Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weather and Feed Update

We made it through the first part of the disgusting weather. Our pipes under the house broke about a week ago, my dad fixed it so we have water for the house, but we are still hauling it out to the barns. A chore, but until it warms up some more, nothing's going to get done. It started raining today, which is appreciated after all the ice and snow we got!

I got my Fibre 3 feed on Friday. I only got 3 of the 5 bags because it's such a popular feed, that's all they had left for a small town feed store in a small town. But already, I am happy. I am taking half a bag up to Corvallis with me for Roxy, since that's what she's been eating, and the other 2 bags will be used for my show string, which I have already started them on. So far, everyone is eating well. I asked for advice on it from breeders who switched, and furthermore, there has been a lot of discussion about feed changing/feeds on the District/State groups and so today, Roger H posted this which I thought was pretty intelligent, so I am quoting directly.

"I have been reading the periodic feed discussions on the Reporter with some interest. I am a little surprised at the reports of frequent feed changes. I just changed feeds, which I am loathe to do because of the impact it has on my herd. In 35 years of raising rabbits, I think I have only used 6 different feeds. Two of the changes were driven by moves that resulted in not being able to purchase the previous feed locally and two of the changes were the result of poor feed performance proven over fairly lengthy trial periods. I don't like changing feeds especially for two reasons. First, change inevitably results in moult, so the timing of the change has to be right if you are breeding for specific or national competitions. Second, we eventually cull our herds to the feed--because we keep the animals that do well on that feed and cull the ones that don't. That process takes a good deal of time and changing feeds upsets that process. All feeds have commonalities so a change is not like starting from scratch, but feeds have different formulas and the nuances can effect conception, the timing of fur finish and so on.I recently changed to Fibre 3 Purina feed because of the promise of higher fibre and no corn, reflecting the research done by Patton, Cheek and crew at OSU in the 80's that diets with higher fibre and no corn result in reductions of enteritus and intestinal upset. I also like the claim on the feed tag of higher fat for fur finish. Some folks have asked me how the change is going and all I can tell after two months is that they eat it and nothing bad has happened. It will take the better part of the next full year to evaluate conception rates, growth, flesh development, fur finish and general vigor. It will take that long because those things are effected by so many variables other than feed---the season, temperature and/or consistent temperature, water and water quality, genetics, natural mothering ability, etc. Short of obviously bad feed (mold, discoloring, etc.) or feed that tests bad in a lab setting, it takes quite a long time to determine if a feed is working.All of which leads me back to being surprised that some folks change feeds so often. -- Roger Hassenpflug"

1 comment:

Qadoshyah said...

I definitely agree with Roger. That is amazing he has only switched feed 6 times in 35 years. I hate changing feed. I only did so because we moved out of Cali and I was forced to change feeds. Otherwise, I so would not have!