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I saw a Facebook thread the other day that shared how people were taking drastic measures to cut back on feed bills. When you get a little stressed about life it is totally natural to look for cheap rabbit food and options to cut spending. That is actually a good thing. Something congresses should consider… but I digress.
When the world has gone crazy and you feel like you are facing uncertain times don’t make short-term decisions that will have long-term results.
While culling is a part of farm life and I don’t have a problem with it when it is necessary. Don’t do so out of fear. Maybe you are not wanting to get out of raising livestock what happens when you panic and sell off everything but the few that you can’t sell. Then you have to build back from the beginning.
Can you do that? Absolutely. But only do that out of necessity and the need to feed your family. Never do that out of fear of what might happen.
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This post will give you some cheap rabbit food ideas and share the pros and cons of feeding rabbits on things other than a complete rabbit ration.
Do The Math First to Know What rabbit Food Is Cheaper
Before you make a judgment call and assume that one thing is cheaper make sure you prove it out. Most rabbit pellets feed bags are $17-$21 a 50-pound bag. That works out to .34-.42 cense a pound. Most of the things you are going to try and feed your rabbit are going to end up costing you way more than that.
How To Find Affordable Rabbit Feed
NEVER buy rabbit feed from a pet store or even at places like Walmart where they have those 5-10 pound bags of feed that you are paying nearly a dollar for. They are screwing you over and I can not tell you how many people who come to get rabbits from me have no idea that there is such a difference in price.
Make sure to shop around. Right now there is one brand of feed at a local feed store that is charging $29.99 for Mana Pro rabbit food and another that is charging $21 for the same bag. So check around before assuming that all places are charging the same price.
Be Careful About Supplementing With Cheap Rabbit Food
Before I get into some alternative cheap rabbit food ideas and other feed options if you run into the feed store being out or you are in a pinch and need to get through until feed comes in.
I will say I don’t recommend feeding rabbits on only vegetables or homegrown vegetation on the regular because it one, is not sustainable. And two it is a lot harder to get a rabbit the full nurturance it needs. It can be tempting to just feed rabbits on hay long term but the problem is that most hay is around 12% protein and most rabbit pellet feed is 16-18% protein. And by feeding more hay than feed your rabbits are not getting the full balance of nutrition that they need.
Feeding rabbits on other things will get you by when you are in a pinch. But they won’t fill out as well if they are on lower protein.
Grocery Store Or Back Yard Garden Options
If you are at the store, try to get things that have low amounts of water in the vegetable. Also, avoid veggies that can cause large amounts of gas. Bloat is a real problem for rabbits and you don’t want to have to battle that as well. Feeding rosemary is a good alternative to help with that if your rabbit has a firm belly.
Get things like carrots, bananas, sweet potatoes, oats, green beans, apples (take out the seeds).
Rabbit digestion is very sensitive and you need to be careful not to get too crazy at first. Especially if this is just a short-term thing and you will be going back to pellets as soon as you can.
How Much To Feed
Vegetation is going to look like a whole lot more than pellets. So the best thing you can do is go by the weight of how much feed you normally give to your rabbit. If you do not have any feed left then you are just going to have to guess.
But if you have had your rabbit any amount of time you should know how to read their behavior. Start with giving them how much they should clean up in about an hour or so. Then give the same about again in the evening.
They are going to eat a lot more mass of fresh vegetables or hay because they don’t weigh as much as pellets do.
If you are home and they are acting hungry in-between then give them more during the day. There is no right way to do it. Just go with feeding less but more often if your schedule allows to avoid feed waste.
Start Growing Fodder
In short, this means you are sprouting a whole seed to grow fresh grass. You can use any whole grain but most often people use wheat, barley, or oats. I think this is going to be your best option for longer-term feeding because the protein is much higher. It will defiantly be more work for you though.
Fodder made from barley has:
- 15.5% crude protein
- 14.1 crude fiber percentage
A 50-pound bag of seed will 5 to 6 times its weight if you decide to sprout it. You don’t need any dirt. Just chose any container and just cover the bottom of it with seed and add water.
Tips To Sprout The Fodder
I love using shoe/boot trays for this because they are really big and easy to move around. Plus they are deeper than a cookie sheet.
You can also use things like Tupperware containers, buckets, gardening containers, and pot trays. Anything that has at least a 1-inch ridge.
This is also another handy option that is affordable if you like to keep things neat. The trays are less than half the size of boot trays so I think one of these will work if you have 5 or less rabbits (depending on the size of course) where you can also be sprouting seed on rotation.
Steps To Sprout The Fodder
- Take just enough seed to cover the bottom of whatever you are using.
- Add just enough water for the seed to absorb in a few hours. Normally about 1/4-1/2 the amount of water to the seed. You can keep spraying water on later but you don’t want to add so much water you cause the feed to start to rot.
- Keep the seed you are trying to sprout at about 70-degree temperature. If you go to hot you will not get as hight of nutrients.
- Give them about 18hrs of light. If you have less then that its ok. It just might take a little longer to sprout.
How Much Fodder To Feed
For rabbits, you want to feed about 5% of the animal’s body weight. If you have other animals you want to feed the fodder to you can find other livestock ration amounts here.
One of the best things you can do when you are trying to find a way through a hard time whether it is financially or actual resources and supplies are slim is to stay calm. Think before you act and plan for what you will do when the situation rights itself.
Is it easy? Nope. But you have to keep practicing that each and every day. Your animals will sense when you are nervous or afraid and cause behavior issues that you don’t need to deal with on top of the stress.
Psssst…. Tired of your rabbits draining your wallet?
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