Branches of trees must necessarily enter the diet of rabbits, because it is a good source of fiber, which is necessary for these animals. Therefore, many rabbit breeders give their pets branches of deciduous trees, especially during the summer months. However, many do not know whether it is possible to give the rabbits pine needles and other coniferous trees. Consider the feasibility of such feeding and how to do it.
What is the use of needles for rabbits
In the diet of domestic rabbits a lot of protein, carbohydrates, which come with grain and succulent feed. But they also need vitamins, minerals and fiber, and they are found in large quantities in needles. Therefore, giving it to animals is not only possible but absolutely necessary. From it, they get many of the substances they need, especially in winter, when they are lacking in ordinary food.
Another advantage of using coniferous branches for feeding rabbits is the following: gnawing branches, they grind off the edges of their teeth, and therefore do not touch the wooden parts of the cells that attract them for precisely this reason.
Needles for rabbits are useful in that they improve appetite and digestion, and stimulate hunting in breeding individuals. It is believed that giving needles is very useful because it improves the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, genitals, increases the secretion of milk in lactating females. Animals that eat it have a shiny, strong fur, better resist infections. Pine needles can be given to rabbits of any breed, including decorative.
You can give rabbits branches of pine, cedar, spruce, fir, juniper. They contain 10% protein, which is perfectly absorbed by the rabbit, a lot of ascorbic acid and carotene (60 mg per 1 kg).
Rules for harvesting conifer branches
Pine branches or shoots of other conifers can be harvested in late autumn after a cold snap (from October to March). They are not harvested in the spring and summer: at this time of the year, there is a lot of essential oil in them, which is harmful to rabbits, besides, in the process of long storage, the vitamins in the needles are destroyed and it becomes not so useful. Therefore, the branches, if there is such an opportunity, are given fresh or cut in autumn and winter and stored in a dark and cold place (you can put them in bags and leave in the cold), but for a short time, as they dry quickly and turn yellow.
For rabbits, you need to choose trees that grow away from busy highways and not in the city. Cut off the shoots older than 2 years, with bright and faint-smelling needles.
How to feed
It is allowed to give up to 150 g of needles per adult crawl per day, that is, approximately 1 branch up to 15-20 cm long. If the branches are dusty, they can be rinsed with cold water, but then they must be dried. It is impossible to bathe them with boiling water: under the action of hot water, the release of an essential oil harmful to animals will begin.
Feed the rabbits with branches start from 2 months of age, but gradually. First, they put a little bit of it (10-20 g), after which the rate is increased. In the first week of feeding, urine may turn red in animals, which is quite normal. You can feed such food before the spring greenery.
When the needles are dangerous
Its harm is expressed in the essential oil, which is abundant in summer spruce, pine, and cedar branches. Therefore, in spring and summer, roughage should consist of sprigs of deciduous trees or garden trees, except plum, peach, apricot.