Friday, September 25, 2009

What Feed to Use?

Feed is an important subject when it comes to raising rabbits, or any animal for that matter. There are such a wide variety of rabbit feeds available. Some are very cheap, and have lousy ingredients. Other feeds are very expensive and have better ingredients. Then you also have some feeds that are moderately priced, but have good ingredients.

To name a few of the brands that are known throughout the country and are commonly used in the rabbit world . . . Purina, PenPals, Ringmaster, Heinhold, and Manna Pro. Then you also have locally known or milled feeds that are very reputable, like Templeton (CA), Pfaus (WA), and King (CA).

Choosing a good feed to use can be hard to do. Some breeders may have great success with a certain feed and others have terrible results with the same feed. Certain lines may react differently to a certain feed than someone else's line.

It's good to ask breeders what they use and what their results are with it. Sometimes you can get a good idea if a certain brand overall is a quality feed or not. But, then the ultimate test lies with your herd.

There are many factors that play into how a certain feed effects someone's herd. The quality of your water. How often you feed your herd supplements. How often you give your herd hay. How well your herd utilizes the feed ingredients.

When starting a new feed, you have to remember to give the feed adequate time before you really know if it is doing the trick for your herd or not. How much time? Like 5-6 months at least. Although, there are times when you can know right away if the feed is working or not. If the feed is not very fresh and the rabbits turn their nose up to it, I think you can know that isn't going to work!

When I started feeding Fibre3 it took 5 months before I finally said "No more" to that feed. It was plenty of time for me to assess the rabbits condition, how many babies I got in each litter, how the rabbits grew on it, etc.

I hear a lot of people say maybe I should try another feed for a number of reasons. 1) It's new and others have had good results with it, 2) It's cheaper or 3) I just want to try a new feed. Really, you are not doing your herd good if you are constantly switching feed brands. It just wrecks havoc on the rabbits. Any breeder who has been breeding for a decent amount of time knows this. The rabbits blow their coats. Some may go off feed for a short period of time, etc.

If your rabbits are doing well on a particular feed, stick with it. Don't switch feed just to try something new out, just to see what the latest craze is all about. It's not worth the trouble it can cause you.

When I found a good feed that worked with my rabbits I fed that feed for a good 5-6 years and never had a single problem. Since we moved I had to switch feeds and I've done it twice since we moved. Thankfully, I've finally found a good feed and I intend to stay with it unless something happens with the feed.