Rabbits in Your Garden, or a Garden for Your Rabbits

| 1/14/2010 10:11:59 AM

Bennett headshotI can’t blame it all on wild rabbits. There were raccoons, woodchucks, possums, skunks, mice, moles, voles, deer, crows and who knows what else, but my garden last year fed critters more than me, and I am fed up. So this year my garden is going to help feed my domestic rabbits and cut my feed costs. You can grow feed for your domestic rabbits, too, and here are some ways to do it.

First, and very easy, there are mangel beets. I have grown the large red roots in the past but a friend says the Golden Eckendorf variety is even better. You plant them early in the spring. About 110 days later you can dig them out and store them for winter feed. Rabbits love them, especially if their water freezes up in winter.

Storey Guide to Rabbits

Also a cinch to grow is oats – and boy, do rabbits love oats. Back before there were rabbit pellets, oats made up the majority of many rabbits’ diets. One feed mixture included six quarts of oats to a quart each of wheat, sunflower seeds, barley and corn. You can grow them all.

Plant oats in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked in a preferably loamy soil. They will germinate even if the soil is cold. Try broadcasting them like grass seed in broad bands, a foot or so wide. Just rake the seeds in a couple of inches deep. You can get the seed from a seed catalog (Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Jung’s are good ones) or from a farm supply store. At harvest time, cut the oats with a sickle and if you wish you can thresh them by flailing inside a large metal garbage can, or you can just dry the straw, seed heads and all, and feed it that way. You can do just about the same thing with wheat, but it’s easy to just pick the seed heads and feed them that way.

Barley, buckwheat and rye are easy to grow, too, and of course there is alfalfa.

1/14/2010 2:26:04 PM

Bob, What a great idea growing your own feed -your rabbits will love it I'm sure. Sounds like though you'll be busy with making a fence though for the wild ones! Welcome to Grit vickie