Like all pets, rabbits require proper maintenance, which includes a healthy diet. Rabbits are vegetarians, but even vegetable food can be a threat to the work of the gastrointestinal tract and health.
Feeding rules and diet at home
It may seem that the domestic rabbit is constantly hungry. In fact, because of the low protein content, vegetables are quickly digested. Therefore, fasting for eared pets equates to death. An adult pet needs to eat 40-50 times a day in small portions.
Due to weak peristalsis (contraction of intestinal muscles), the large intestine is clogged, and saliva is not enough for digestion.
Therefore, another mandatory component of the diet – clean water.
The feed is divided into juicy, coarse, green, combined. For the correct development of the rabbit in the menu should include all types. Recommend to introduce vitamin bait and hard treats for grinding teeth.
To correctly organize the diet, it is necessary to equal the nutrition of wild animals. In nature, they get their own food, choosing a culture full of fiber.
This type is considered essential for the normal functioning of the body.
Similar food is necessary both in winter time, and in summer. First, the rigid fibrous structure helps cleanse the intestinal walls, secondly, grinds down teeth, and third, it contains the entire volume of fiber and vegetable protein.
For rough feed include:
- bark and branches of trees (birch, alder, mountain ash, willow, aspen, apple, pear);
- dried herbs (burdock, dandelion, plantain, sorrel, alfalfa);
- hay and straw;
- grass meal, grain.
As a treat, buds and shoots of fruit trees and shrubs (raspberry, maple, blackberry) are suitable. But the apricot, cherry, plum and peach bark will not bring benefit, they will break the metabolism.
Dried needles (pine, spruce) contains vitamins C, E, B and carotene, due to which rabbits grow faster and gain weight. When using any leaves in the diet should take into account their direct effect on the body of the pet. For example, birch is a strong diuretic.
Why do we need branches for feeding decorative rabbit
Rough branches accelerate the digestibility of food., help to grind down teeth on animals that grow daily (average 3 mm per week). They can not be replaced by hay, but it is important to add to the daily menu.
Rough branches accelerate the digestibility of food.
Suitable for feeding: apple, raspberry, currant, grapes, poplar, maple, ash, mulberry. Walnut fights internal parasites, it is given for prevention. Young acacia without thorns, chestnut and mountain ash without fruits is allowed. Elder branches, lilac, bird cherry, oleander, Labrador tea, wolf’s bast are prohibited.
Attention! If the tree is young and the branches are overgrown with succulent leaves, the nutritional value of such feed is high, as is the content of amino acids, protein and minerals.
Juicy natural food
Fruits, vegetables and greens belong to the type of succulent feed, that is, containing an abundance of water. They need pets year-round, especially females during pregnancy or lactation.
Selected products for such feeding more carefully, some fruits cause severe upset or constipation, and only in certain individuals. Therefore, it is important to monitor the reaction of the rabbit to the new component of the menu.
Standard in the diet are:
- Carrots are a favorite delicacy that contains essential oils, vitamin C. It is cleaned from the ground, sometimes cut.
- Pumpkin in boiled or raw form improves the quality of wool and increases the weight of the animal.
- Beet improves blood circulation.
- White cabbage is fed in small quantities, as it causes bloating.
- Zucchini restores water balance, it is recommended to use in the warm season.
- Potatoes are mixed in boiled form for weight gain.
- Apples and pears are given in small quantities, in winter in the form of dried chips.
Fruits and berries
Selection of fruits is individual for each pet. They are given only washed in fresh or dried form without seeds.
In addition to apples and pears allowed to eat rosehip and strawberries (they treat diseases of the genitourinary system); currants and sea buckthorn (strengthen immunity); raspberries (useful for pregnant rabbits); kiwi, figs, cranberries (provided there are no intestinal parasites and infections); blackberries, grapes. It is allowed to treat your favorite with banana, prunes, apricots, quince and peaches.
Green products for rabbits – everything is good in moderation
This is a subtype of succulent food, the abundance of which in the menu is possible only during warm seasons., until fresh grass is available. It is necessary for rabbits because of the high content of protein and vitamins.
Without green products, the efficiency of reproductive organs decreases, the amount of milk in a nursing mother decreases, the growth of fetuses and newborn babies slows down. After the winter, it is recommended to introduce fresh foods gradually.
Rabbits love garden greens: mint, celery, parsley, dill, lettuce, basil. These herbs contain essential calcium, treat diseases.
Rabbits love garden greens: mint, celery, parsley, dill, lettuce, basil
Also in the diet include:
- green oats and other immature cereals;
- corn (cobs and leaves);
- green peas, beans, vetch;
- leaves and unripe sunflower seeds;
- radish tops, carrots, turnips, beets;
- herbs (wormwood, nettle, tansy, dandelion);
It is forbidden to collect greens in places where dogs walk, on roadsides, near roads, in busy crowded places of the city. It is better to mow the grass, and not to tear, so all the juices remain in the stems. Wet plants after the rain deteriorate faster.
