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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just bought several rabbit cages plus some equipment. Rabbits when I get set up. Eventually I would like to be totally self sufficient in rabbit feed but until I get to that point, does anyone store rabbit pellets on a longer term basis? Does it get moldy or deteriorate substantially in quality after a couple of years of being stockpiled? Corn is my easiest grain to grow and harvest and do rabbits do well on corn? Other grains? I've grown oats and wheat for deer attractant but have never harvested it. I am thinking maybe just cut the oat heads off without trying to thresh it to feed them. Will that work? How much grain do they need?

I grow hay and some clover so should be able to supply that end with no problem.


Hey, does ANYBODY out there feed rabbits homegrown grain?? I'm thinking one of these days processed pellets might not be available..?
 

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I just bought several rabbit cages plus some equipment. Rabbits when I get set up. Eventually I would like to be totally self sufficient in rabbit feed but until I get to that point, does anyone store rabbit pellets on a longer term basis? Does it get moldy or deteriorate substantially in quality after a couple of years of being stockpiled? Corn is my easiest grain to grow and harvest and do rabbits do well on corn? Other grains? I've grown oats and wheat for deer attractant but have never harvested it. I am thinking maybe just cut the oat heads off without trying to thresh it to feed them. Will that work? How much grain do they need?

I grow hay and some clover so should be able to supply that end with no problem.


Hey, does ANYBODY out there feed rabbits homegrown grain?? I'm thinking one of these days processed pellets might not be available..?
Never grown stuff to feed rabbits but naturally they eat roots and woody plants so you could supplement whatever you gave them with potato and carrot leftovers. Willow branches and leaves they love to chew on, but watch out for trees like yew which can call yew (lol, you).:D:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Never grown stuff to feed rabbits but naturally they eat roots and woody plants so you could supplement whatever you gave them with potato and carrot leftovers. Willow branches and leaves they love to chew on, but watch out for trees like yew which can call yew (lol, you).:D:

Thanks. Surely there are people out there feeding their rabbits some homegrown grain..? What works and what doesn't? If we are thinking of a long term disruption, pellets may not always be available. Even if they are I'd eventually like to grow my own feed. What is in pellets besides alfalfa? How are they made? I've tried raising alfalfa on my own and have not had real good luck. My mountain ground is likely borderline and although the alfafa itself grows fairly well the weeds are at least 50% or more (which might suit the rabbits OK) and alfalfa is not a crop conducive to weed pulling. I don't choose to use weed killers and I can grow clover and hay without spraying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just looked it up and there's a lot of mention of oats. In the stuff I buy I its got crushed corn and peas in to supplement the oats.

Thanks Wolfie. At least I suspect my corn won't hurt them. I hadn't thought about peas.

Uhh I guess not any prepper out there is feeding any home grown grains? Just toss them a few greens and hay and buy pellets every week or so. Don't stock a long term supply? They'll always be available and cheap?

I tried rabbit and rabbit feed on search and got hundreds of threads for this and not one I was able to labor through, with dozens of posts each, and none answered anything about feeding home grown grain. Most not even anything to do with the subject.
 

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I think it's four rabbits to a sheep if you're feeding them hay or grass. People don't feed rabbits on just fresh feed because it takes too much. I mean bulk. Takes too much bulk.

the feed I have here says extruded pellets made from alfalfa meal, ground oats, ground wheat, rolled barley, soyabean, meal, dehydrated carrots, striped sunflower seeds, rice flour, flaked peas subject to seasonal availability. There are a lot of calories in these things. Therefore they take up a lot less space.
 

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If your library has a copy of "raising small livestock" or "the homesteaders guide to raising small livestock". same book, different releases. lots of home grown recipes for rabbits. It is also online, free to read, but can not find it. I will need to copy some quotes down and search

I use 1/3 oats and 1/3 wheat and round iot off with 1/3 pellets. I feed all they want of timothy hay which is stuffed between cages and suported by a chicken wire shelf. this gives me a feed of about 12% protein. perfect for adult bucks and dry does. when pregnant or nursing, I add a small handfull of (soy) protein pellets and alfalfa hay. We have two healthy litters currently nursing. no peanut babies and babies were good sized.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think it's four rabbits to a sheep if you're feeding them hay or grass. People don't feed rabbits on just fresh feed because it takes too much. I mean bulk. Takes too much bulk.

the feed I have here says extruded pellets made from alfalfa meal, ground oats, ground wheat, rolled barley, soyabean, meal, dehydrated carrots, striped sunflower seeds, rice flour, flaked peas subject to seasonal availability. There are a lot of calories in these things. Therefore they take up a lot less space.
Thank you. This helps. I do not have a problem with bulk as I already store hay. When Wolfie mentioned peas I immediately wondered about soy beans. Corn is by far my easiest grain to harvest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If your library has a copy of "raising small livestock" or "the homesteaders guide to raising small livestock". same book, different releases. lots of home grown recipes for rabbits. It is also online, free to read, but can not find it. I will need to copy some quotes down and search

I use 1/3 oats and 1/3 wheat and round iot off with 1/3 pellets. I feed all they want of timothy hay which is stuffed between cages and suported by a chicken wire shelf. this gives me a feed of about 12% protein. perfect for adult bucks and dry does. when pregnant or nursing, I add a small handfull of (soy) protein pellets and alfalfa hay. We have two healthy litters currently nursing. no peanut babies and babies were good sized.
Good, this is what I am looking for, someone who is already doing it. For true self sufficiency I'd like to be able to produce my own feed. I've been wondering about soy and it was answered above too. The problem with soy is it takes a lot of work to harvest by hand (I'm guessing) and I don't have any real reason (or volume) to invest in machinery. Corn I harvest in a good volume by hand and it serves many purposes.

