Much has been written about what it is possible to feed a decorative rabbit, dwarf on the Internet, but it is messy. The reader has the impression that you can feed the rabbit with everything that grows. This is not true. It is foolish to assume that cake / ice cream is the main food of people. Roughly also in rabbits. What decorative rabbits eat at home, what they eat, let’s talk in this article.
A photo. Feeding decorative rabbit
How does digestion in ornamental and dwarf rabbits
The physiology of digestion of ornamental rabbits and their productive eared brethren is no different. All rabbits are monogastric herbivores. The stomach is not the main organ of digestion in the Lagomorphs. In it, food is subjected only to primary treatment with saliva, gastric acids and mixing. Major digestion occurs in the cecum of the large intestine. In this section, splitting occurs, under the action of microorganisms and protozoa, the main part of the food – fiber. The function of this section in a rabbit is similar to that of a cow.
Difference in digestion in herbivores (cows, sheep and rabbits):
- cows, sheep, goats – cicatricial digestion;
- rabbits – cecotrophic digestion.
Cecum – the main section of the gastrointestinal tract in rabbits
In the cecum chyme undergoes fermentation and the action of microorganisms. Cecum rabbits, an analogue of cow foreglobe. Only instead of multiple burping and digestion of gum, the rabbit repeatedly swallows its feces, more precisely false feces. Sometimes it is called night feces. True feces, significantly different from the night. The physiology of separation of different types of excrements (feces) in a rabbit is complex and optional for the reader. Such a strangeness of the physiology of digestion determines how you can feed an ornamental rabbit. Feed them first of all with cheap roughage, and why?
Because for the formation of healthy (night) feces, the diet of ornamental rabbits should consist mainly of roughage.
Excess grain in the diet of non-productive rabbit (not fattening) inevitably leads to disruption of the formation of nutritious feces. Grain can be useful only during the load on the body – at the fattening stage. In other cases, excess grain is harmful, leading to the accumulation in the body of oxidized substances. From here a strong disgusting smell, from decorative rabbits.
You read in addition about interesting features of exotic rabbits for domestic keeping:
The principles of feeding rabbits are the same, so the way you feed a decorative lop-eared rabbit and a huge productive one does not differ.
Food for decorative rabbits at home
Proper feeding of the decorative rabbit
How to feed a decorative rabbit is known to professionals. The diet of rabbits consists of only three types of feed. Below are the types of feed and the optimal proportions of the diet for decorative rabbits:
- Rough feed (hay, grass, branches) – 60-70% of the diet;
- Concentrates (grain, grain mixture, feed) – 20-30% of the diet;
- Succulent feed (garden vegetables, tops) – 10-20% of the diet.
In sum, all types of feed are 100%. During suckering and milk feeding, the females ’diet must be enriched with concentrates. During this period, the ratio of cereals can be increased to 40-50%. Do it carefully, beware of the rabbit obesity. Otherwise, do not get offspring.
Fruits, berries, especially sweet, are exclusively a delicacy, which include in the diet in minimal quantities. They do not matter in balancing the diet.
A photo. Food pyramid feeding ornamental rabbits.
What winter feed decorative rabbit
In the cold season, you can slightly (by 5 – 10%) increase the number of concentrates (see above). It is necessary to cover energy costs. The amount of hay is always the same. Juicy feed reduced by 5 – 10%. Give carrots, fodder beet in the form of pieces. Part of the diet is enriched with germinated grain, green shoots. Lack of vitamins can be given feed additives.
How much food to give a decorative rabbit
The norms of feed for a decorative rabbit in numbers (kilograms or grams of feed) can not be correctly named. Some rabbits (decorative or dwarfs) eat more, others less. One rabbit needs 50 grams, another one needs 200 grams.
The amount of feed for the decorative rabbit to determine independently based on the weight and age of the animal
Understand that the rabbit lacks or lacks feed, really in one or two days. More importantly, the ratio of the three types of feed should have certain proportions among themselves.
Water and roughage (hay, branches, grass) are always available, and the grain is given only 1-2 times a day.
Do not forget to clean the feeders from the remnants of the grain, after the previous feeding. Watch the nature of feces. By the sight of the peas, it is easy to identify not only digestive upset (diarrhea), but also impaired formation of a false feces for the rabbit.
Rough feed for ornamental rabbit
Rough feed (hay, green mass of cereals and leguminous hayfields, branches) in rabbits are regulators of the intestine. The rabbit’s intestine is reduced due to the fact that it is filled with fiber, which is abundant in roughage. The rabbit’s empty intestine slows down peristalsis and even stops. In dogs and cats, other predatory, the intestine works even in a hungry state.
