From time to time, I’ve been sharing our experiences raising rabbits. A kind commenter recently asked me questions about what I would do without commercial feed. I thought her concerns were very valid and thought I should share what I have learned.
It is certainly very convenient to buy prepared pellets to feed our various animals. The companies that produce them have probably put some time and money into researching what components produce the healthiest combinations of food so they can edge out their competition. In an ideal world, I would save myself time and use them to raise our rabbits with some fresh food added in. But, how would I feed them if I could no longer buy those pellets? Could I still raise them successfully?
It must be possible. People have been doing it since before there were commercial feeds available. Rabbits in the wild get by alright (and thrive in most people’s gardens!). Kids used to collect “rabbit food” on their way home from school during the Depression. What I will need to know then is what a rabbit’s natural diet would look like.
Good Online Resources
This first one is written by vets. In addition to explaining what are the best foods for rabbits, they discuss some health aspects related to diet. They mention the need for rabbits to wear down their ever-growing teeth and provide a list of recommended vegetables for rabbits. I can use this info to plan my garden knowing that I will need to set some aside to feed them. Fresh food is good for everyone, so I would try to mulch carrots in the ground, grow winter hardy greens during the winter, and so on. There will be plenty during the summer- it will be the other seasons I will need to plan for.
This one is written by a rabbit owner in consultation with a vet and even gives information about each stage of digestion and why the nutrients are important. They actually have a dim view of commercial feed.
This one is written by a Ph.D and gives her opinion about what should constitute a good diet. It also looks like good information. Note however, that she advocates keeping the “bunnies” (a.k.a pets) indoors . I would imagine that she is not too concerned with “production” like a preparedness-minded person would be. I would use this info in conjunction with the above sites.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, it is important to have printed copies of important information in case the internet or electricity should fail. For this reason, I have copied and pasted the text into “documents,” saved them, printed them, and added them to our preparedness notebook.
For those of you who keep rabbits, do you have any experience mixing your own feed or using seasonal forage for your animals? If so, please share in the comments section.