Make your own Rabbit Feed!

Here's a rabbit feed to make at home, that the rabbits will really enjoy:

400 g Chopped alfalfa/lucerne hay or cubes, or any other grass or clover hay
150 g All-purpose wheat flour (white) or instant masa meal
100 g any other fibrous ingredient, such as bran from wheat, oat hulls, rolled oats.
Plain or Trace Mineral salt
optional - 1:1 mineral, vegetable oil, molasses.

Using a sawing motion with a cleaver, cut lucerne (alfalfa) hay across the stems to 1 to 2 cm length. If using alfalfa cubes, the material inside is already chopped, just soften cubes in the liquid part of the recipe.

Measure 300 ml water, to this add 45 g molasses, 2 g salt, and 8 g oil, if you are using these extra ingredients. Mix this solution thoroughly.

Put 400 g chopped hay in large bowl. While turning the hay with your hands, slowly add the liquid and 1:1 mineral, mixing thoroughly. Break up any clumps. Squeeze the hay tightly a couple times to make the liquid soak in.

Add the other fibrous ingredient to the wet hay, mixing well.

Then add the flour, in about 5 additions while mixing by hand. Mix until all the flour is invisible. Press down on the mixture, if it comes back up much, you may need maybe 50 ml more water, depends on dryness of hay.

Press the mixture into a flat glass or pottery pan. If possible, press it flat with another pan that fits in the lower pan. The final thickness should be 4 or 5 cm thick.

Place pan with hay mixture in microwave oven and bake for 2.5 minutes at power level 8 in a 700 watt oven. After backing, turn the feed out onto a rack to cool. Break into chunks to put into the cages. In hot climates, the feed can be sun-baked.

There is very little waste from this feed. This recipe makes almost 1 kg of feed, but remember that this is "wet" feed, the normal as-fed air dry weight is the sum of the ingredients less the water, about 635 g.

With average alfalfa, the results on DM would be about CP= 16.6%, TDN= 68%, Ca= 0.9%, P= 0.48%, ADF= 20%, CF= 17.9%. The flour used is (air-dry basis) CP= 13%, carbohydrates= 71%.

If you wish to have a protein supplement, substitute some soya milk for some of the water, or use some soy flour or pea flour. Pea flour also adds starch, so reduce the amount of wheat flour. Other interesting feed mixes can be made using barley flour or corn (masa) flour.

Yes, this feed is using wheat flour, which should be reserved for human consumption, but for now this is the easiest milled grain to obtain that is ground finely enough for rabbits (100% passing 0.3 mm sieve, 40% passing 0.1 mm sieve).

Don't use "whole wheat" flour, the bran has been ground too fine. You may add whole bran separately along with the white flour; bran has an appropriate particle size for the rabbit.

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