4 Frequently Asked Questions about Calf-Manna® for Rabbits

Posted by Laura Hepburn, Thu, Nov 1, 2012

Calf-Manna® has been fed to many (most) species on the farm and in the barn during its 80+-year history and 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. But even a quick Internet search about Calf-Manna for rabbits reveals that many rabbit owners have questions and some level of reservation about using Calf-Manna in the rabbitry.

Here are the four most frequently asked 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 (much) larger than a rabbit, so in most cases we are measuring the product in pounds rather than teaspoons or tablespoons and if you give a little too much or a little too little, there won’t be any issues. Rabbits, however, due to 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.
  2. 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.
  3. How should I feed Calf-Manna? Should I top-dress Calf-Manna, mix it in with the feed or feed it separately? I’ve heard that if I feed it with my regular feed, the rabbits will sift for it and I’ll end up wasting a lot of feed. Calf-Manna contains several ingredients that rabbits (and most other animals) love. While there is no right or wrong way to feed it, it is normal for rabbits to prefer a limited amount of Calf-Manna to “all they can eat” of their regular feed. If feed wastage is an issue when Calf-Manna is fed along with the regular feed, a separate feeding may be necessary.
  4. Is there a place for Calf-Manna in a regular “maintenance” rabbit diet? Or 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 very resourceful in the ways they use Calf-Manna. It can be used to improve hair quality and/or volume, to maximize gains, to increase milk production, to prep for a show, to 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!

What are the most common uses rabbit owners have found for Calf-Manna? 

  • If a doe is not producing enough milk to provide for her litter, Calf-Manna’s quality proteins help increase milk production quickly!
  • If kits are not transitioning to dry feed or rabbits have gone off their feed due to the stress of travel, weather or feed changes, or other environmental factors, Calf-Manna’s unique aroma and palatability attract rabbits to their feed and keep them coming back!
  • If show rabbits are too soft for the ring, Calf-Manna’s high-quality proteins and carbohydrates ensure a firm body condition.
  • If rabbits are displaying poor coat quality, Calf-Manna both increases fur growth and adds sheen and luster to their coat! 

We’d love to hear from you! Have you ever tried Calf-Manna with your rabbits? What was your experience?