With my chickens I am self sufficient with except for oyster shells and they are relatively cheap and store indefinately. If they ever became not easily available I would lose egg production likely but since they pretty much free range it would likely be most noticeable in winter (when I really need them). :)

I'm totally inexperienced with rabbits so we'll see how long it takes to be an expert. Oh anybody know about sunflower seeds. I throw these (heads) to the chickens and they thrive (again easy to harvest with a machete). Would this work for rabbits? My resident deer herd loves them. Also other than corn, I do grow some grain but mostly as a cover crop and I always let a patch grow to maturity for possible emergency use. I end up cutting the grain heads off, (just casually, the deer end up with most of them) and throw them to the chickens and they do the threshing. I see no big reason why the rabbits couldn't handle this too..?

I'm going to start off with pellets because that's what is available now but soon I'd like to be feeding them what I grow. The only thing I have stockpiled is corn. The concern I have is that pellets may not always be available. Also from what I am reading, it is about as expensive to raise them this way as to buy them on the market (economics again).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here are some threads on Homesteading Today that might help you. I can't remember if you need to have an account to view these or not:

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=194063

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=211220


These are turning out to be very informative. I haven't nearly gotten through all of it yet but answers many of my questions. It seems some people are feeding all the sunflower plant (like I said the deer really like mine) and some people are feeding corn except one person said her rabbits don't like it well.

Eventually I would think a rabbit tractor would be ideal all summer (anytime except when snow is prevalent). If a person would be able to kill the young ones before winter only the does and buck would have to be wintered. The young could be canned or frozen. I believe that is going to be my biggest hurdle, being able to kill the critters.

For what it is worth, I grow my sunflowers by just broadcasting seed (I just use the bags of seeds that are sold for bird seed) with my seeder (hand crank) on plowed and disked ground and then just lightly disc the seed (so as not to bury it too deeply) and they grow thickly and abundantly. Drought doesn't bother them much and the heads are easy to harvest by hand. By far one of the easiest 'foods' I grow.
 

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I think there would be an economy in growing your own hay, etc. (that was my point, really.)

Grain, not so much.

Perhaps you could trade hay with a local for grain?
 

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plain soy is said to be unpalletable. neads to be made into soy meal or soy (meal) pellets for rabbits to eat it. I forgot you asked about corn. Everything I have read says they will live off of corn... but not thrive. same with grass clippings so you would be better off feeding grass clippings. sunflowers are an excellent protein additive for rabbits. I also collect dandilions and plantains (the weeds not the fruit ;) ) and dry them and store them in old feed bags. I am sure it is not worth my time when I can buy hay at $4 a bale but oh well.

Another plant to consider. I have been spouting off about this one a lot. Jerusalem artichoke aka sunchoke. It is actually a perenial sunflower. people and animals eat its potato like roots and the 10 foot tall stalks make good hay. Both are high in protein. Another adavtage of this plant is for a prepper... it wont be recognized as a food source by most people leaving you free to collect as needed. I have planted a few on propert thats not my own... edges of fields and such. haveing few ferel colonies wont hurt and its native and non invasive. bought mine from gurneys when they had a 50% off coupon.

Comfrey is another perenial worth growing. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/No+homestead+should+be+without+comfrey.-a060114876
I bought mine from ebay. Ducks and chickens love it... some rabbits love it, some, not so much.

Hay was meantioned earlier. look into cover crops for your garden. I plant winter (cereal) rye and in the spring, cut it down for hay and till the rest under. Clover is good cover crop but hard to harvest. I do use clover on my lawn... it will grow where grass often wont do as well. There is a chunk of my yard that is shas so much clover that when I mow I sometimes keep that seperate and dry it for chicken feed in the winter. clover seed can be found iat feed stores and in spoting goods sections.

Just remember, a quick change in bunnies diet can cause the squirts so make sure a bit chunk is constant. for instance... hay and oats, then what ever is in season.

An advatage to grains, even if purchased... besides the economics is that you can keep cheap grains on hand and rotate them out to the animals instead of sealing in mylar. human grade wheat will often cost $1 a pound or more but feed costs 15 cents. I normally wont eat it just in case (I know a farmer that sells to the feed store and he wont eat it because of how he and othetr farmers store it), but if shtf, my herd will be eating grass clippings and such while I eat wheat and barley.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
plain soy is said to be unpalletable. neads to be made into soy meal or soy (meal) pellets for rabbits to eat it. I forgot you asked about corn. Everything I have read says they will live off of corn... but not thrive. same with grass clippings so you would be better off feeding grass clippings. sunflowers are an excellent protein additive for rabbits. I also collect dandilions and plantains (the weeds not the fruit ;) ) and dry them and store them in old feed bags. I am sure it is not worth my time when I can buy hay at $4 a bale but oh well.

