So, I've been reading about feeding rabbits completely with food from the land. Willows, clover, comfrey, and grass are some of the plants people use.
I've also run into a lot of controversy about feeding rabbits on an "alternative" diet. But according to this person and many others, it's just as good, if not better, than feeding rabbits on a "traditional" diet of pellets and dried timothy hay. And if I pick out plants that correspond to pellets and hay, the process will be familiar and easy. High-protein vegetables can replace pellets, and high-fiber fresh grasses can replace dried hay (at least in the summer). In the winter, willow bark and dried hay can be fed.
Red clover, for instance (pictured above), has a crude protein content of 14-15%, according to this source. This is the same amount of protein as the "optimal" pellet (according to this source), so clover could be used as a protein source instead of pellets.
Of course, pellets are not the main ingredient in a rabbit's diet. Hay is. So there's gotta be a natural version of hay I can use.
And there is. The hay I feed my rabbits is dried Timothy grass. And fresh timothy, oats, barley, wheat, or regular ol' crab grass can be used instead of hay.
Fresh foods are also, as a rule, much higher in vitamins and minerals than dried foods. (This holds true for humans as well.) Thus, rabbits fed on fresh leafy foods are healthier than pellet-fed rabbits.
Should I do it? I think I should at least give it a try. I think we can all agree that healthier rabbits are happier, and my rabbits' happiness is my first priority. And although this isn't the main reason, it'll certainly save on the feed bill!
So, come last frost, I'll plant some comfrey and start harvesting clover. And - imagine this - rabbits make the best fertilizer! They'll be providing nutrients for the plants with their own poo. How convenient.