12 week old bunny diet

My bunny is 12 weeks old and is a dwarf lop x Netherland.

Right now I'm giving her unlimited pellets, fresh veggies and a bit of fruit in the morning and a handful weeds and grass around tea time. Is this right and ok? And when shall I cut down her pellets? I heard it was when they stop growing and to give them about 1/2 cup (which I'll give to her when the weeds go in) when will she stop growing?

P.S. I want to get this right because in about 3 months time I'm going to be breeding her with a friends rabbit for a school project and believe me, I've done my research and looked at nearly every site I could find! But will this diet be ok for mum and kits or do I need to change it??
Thanks :)

***** Karen Sez *****
There are lots of ways to feed bunnies. You're doing a great job for a growing rabbit.

To add to your info: We hesitate to give people-food to our rabbits. In my barn, we give pellets, grass hay, weeds and grass, twigs from safe trees, and the trimmings from the vegetable garden, say carrot tops, and undersized or marred veggies. No apples. No bananas. An occasional carrot.

Fruit is a sure way to an obese pet, though you did specify you only give a 'bit.'

Dwarf rabbits typically begin arriving at their adult size somewhere around 5 - 5 1/2 months of age. The minute you find more leftover pellets than usual, that is the point to begin feeding a lot less. In fact, 1/2 cup might be enough pellets if that was ALL you were feeding.

You don't want to leave food in front of an adult rabbit 24/7. That is very unhealthy and could lead to diarrhea. If it's not cleaned up in an hour's time, take it away till the next day.

When you've bred your rabbit and she kindles the babies, that is the time to add an extra source of fat to the doe's rations. Black oil sunflower seeds is a great way to do this.

Another way is to coat a few cups of pellets in a couple teaspoons of wheat germ oil. Lactating does should be free-fed pellets. Keep the oil-coated pellets in the freezer so the oil doesn't go rancid.

Hope this helps. Let us know if you need any clarification.

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Mar 03, 2012
Jr diets
by: Anonymous

I have Angoras and the breeder that I started out getting from told me no treats before 6 months. I've stuck with it religiously because she had 22 years (now 28 years) experience so I figure she knows more than me.

I give my Jrs... unlimited pellets (16%), hay once or twice a day depending on whether they clean it up or not, and oats or oat groats in their pellets. NOTHING else till they are 6 months old.

Spirit of Shenandoah Angoras
Byron, GA

***** Karen Sez *****
Becca, thanks. I highly respect breeders with a bazillion years' experience. But, whatever the doe can eat, so can the kits, in my experience. I've raised litters on no pellets and just yard and garden cuttings and whole oats. These kits were hopping out of the nest box head first into piles of fresh (pesticide-free) green stuff. If the carb load is low and the fiber load is high, there is no problem whatsoever.

As far as I can tell, the problem comes about when litters (and young pet rabbits) have high-quality pelleted feed in front of them 24/7 AND they are given TOO MANY sweet treats such as apples and bananas. Additionally, when people give green stuff out of the kitchen, can anyone say definitively whether it was the greens or the pesticides all over the veggies that caused the problem?

IMO, IF one thinks they have to (or want to) give lots of fresh stuff to young rabbits frequently, I would ensure that hay is also available, that pellets become a supplement rather than the mainstay of the diet, and that the greens are introduced slowly to the bunnies. (Now you open up the possibility of an unbalanced ration....)

It's a lot safer to lay down the law and say no fresh stuff till 6 months old, and really, because commercial feed is so adequate, rabbits actually do *best* on the diet you prescribed. And so does my herd because we feed them almost exactly as you described. We don't give treats very often, not because we shouldn't, but because the pellets and hay that they get meet their nutritional needs.

I hate laying down any laws, since this is a free country. Folks are free to feed greens to their bunnies, especially if they can't afford the pellets. This website is designed to help folks do this as safely as possible.

Mar 02, 2012
Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you very much, this helped a lot. :)

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