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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?

Comments

Sue Jones 11/01/2012, 5:51:08 PM

i swear by calf manna.I use it in all my finishing feed and even hand feed a few everyday to my new moms.does a great job on all my show rabbits and results from shows prove it

Mary 11/15/2012, 5:51:30 PM

Excellent article, thank you MannaPro! 
We love Calf-manna.....and so do our bunnies.

Jana Smithmyer 05/28/2015, 5:51:53 PM

We give a TBSP of calf manna/oats/barley mixture to all of our rabbits daily. Our rabbits love it so we use it as a top coat for feeding. We just started selling our babies for 4-H roasters and have had numerous 4-H ers comment on how firm the babies feel. The great thing about rabbits is that a little goes a long way.

Cheryl demas 10/13/2015, 5:52:18 PM

i use calf manna as a top dressing with safflower,oatmeal,and sunflower seeds

joel huebner 10/29/2015, 5:52:40 PM

Been chasing bunnies 45+ years...the last 15 Manna Pro Gro is preferred! Flemish Giants, Giant Angora, French Angora, Satin Angora, American Fuzzy Lops. All GIANT or woolly breeds needing the 18% protein boost. Calf Manna always part of my secret recipe top dressing supplement. The big does with litters of 6-12, need all the help they can get!

marfude arshad 04/12/2016, 5:53:20 PM

Please help!!! So i got 2 baby bunnies and apparently they were 4 weeks old. One is growing fine and one isnt growing. Will this help my bunny grow and catch up to where she is supposed to be. PLEASE RESPOND ASAP

Dave Waldman 04/13/2016, 5:53:46 PM

Thank you for contacting Manna Pro. Calf Manna is a great nutritional supplement to add to your rabbits feed to help with growth. Because of the age of your rabbit you need to use sparingly. I would start with just a few pellets a day, and eventually work up to a teaspoon over the course of a few weeks.

Tammy Brewer 07/26/2016, 5:54:11 PM

If the bag says 1tsp per young rabbit, at what age is it safe to start, & if they are still in cage together (6) weeks old how much should I add? There are 6 babies so 6tsp?

Dave Waldman 07/26/2016, 5:54:36 PM

Yes, your rabbits can start to consume Calf Manna now. Since they are so young you need to start with a small amount. I would start with half of a tsp per rabbit, so you would feed only 3 tsps daily for all 6. Once they get older(about 12 weeks old) you can begin to increase the amount to 1 tsp daily per rabbit. Group feeding can be challenging as the dominate rabbit can consume more than the others, and the smaller ones might not get any. You should monitor the rabbits' intake as best as possible.

Laura Dykstra 08/12/2016, 5:55:03 PM

In rabbits experiencing heat stress or not eating during hot periods, could Calf Manna help to get them back on their feed? We've lost a few of our breeding adults this summer, when they just stop eating altogether.

Dave Waldman 08/15/2016, 5:55:25 PM

Calf Manna could help keep them on feed, but use sparingly. Important to control heat stress with fans, frozen water bottles to lay by, etc.

Andrea Carr 08/17/2016, 5:55:45 PM

Hello! I am very new with rabbits and my adopted rabbit SURPRISE gave me a litter of three! I just received my Calf Manna today. The kits are three weeks old, there are three of them, they are eating Timothy Hay, Alfalfa Hay plus still nursing. I want to add this for extra nutrition. Any tips would be so greatly appreciated for the babies and my young mama!!

Dave Waldman 08/20/2016, 5:56:04 PM

Start by giving some to the doe. It will help with milk production and maintaining herself. VERY IMPORTANTLY, feed Calf-Manna sparingly. Just a teaspoon per day to start.

Once the kits start eating dry feed well, you can add some Calf-Manna to their feed. Start with just a few pellets per day. Again, it’s critical that Calf-Manna be fed to small quantities.

Catherine Malone 12/28/2016, 5:57:23 PM

Thank you everyone that gave comments. We adopted 2 Lop bunnies and are also getting English Angora next week. The Lops are 2yro but EA is only 9wks. They're on Oxbow but he's on Mana Gro. I have been wondering about options that can accommodate growing EAs wool production and Lops needs. We are very new to raising bunnies (I've always had cats) but want to provide best nutrition possible

Jessica Winns 01/04/2017, 5:57:49 PM

My Holland Lop Bunny Loves Calf Manna, but I think she likes it too much and she will not eat her regular food. She sifts out all the other pellets. Do you have any regular food that tastes as good as the supplement. She probably eats 1/3 cup of calf manna a day and I'm afraid this is going to really hurt her. I don't know what to do any advice would be greatly appreciated

Dave Waldman 01/05/2017, 5:58:09 PM

Try feeding any of the Select Series line (Pro, Gro, or Sho) or Small World Rabbit as the base diet.

It’s common for rabbits to eat Calf-Manna preferentially. When that happens, Calf-Manna should be withheld so they’re encouraged to eat their base diet, or fed in very small quantities (a few pellets).

Calf-Manna is an excellent supplement for rabbits, but overconsumption puts them at risk for digestive upset.

Bonnie Walters 11/03/2017, 5:59:11 PM

does calf manna have too much calcium to feed to an older rabbit 4-5yrs old. she seems to have a UTI/bladder infection and I'm giving her dandelion greens but they said hi calcium is not good for older rabbits

Dave Waldman 11/05/2017, 5:59:38 PM

Calcium in Calf-Manna is suitable for an aged rabbit.

It’s not particularly high, plus, Calf-Manna should be fed in very small amounts to rabbits. One teaspoon daily is a good starting point. Great supplement, but must be fed sparingly.

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