Another plant to consider. I have been spouting off about this one a lot. Jerusalem artichoke aka sunchoke. It is actually a perenial sunflower. people and animals eat its potato like roots and the 10 foot tall stalks make good hay. Both are high in protein. Another adavtage of this plant is for a prepper... it wont be recognized as a food source by most people leaving you free to collect as needed. I have planted a few on propert thats not my own... edges of fields and such. haveing few ferel colonies wont hurt and its native and non invasive. bought mine from gurneys when they had a 50% off coupon.

Comfrey is another perenial worth growing. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/No+homestead+should+be+without+comfrey.-a060114876
I bought mine from ebay. Ducks and chickens love it... some rabbits love it, some, not so much.

Hay was meantioned earlier. look into cover crops for your garden. I plant winter (cereal) rye and in the spring, cut it down for hay and till the rest under. Clover is good cover crop but hard to harvest. I do use clover on my lawn... it will grow where grass often wont do as well. There is a chunk of my yard that is shas so much clover that when I mow I sometimes keep that seperate and dry it for chicken feed in the winter. clover seed can be found iat feed stores and in spoting goods sections.

Just remember, a quick change in bunnies diet can cause the squirts so make sure a bit chunk is constant. for instance... hay and oats, then what ever is in season.

An advatage to grains, even if purchased... besides the economics is that you can keep cheap grains on hand and rotate them out to the animals instead of sealing in mylar. human grade wheat will often cost $1 a pound or more but feed costs 15 cents. I normally wont eat it just in case (I know a farmer that sells to the feed store and he wont eat it because of how he and othetr farmers store it), but if shtf, my herd will be eating grass clippings and such while I eat wheat and barley.

I know I have heard some negatives on corn but didn't remember what or where. That's why I asked. Apparently it won't harm them though which was my concern. Also I was wondering about soy beans and I presume a person could grind them for meal but I think I would be better off with oats/corn/wheat for ease of harvest. I do grow artichokes and I do know the deer and ground hogs do like my tame ones. Lots of wild ones around that they don't bother, strange but I guess the cultivated ones have a better flavor/texture. They eat the tops only, which really sets them back but I don't have anything eating the roots, except me :) I have some comfrey but have not been impressed with either cows (in the past) or chickens caring much for it. My neighbor has some goats and rabbits so maybe I'll see if they both like it. Eventually I wouldn't mind having a few goats too.

One thing that impressed me in your post is that the local farmers would not eat the grain they raised. I wonder what they think they are getting back when they buy flour or bread? :) That is one of the biggest reasons I will not spray poisons and hope to eventually raise all the personal food I can. The only real limiting factor I have is there just isn't enough time in the day to "git 'er all done". That and I still choose to play at other things. I find it difficult to choose to be tied down, which all animals will do unless you can get someone to care for them while you are gone. I manage to do this a bit but there is always a conflict between my wanderlust and animal husbandry.
 

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I know I have heard some negatives on corn but didn't remember what or where. That's why I asked. Apparently it won't harm them though which was my concern. Also I was wondering about soy beans and I presume a person could grind them for meal but I think I would be better off with oats/corn/wheat for ease of harvest. I do grow artichokes and I do know the deer and ground hogs do like my tame ones. Lots of wild ones around that they don't bother, strange but I guess the cultivated ones have a better flavor/texture. They eat the tops only, which really sets them back but I don't have anything eating the roots, except me :) I have some comfrey but have not been impressed with either cows (in the past) or chickens caring much for it. My neighbor has some goats and rabbits so maybe I'll see if they both like it. Eventually I wouldn't mind having a few goats too.

One thing that impressed me in your post is that the local farmers would not eat the grain they raised. I wonder what they think they are getting back when they buy flour or bread? :) That is one of the biggest reasons I will not spray poisons and hope to eventually raise all the personal food I can. The only real limiting factor I have is there just isn't enough time in the day to "git 'er all done". That and I still choose to play at other things. I find it difficult to choose to be tied down, which all animals will do unless you can get someone to care for them while you are gone. I manage to do this a bit but there is always a conflict between my wanderlust and animal husbandry.
I think when you make soy meal there is something added in that changes the taste but I dont know. Dont confuse artichokes and jerusalem artichoke.... no relation. It' snopt from Jerusalem either. The reason the farmers dont eat the grain they grow is because they are stored for animal feed in old, dusty (rusty?) feed bins. Its the same kind of grain but not the same stuff as they make into flower.

I know what ya mean about animals tieing you down. My rabbits, chickens and ducks are set up so I can go away for 3 nights without a problem. Longer than that, I have a neighbor come every few days.
 
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