View Full Version : Mash for Rabbits

19-10-2004, 08:12 PM
I read in an RSPCA rabbit care book today, which was published around the 1980's that you can feed rabbits a type of mash if you mix things like oats and bran and some dry rabbit food with water. Is this right?

19-10-2004, 08:30 PM
Something like that is good for a bun that needs to put on weight or is off its food cos of teeth problems. Porridge is a bit fattening for a perminant diet though.


20-10-2004, 10:50 AM
I was hoping someone would ask this as I keep forgetting to post it.

Does anyone have receipe for which brans to use etc - I've heard that folks give a warm winter mash as a treat :?:

20-10-2004, 11:07 AM
Hiya Lany, (so sorry I have not emailed you proper yet, we have 40 rabbits here and its killing me :roll: :lol: :lol: been up since 6am and I have only made a dent in the work that needs doing so far :? )
I have not read this book I am afraid, but here is my own recipe for a rabbit Winter mash if that is any good?Probably makes enough for one greedy and ravenous rabbit :lol: , or two hungry rabbits :roll: , or three slightly peckish rabbits :P :lol:

I use a tablespoon of bran, add a dessertspoon of oats, plus tablespoon of dried rabbit food (that has had a tablespoon of hot water added to it first, to make it like a thick rabbit soup!) and cooked mashed carrot or pumpkin(! :lol: ), plus a tablespoon hot water .....or for the occasional treat, a weeny bit of mashed potato can be added to the bran, but watch this as it can cause constipation, so perhaps better not to give the rabbit a real taste for the Spud :roll: :lol:

Our poor bunnies never get bran mash these days, because I would need a witches cauldron to out all the ingredients into, and make enough for all the Sanctuary rabbits. I just give it to the frail old bunnies and those that feel the cold more than others.
So Lany, you will be busy cooking up more trouble now then :twisted: ....and we know you only cook that poor Husband of yours beans on toast :twisted: ...bunnies get the best diet around your place :lol: :lol:

20-10-2004, 11:07 AM
I have that book! I always wanted to make that mash for my bunnies as a kid, but never got round to it. The book even has my childlike handwriting in with the bunny's name etc. :oops:

20-10-2004, 11:22 AM
Do you reckon that this could be given to guinea pigs too? (with gp pellets rather than bun) I want to get some weight onto Mallen and this sounds an excellent way to do it.

20-10-2004, 11:22 AM
If its cold I do a 'mash' last thing at night. I base it on porridge (rolled oats not the instant powder) and then depending what else is in the house add shreddies, brain flakes or weetabix and some pellets.

I don't usually add veggies unless its for a sick bun.


20-10-2004, 12:46 PM
:lol: :lol: Thanks for all the ideas folks -

Me feels a JAMIE OLIVER session coming on!! -

20-10-2004, 03:53 PM
Was halfway through posting about this last night, then a friend came round & I had to get offline!

When my sister & I had buns as kids, we often used to give them warm bran mashes in the winter on very cold days.

In those days, you could get most of the ingredients in any pet shop, but nowadays you can only get bran at health food shops (wheat bran is the right kind), and the other ingredients only by the sackful at feed stores. Although, check out Jollye's if you have one nearby, they sell some of the items by the kilo in their bins.

The base would be bran, plus crushed oats (not porridge oats), flaked maize, whole oats, handful of rabbit mix, vegetable peelings, cold cooked potato, all mixed up with the bran to make a crumbly (not sloppy) consistency. They loved it! These days you could also add probiotics, Lactol for babies & nursing mums, any medication maybe... even some pineapple juice!

Bran mashes historically are what kept our rabbits going through World War II, when no cereals were available to animal keepers, unless you were willing to help the war effort by breeding rabbits for the butcher. How they managed to do this, is anyone's guess... hay, wild greens and veg, with only the bran mashes, and they still could produce healthy rabbits!

But in these days when some mixes and pelleted foods are not as suitable for some rabbits as the makers would have us believe, perhaps the odd bran mash is something we can try. Before pellets came in, most breeders (and pet keepers) fed whole or crushed oats - whole for preference, as you ran the risk of buying stale, long-crushed oats (same reason was given for not using porridge oats, but these days the packaging is better). Some breeders still do feed whole or crushed oats, to "water down" pellet mixtures that are too fattening for some rabbits... and provide good fibre too.

In the village where I grew up, I could often not get pellets or oats for my bunnies, so I would go to a local farmer who would sell me a sack of rolled barley... freshly rolled in his crushing machine while I waited!

It is often useful to buy any old rabbit books you see on sale in second-hand bookshops, as they give us all the traditional methods of feeding rabbits. They always have a section on meat-breeding, so avoid, if you have a sensitive stomach.... but apart from this, they are very interesting to read, and often give an entirely different perspective on things we take for granted.

