things settle down here . . . so hopefully this fall/winter, Lord willing :). But, I had someone email me asking me some questions about fur condition and what I do for the buns, so I thought it would be beneficial to share on the blog:

With my babies, I free feed them oatmeal from the time they are 3 weeks old. As they are juniors, I give them oatmeal every few days or so. I’ve found feeding the babies oatmeal really helps with their condition (fur and body). I noticed a huge difference between the babies I had that I didn’t free feed oats and the babies I free-fed oats, when I first started doing this about 4 ½ years ago or so.

I don’t give my buns any kind of particular supplement, like the cage suppliers sell. I do like to give them something in the evenings (just ‘cuz I like to spoil them J), so I give them either hay (Bermuda grass hay is what I feed), black oil sunflower seeds (just a pinch), barley (like 1/8 cup), or oats (1/4-1/2 cup), or pumpkin seeds (just a pinch – these are good for a worming preventative). Some days I don’t give anything (at least twice a week, they don’t get anything in the evening).

We’re in the CA high desert, so the weather can get really hot and really cold here too. The last few weeks have been insane in the temps – 100 degrees about 2 weeks ago, then dropped down to the 50’s and we had rain, now it’s in the high 70’s to 80’s with some windy days and some not windy days.

Yes, the temperature really does have a lot to do with the fur quality. Thankfully the strange weather we have had lately has not affected by bunnies coats at all – they haven’t even started blowing their coats amazingly!

When the weather is going nuts, especially when it suddenly cools down again, I try to make sure I give the buns oats, hay or barley in the evening, since that helps them warm up and gives them something to do. I also make sure they have toys in their cages to play with, to keep them moving.

When it is very windy, especially when the temp is cold too, I keep the barn shut up (except for the windows at the top of the barn for air flow), so that the buns don’t get a big cold draft.

My barn isn’t a steady temperature, but when it is hot, it stays about 15-20 degrees cooler (I use misters). When it is cold my barn stays around 50-55 (depending on how cold it is), unless the outside temp is below freezing or in the 20’s, then the barn temp may get down to 38.

I really think a good feed has a lot to do with fur quality. The weather does greatly affect that too, but I am just so surprised that my buns have held their condition this whole winter and the past few months despite the crazy weather we’ve had.

~ Qadoshyah