Monday, July 11, 2011

The cost of feed

So,here we are with a new rabbit that needs rabbit food and some good hay.

Well,ok,yeah,I could go to the pet supply and get everything I need,after all,it's only one rabbit,right?

Rather than hopping in the car and loading up a shopping cart with plastic bags of rabbit pellets and plastic bags full of fancy named hay,I looked online for pricing....and knowing what I'm willing to spend on food for this little project of ours.

Well here we are:

Petsmart a 24oz poly bag of hay is $4.99....sounds cheap right? Well guess again.
That's 24 ounces of hay,less than 2 lbs of food....well,you can go straight to a local farm,and buy a full bale(which is anywhere from 40-50lbs)for around $3.00,same hay,no fancy plastic wrap,and yes,you have to store it somewhere,but for less than the pet store cost of a 24oz bag,you get 640(average)ounces of the same hay for the rabbit.

Now on to the rabbit pelleted food,the pet store cost is anywhere from $10.99 all the way up to $33.24 for rabbit food....the largest bag being 25lbs.The 5lb bag was the $10.99....not so bad though,you get a lot for your money right? Wrong again...

The local feed store price for not 25lbs,but for 50lbs is $17.49(no plastic bag either).One rabbit goes through at most a cup of pelleted food a you can guess just how long a full 50lb bag would last.

Let's not forget the bedding,we need bedding for the little guy too.With prices starting at around $7.99,and going all the way up to $34.99....with fancy things like recycled paper or chopped corn cobs,sun dried grass and cotton,ok,folks,this is just a rabbit,and not even a pet,as he will be earning his keep.

Plain old straw bedding,the old standard for horses,cattle,sheep,you name it,even dog houses,for decades.It's completely natural,eco friendly,decomposes in the compost pile,and is pet safe...the highest price I've seen locally is $2.50 for good clean wheat straw,that's for aprox 40-50 lbs per bale,enough to change the rabbit's bedding a dozen or more times.

While sometimes you may actually need something from a pet supply store,but mostly pet supply stores are designed to make you spend way more money than you need to.

So the hay,and straw are in the shed,just a few feet from the rabbit hutch,and the rabbit chow is in an old dog food storage bin,tightly sealed.I have enough food and bedding to last the little guy for a few months at least,for less than the cost of 25lbs of some fancy branded rabbit food from the pet supply store.

My advice,shop around and only buy what you really need for your animals.You need bedding,not recycled paper product,you need food,not fancy labels and plastic bags.

Some food for thought,so the next time you need something for an animal,be it a pet rabbit,a horse,or whatever,it pays to really look at the costs rather than the labels and fancy eye catching wrapping.