20-10-2004, 04:57 PM
Sue your posting made for a fascinating read :D

I think that we sometimes rely too much upon modern convenience foods(For rabbits and Humans alike :lol: ) and that the old fashionned feeding methods perhaps saw bunnies in a better healthy condition...would you agree with this Sue, or did the early feeding regimes have their drawbacks on bunny health too??

20-10-2004, 05:04 PM
I was thinking that too Adele. So, if for instance I wanted to feed a warm mash to our Jasper (7 years old), what exactly would be the recipe?

20-10-2004, 06:20 PM
I have that book! I always wanted to make that mash for my bunnies as a kid, but never got round to it. The book even has my childlike handwriting in with the bunny's name etc. :oops:

I've still got it too!
I made it for Hoppy once and he wouldn't go near it :roll: !!
There is an updated version of the book just out, I had a flick through it in smiths...it still has the same piccies! Didn't read much but it would be interesting to see whats changed.

I might try a mash for Blueberry after her spay on mon - what do you think?

20-10-2004, 08:29 PM
I think that we sometimes rely too much upon modern convenience foods(For rabbits and Humans alike :lol: ) and that the old fashionned feeding methods perhaps saw bunnies in a better healthy condition...would you agree with this Sue, or did the early feeding regimes have their drawbacks on bunny health too??

They did have many health problems then, but also didn't have the veterinary knwledge available that we do now. So, diseases which are treatable nowadays, such as coccidiosis, bloat and mucoid enteritis, claimed many lives.

However, without being too graphic, primitive "survival of the fittest" was at play, and only the healthiest survived, and those which adapted best to the wartime diet. But when this basic diet is examined, it's clear it was probably very healthy and as close to the natural diet as you can imagine.

Back in wartime, Portsmouth was a "Fanciers City" and still there are a few people here who breed & show rabbits, poultry, ducks, cage birds, pigeons etc. kept in their back gardens. I get a very clear historical view in this place, and can imagine that many back yards in wartime were filled with chickens, ducks, rabbits, perhaps even pigs!

Without wishing to sound odd, when I moved into this flat with my horde of rats, started doing up the old brick shed outside, and welcomed the Floyds home, I got the distinct feeling this house was happy to have the animals here. A previous tenant kept a buzzard for falconry & ferrets for hunting, which I had no inkling of until I spoke to the neighbours, but I imagine he was just one in a line of occupants since the place was built, that kept animals here.

And when I began going round the shorelines & wild places to gather wild greens for the rabbits, mere walking distance away, I saw how the wartime rabbit keepers here managed so well, as there is an over-abundance of free, nourishing wild greenfood.

There's one great rabbit book which do snap up if you ever find it... First published in 1957, "The Domestic Rabbit" by J. C. Sandford is still in print. I have the 1974 edition but there have been reprints since, updated too. It will tell you more than you need to know about nutrition, alternative feeding methods, history, and how to calculate nutritive values in what you feed.... other parts are very much outdated but it stands as a true classic, from which to learn and then absorb modern thinking. There's just one chapter on the usual meat/skins/nasties etc, but it would be easy to glue the pages together if you really didn't wish to look!

http://www.abebooks.co.uk or Ebay are both very good places to buy old rabbit books - when I have a little more spare cash I want to add to my collection, as I have quite a few rabbit books I collected in the 1970's & 1980's, some very old, some in French, some in German, and a couple I bought in Holland! My prize must be a book from France published in 1897, about breeding rabbits & pigeons for meat - so old, it has no photographs, and I can't understand much of it, but it was given to me about 20 years ago by an English man who had moved to the South of France, and found it in the attic when doing the old house up!

20-10-2004, 08:36 PM
PS: For a great historical perspective about rabbits in wartime, as well as a lovely read, try to track down a copy of The Fancy by Monica Dickens.

It is the only novel I know of that features rabbits: Flemish Giants belonging to a young man who loves them despite the difficulty of obtaining food, and having to sell some to the butcher, and how he arranged to put on a big rabbit show in his home town. It's also the story of his relationship with his wife, and how he gets to know the shy young girl at the munitions factory where he works, who reminds him of the nervous young Flemish doe in his hutches at home.

27-10-2004, 02:06 PM


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Last night I dived over to the shops to get a small pumpkin - I'm sure the woman thought "Blimey thats not very big to do a carving :!: " - but I got the smallest I could.

Made the Mash - using Pumpkin, Oats, Bran and some Pellett Soup and boy did it go down well - I was a bit worried as they hadn't had it before so gave them just a smallish amount but no tummy turns this morning so I think that will become a regular treat for them in the winter :roll:

Thanks for all the brill types on the Mash Folks - Bunny Hugs to you from The Mash Gang - Buffs, Cagney and Zac.