Graeme Harris - Highthorpe Farm, Tasmania
GR100 Trial with Rabbits
"Farmed rabbits are grown for their meat and we trialled fodder to test for increased weight gain in a shorter period of time.
Rabbits take very well to sprouting fodder. Our trials showed them consuming all the fodder given to them by the 2nd day.
On average a Doe has 10-12 sets of babies per year, with an average of 6-8 babies per set dependant on the age of the doe, although to be viable we need to produce 8 kits per set."
"We have 90 breeding does with a weaned kittens population of 250 at various ages. We found that the sprouting fodder gave the mothers more milk for the young which gave them a really good start. When the young were taken off their mother they were given sprouting fodder and some hay.
In addition the mothers were given additional sprouting fodder when the young were taken away to help recovery times.
The results were better than we had expected.
Normally our rabbits weigh between 2-2.5kg live weight and 1-1.5kg carcass weight at 14 weeks. After feeding sprouting fodder the rabbits took only 12 weeks to reach this weight.
In addition when previously feeding pellets to the rabbits it would cost $760 to feed 50 does and 70 kittens for 3 weeks. We now feed 90 does and 250 kittens for the same price.
However the real surprise was the increase in birth rates. As stated previously a set of babies is normally 6-8 kittens. After being fed fodder this average increased to 8-12 per set with one mother giving birth to 15."
- Graeme Harris
• More eggs
• Larger eggs
• Deep yellow yolk
Trials in Tasmania have shown that when fed fodder, 20 x 1 year old free range chickens increased their egg laying by a total of 5 per day to 15 per day within 3 weeks of being introduced to the fodder.
In addition the yolks were noticeable a deeper yellow.
These trials are continuing but showing good results to date.