This past year, my rabbitry has grown tremendously, and I’ve actually minimized my herd recently, keeping only those that mean the most to my breeding program. I do not breed through the hot weather months anymore because I feel its too hard on them. I currently have 3 bucks and 10 does in my breeding program. Most are Rex but I have begun Flemish giant again.
Currently, my breeding program is a relaxed one. I started out with an intense breeding program. I bred to try for 8 litters a year per doe. I am not so sure that I will pick back up on this level of intensity, but it allowed growth at a faster rate.
Breeding for 8 litters per year a tight program. I re-bred just 14 days after each doe kindled. You can imagine the toll it could take on these girls if they didn’t get an increase in the nutritional value of their feed. We have a doe that has been our best mama. She has had 4 litters back to back and she is beginning to thin down and lose some condition. It is important we stay tuned into them and adjust their feed accordingly.
Online, you will read so many opinions, and different methods of feeding that it can be confusing. What I have come to discover is that your way, according to your own situation is the right way as long as your rabbits are healthy and productive.
My way of feeding changed from the way I began because my production level has changed and my girls work hard. I have learned a lot in this venture, and I’ll explain what I have found works for me when breeding is increased.
Any feed supply stores should have the things listed below. Tractor supply, local farmers Co-op, Grain mills, and even farmers may offer some or all of these feeds in larger quantity than what you would find at stores such as Walmart.
In my area, my feed stores only offer a 16% protein pellet. If you can find 17% or 18%, you should try to get that if you pellet feed.
While each person is different in their choice and situation, some rabbiteers choose to free feed their entire herd pellets. That has been my route to feeding since I began, and I have decided it is time to increase the quality for our does and grow outs.
My cost: $12.00 for 50 pound bag at my local farmers co-op.
Offering free feed hay is also quite necessary regardless of the methods of feeding, as the rabbits need this for both nutrition as well as gut health. Grass hay is fine if that is whats available to you, or you can feed timothy or alfalfa hay. There are probably several varieties of hay you could safely choose from, and they would do if that’s all that was available…so long as they have some! Check with local farms first and you should be able to get good hay fairly cheap.
My cost: Round bale lower quality mixed grass hay $35.00…I am not happy with that though so, I would like to switch to smaller bales at the local feed store for $4.00-$6.00 each and use this round bale for bedding.