The Importance of Hay for Rabbits
Hay is a source of fiber, important for normal rabbit digestion. Like all herbivores, they have a very long intestine, adapted to digest precisely coarse food.
Hay contains a large amount of vitamins and minerals. It has a beneficial effect on the health of animals and strengthens their immunity, improves reproductive function.
This is a fairly hard food, so it, like the branches of trees, contributes to grinding teeth, and for domestic rabbits, excessively grown cutters can become a serious problem.
Finally, rabbits just love to dig in the hay and burrow into it. Before the rabbit, the little rabbits make peculiar nests of dry grass.
Please note that rabbits, like humans, may have special food preferences. Watching what kind of grass this or that individual eats especially willingly, you can choose the optimal diet for it, by reasonably increasing the amount of your favorite product.
How much hay does a rabbit need?
In order to roughly calculate what the blanks should be, let’s find out how much hay the rabbit needs per day.
According to the norms, in winter, rabbits aged from 1 to 3 months should receive 100 g of hay per day, from 4 to 6 months – 200 g, later – 300 g. Some breeders, calculating how much dry grass a pet needs, are equal to the volume: there is the opinion that the daily amount of grass consumed should be approximately equal to the size of the rabbit itself.
On this basis, it is possible to calculate how much hay an adult rabbit needs for the winter. So, for one individual it will take 16-17 kg, and a rabbit with offspring will need 109 kg.
Note that when harvesting dry grass it is better to overdo it a bit: since rabbits love to rummage in it, it is better to have it with an excess.
What hay eats bunny
The next important question is what kind of hay is best fed to rabbits.
Meadow grass is well suited, but care must be taken to avoid poisonous plants from entering the mixture. The grass needs to be mowed in clear dry weather and dried for a few days outdoors, otherwise the amount of vitamin D will decrease.
Dried nettle is useful if it was harvested before flowering begins (approximately in May). Wormwood and tansy contain many vitamins that are necessary for rabbits and, moreover, have an anthelmintic effect. The diet may also include plantain, shepherd’s purse, wild sorrel, yarrow, clover, alfalfa, dandelions, lupine, burdock, sulfium.
Many owners are wondering what kind of grass can be sown on their own plot. A good choice would be legumes – vetch, pea, sainfoin. They are very nutritious, but such hay can only be given in combination with other herbs so as not to provoke bloating in pets.
By the way, it is recommended to feed the females during lactation with bean hay in combination with wheat grass – this increases the production of milk. Also on the site you can sow rhubarb, which contains a lot of organic acids, suitable for suckling rabbit.
If it is not possible to independently carry out harvesting, you can purchase ready-made feed. It should be green, with a pleasant fresh smell – this is an indicator of a properly carried out blank. Blades of grass should not be too small. In the hay should not be dust and dust – because of them, the rabbit can begin rhinitis.
Pay attention to the composition: if clover and alfalfa make up most of it, such food can cause problems with the genitourinary system. Choose reliable manufacturers. Perhaps their food will cost more, but it will not cause illness or loss of livestock.
Hay should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated place, at a minimum distance of 50 cm from the ground.
What hay is forbidden to give
It is important that grass not poisonous to rabbits get into the hay. These include celandine, cycuta, buttercups, cheremitsa, kolhikum (autumn crocus), hemlock, digitalis, marigold, larkspur, shooting, Datura, euphorbia, henbane, lily of the valley, raven eye. Such types of wormwood as Chernobyl and vermouth are also dangerous.
If you are not sure about the safety of one or another type of grass, it is better not to experiment. Grass can not be mowed near highways, in wetlands and in areas where there are many slugs (they spread the eggs of worms).
If the hay is damp, moldy or frozen during storage, it should never be given to animals in any case – this can cause poisoning or even death. Hay cannot be stored for more than a year – it loses its nutritional value and useful qualities.
How to make a hay feeder
Hay is undesirable to put in a regular food bowl. It is better to purchase or make your own special sennik. With group housing, it provides all animals with access to feed, otherwise a strong male can drive the rest away from the delicacy.
There are many types of designs senniki. It can be a small metal cage fixed at some distance from the floor. The distance between the rods should be such that animals can freely pull portions of food.
Also popular external triangular design. To make it, you need to make the necessary measurements and cut out of plywood three parts of the structure: one central – rectangular, and two side – triangular. They are interconnected with screws, and then attached to the reticular part of the cell with the tip down.
Sennik allows you to provide animals with food in advance, if the owner needs to go for a day or two.
Video "Hay for rabbits"
From this video, you will learn what kind of dried grass to give to rabbits.