We have seen good results on beef and dairy operations in my area, but a success story I ran across near Seymour, Mo., is worth a note.
After an information meeting last fall, one of my customers—a rabbit producer—began feeding his does Rabbit 16% Shield pellets from MFA. It was a full switch in feeding programs for him, and he has been happy with the results.
Since the switch, he has noticed a 10 to 15 percent boost in pregnancy percentages overall. The producer pulled a group of a dozen does to run a comparison of MFA’s Rabbit 16% Shield pellets to his previous ration.
Here’s what he told me:
- Does on Rabbit 16% Shield pellets averaged one to two more kits per litter.
- Kits can be weaned at five weeks of age on Rabbit 16% Shield pellets compared to six weeks on the previous ration.
- Does on Rabbit 16% produce a litter every six weeks compared to seven weeks on the previous ration.
This producer’s goal has traditionally been to have a fryer ready to sell at 12 weeks of age and weighing 5 pounds. Feeding Rabbit 16% Shield, he has adjusted expectations with the goal of reaching 5 pounds at 10 to 11 weeks. Looking over his weight tickets, I was able to do some quick math.
He gave me several weight tickets where he sold fryers and here are the numbers:
- On these tickets he sold 347 fryers weighing 1808 pounds, which is an average of 5.21 pounds per fryer at market.
- With the new price per pound, that 5.21-pound rabbit is worth $8.08.
That means he is getting one or two more kits per litter. For the sake of this argument, let’s say just one. With the previous ration, his does had a litter every seven weeks, which would be 7.45 litters per year. On Rabbit 16% Shield pellets, his does produce a litter every six weeks, which equals 8.69 litters a year. How many more fryers will be available for market? Well, 8.69 litters a year x 1 extra kit per litter = 8.69 x 60 does = 521 more fryers. At the market price of $8.08 as I wrote this, the additional kits would mean an additional $4,210 per year in income.
Shield Technology does require more expensive ingredients and is priced accordingly. However, if you carry the math out, it’s probably worth the investment. This producer buys between 4 and 5 tons of Rabbit 16% Shield pellets a month. It costs about $16 per ton more than MFA 16% without Shield ($768 to $960 per year). So take that extra $4,210 in income and extract $960. That is $3,250 per year in cash or to invest back into the operation.