Four Frequently Asked Questions about Calf-Manna for Rabbits

Mar 01, 2021

Calf-Manna has been fed to many species on the farm and in the barn during its 80-year history. It has become a go-to solution for many rabbit breeders, helping to solve a wide variety of problems and get their show bunnies ready to do their thing. A quick internet search reveals a great deal of interest in Calf-Manna by rabbit owners.
Here are the four common questions and concerns among rabbit owners who are considering using Calf-Manna for their rabbits: 
  1. What is the proper feeding rate for a rabbit?
Most of the species who are fed Calf-Manna are much larger than a rabbit, so in most cases we are measuring the product in pounds rather than teaspoons or tablespoons and for the larger stock. If you give a little too much or a little too little to larger animals, there won’t be any issues. Rabbits, however, because of their size, will need to be fed with more precision.
There are many sizes and breeds of rabbit as well as differences in age. Our feeding directions (1 tablespoon for lactating does and large breeds and 1 teaspoon for growing rabbits and small breeds) should be considered the maximum rates, and can be adjusted based on breed, age, and production level. Calf-Manna is available in 10-pound, 25-pound, and 50-pound bags—perfect for any size rabbitry.
  1. Can feeding Calf-Manna cause soft feces in my rabbits?
Soft feces are a sign of improper digestion. Two of the primary causes of this digestive upset are a low feed fiber rate or pathogenic organisms. Calf-Manna is not intended as a supplemental fiber source. Hay, preferably grass hay, is commonly used by rabbit breeders to increase fiber and reduce soft feces. As the primary source of fiber, the main rabbit feed used should contain a sufficiently high fiber level.
  1. How should I feed Calf-Manna?
You may be asking, “Should I top-dress Calf-Manna, mix it in with the feed, or feed it separately?” You may have heard that if you feed it with your regular ration, the rabbits will sift for it and you’ll end up wasting a lot of feed. Calf-Manna contains several ingredients that rabbits (and most other animals) love. It is normal for rabbits to prefer a limited amount of Calf-Manna to “all they can eat” of their regular feed. If you feel you are wasting Calf-Manna when providing it along with a regular ration, a separate feeding may be necessary.
  1. Is there a place for Calf-Manna in a regular “maintenance” rabbit diet?
Should it be used only for lactating does, before a show, and in “special circumstances? Calf-Manna is fed to every type, breed, and age of rabbit. Competitive rabbit breeders are resourceful in the ways they use Calf-Manna. It can be used to improve hair quality and/or volume, maximize gains, increase milk production, prep for a show, get rabbits back on feed when they are stressed, or just as a treat.
Stay within the feeding guidelines mentioned above and see the difference with your rabbits!
To learn more about feeding rabbits, stop by your local Co-op. Find the location nearest you here.

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