Hay: how to feed ornamental rabbits
There are hay from forbs, meadow grasses and straw (bean stalks and crops). Field plants mow in June and August, before flowering begins (otherwise they become tough). Bevelled dried, then stored in shafts and stacks, sold year-round.
Rabbits are filled with hay every day, regardless of the season. This animal feed is needed in unlimited quantities, it produces enzymes in the colon and cleans the walls of the stomach.
Attention! Hay litter is not suitable for decorative rabbits. Pets can eat blades of grass with waste. It is better to fill the feeder or a separate container.
Good hay has a light green or yellowish color, a pleasant meadow smell, a dried structure, the absence of insects and debris.
The daily diet of ornamental rabbits
These pets are picky, eat the same pattern for months. Therefore, it is possible to develop a single menu, follow it, change in case of atypical reactions (allergies, disorders).
Every day the feeder is replenished:
- hay, branches;
- carrots, beets and other healthy vegetables;
- clean boiled water (bottled);
- fresh and dry grass;
- dried flowers, buds.
The diet of the decorative rabbit: how many times to feed a day, how much to give
Depending on the age of the rabbit is developed daily diet.
For the rabbit, the menu is selected according to the daily allowance of substances: hay and straw (60 g), branches (100 g), carrots (150 g), beets (80 g), herbs (250 g), mixed feed (50 g). They take away babies from mom after 3 days, gradually treating them with new products.
Adults are fed differently. At certain periods of life, different amounts of food will be needed, and pregnant and breastfeeding females (450-700 g) require more than others. At rest, the rabbit eats 150-250 g. Add food at the same time in the event that the last portion is eaten.
Important! In the transition from industrial nutrition to natural food is introduced gradually. During the week a new product is added to the menu every day.
Top dressing with vitamins and minerals
Brewer’s yeast containing phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, iron and vitamins of the B and D groups are considered binding. Important chalk chalk (sold in bricks) and salt (mineral stones for rodents).
What winter feed decorative rabbit
Experienced owners independently harvest hay and twigs for the winter, but in urban areas it is not so easy to mow and save tens of pounds of dry grass.
In winter, give your pet raw and boiled vegetables. Suitable potatoes, beets and carrots. Rabbits love dried apples and pears, banana slices. The branches of coniferous trees (juniper, spruce) will be useful in winter.
What to feed domestic rabbits: dry factory or natural feed?
Modern ready-made feeds are convenient to transport and use, but nothing replaces fresh green food.
Despite the fact that the granules will obviously include all the vitamins, this nutrition has drawbacks:
- The unnatural structure of dietary fiber, which is why food is poorly absorbed, swells, clogs the stomach.
- The presence of flavor enhancers, flavors, preservatives (to extend the shelf life), dyes.
- The high content of sugars, fats, starches, which leads to liver obesity and death.
- Excess salts and minerals are not excreted in the urine, but settle and crystallize in the urinary organs.
- Pellets do not grind pet’s teeth.
- Continuous consumption of food leads to addiction and weight gain due to overeating.
Natural nutrition can cause flatulence, diarrhea, or mild poisoning, but with correct menu adjustments, these problems are easily avoided. Hay and grass are considered indispensable in the diet, so it is better to feed herbivores from the birth of rabbits with greens.
If you have to transfer your pet to industrial products, then you need to select a brand by its composition: fats up to 2%, proteins 13-15%, plant fibers 20-25%. Quality food is dense in structure, does not disintegrate in the hands.
What should not be given to decorative rabbits
All rabbits are herbivores., but some owners are too keen on experiments and include unnecessary, harmful products in the pet menu.
Even vegetable food is carefully selected, the stomach of a small animal does not always digest the amount of fiber or hard seeds.
It is not allowed to use:
- milk, cottage cheese, butter, kefir and other dairy products (rabbits do not need animal protein, even in small quantities);
- meat, poultry, fish;
- young or green potatoes, eggplants, red cabbage, radishes, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets;
- citrus and exotic fruits (grapefruits, mangoes, papayas, oranges, pineapples, avocados, and others; apples and pears are better suited);
- rice, rye, millet, millet;
- legumes (except dry yellow peas);
- unfamiliar and poisonous herbs: Datura, lily of the valley, hemlock, euphorbia, buttercup, larkspur, hellebore, foxglove, raven eye, henbane, milestone poisonous, celandine, nightshade, backache, poppy;
- sugar, chocolate, pastries (cakes, bread, crackers, ice cream, chips).
Choosing the type of food for rabbits, it is necessary to take into account not only the cost, but also the benefit, harm, composition, taste.
Even natural food may not be suitable if the pet prefers a different type of grass. Finding out what the animal likes more can only be done experimentally.