The mechanism of intestinal peristalsis in rabbits is different from that of meat eaters.
The lack of nutrients in roughage is compensated by the concentration of nutrients by eating their own feces. Soft feces – a bunch of nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats), vitamins and minerals. The basis is squeeze from roughage.
In the summer, you can slightly reduce the amount of roughage by adding succulent feeds, but not more than 20% of the total diet.
Keep rabbits profitable. The cost of purchasing feed is not high compared to predatory pets. The rabbit is able to squeeze as much as possible all the useful things from the poor food. This is the law of humiliated and offended, in competition, animals in wild fauna.
Hay, how to feed ornamental rabbits
Hay is the main feed for rabbits. Most often given in natural form, less often in the form of granulated feed. Hay decorative rabbits do not dispense, give plenty. This type of feed has the greatest useless consumption. Rabbits scatter it, eating the stalks, leaving more valuable leaves.
Lack of unknown storage conditions. Most often, hay is stored in plastic packaging. In such conditions, purchased mustiness, mold. The best hay is harvested independently, stored in the attic in free ventilation conditions.
Types of hay for decorative rabbits
The best time of haymaking, before the grass blooms, budding phase. The main groups of grasses used for harvesting hay grow on two types of meadows:
- natural (natural) hay;
- sowing (sowing) hayfields.
For harvesting rabbits often use natural hay. The type of hay depends on the landscape of the area in the mountains or in the lowlands. The most valuable is mountain hay. There are:
- cereal grasses (timothy, bonfire, hedgehog, fescue, benthole), etc .;
- legumes (clover, vetch, chin and others), etc .;
- herbs (yarrow, cuff, loach), etc.
- legumes (alfalfa, vetch, clover, espartit, rank) are rich in protein and fats;
- cereal grasses (timothy, bluegrass and meadow fescue, bonfire, foxtail, oats, triticale) are rich in carbohydrates.
Not every owner of a decorative rabbit can harvest hay for a whole year. However, on walks, in parks, forest edges you can collect herbs, which in winter add to the purchase of hay. Plants that can be added to purchased hay. Dandelion flowers, nettle, burnet, yarrow, cornflower, plantain. Gardening plants – parsnip, cumin. Herbs for drying harvested away from highways and places of environmental pollution.
Seasonal grass (green mass) for ornamental rabbits
Summer is the most favorable season for organizing the feeding of ornamental rabbits. Dial alfalfa, sainfoin, clover, wheat grass and others is not difficult. In the meadows nettle, sorrel, wormwood, sow thistle, willow-herb, coltsfoot grow in abundance. Green mass to give pets dried in the shade form.
Dry the grass before feeding the ornamental rabbit
Bevel the grass spread out in an even layer under a canopy on a clean surface, in a draft. Partial drying of the grass is necessary for excess moisture to evaporate, intermediate parasite hosts disappear.
- land mollusk with the parasite larva – fasciolosis of rabbits;
- the ant with the larva of the parasite is rabbit dicrocelliosis;
- Imago ixodid ticks – carriers of viral blood diseases (piroplasmosis of dogs, Lyme borreliosis and human encephalitis, others).
The rabbit does not suffer from viral blood infections, but may die from an allergy to tick bite. Do not confuse microscopic itchy (scabby) and taiga ticks.
- Pruritus – permanent parasites of the skin, rabbit ears.
- Taiga ticks are free-living arthropods. Attack exclusively for sucking blood. While feeding with blood, viruses enter the victim’s blood vessels.
Additionally read the article: ear mite in rabbits and worms in rabbits
Why do we need branches for feeding decorative rabbit
In the diet of decorative rabbits necessarily add tree branches. Gnawing wood, the rabbit grinds down the incisors. Harvest branches with leaves and without leaves at different times. Branches in the form of brooms harvested in the middle of summer. Selected shoots of the second year of vegetation. Next, collect in bundles and dried in the shade in a draft. Thus, useful substances are maximally preserved. In winter, twigs nibble rabbits. They are happy to gnaw branches of hardwood and even conifers.
Decorative rabbits should not be given branches of trees containing binders or tannins.
This bird cherry, oak, hazel (castor), rakita (willow), buckthorn, shadberry, elderberry.
In the branches of a few nutrients, a lot of fiber. It is necessary and very useful for intestinal motility.
Branches without foliage are harvested in spring or autumn. Decorative rabbits can be given branches of wild-growing trees (deciduous and coniferous):
- Deciduous trees: (acacia, birch, maple, linden, aspen, alder, poplar, willow).
- softwood and pine needles. (Pine branches of pine, spruce, fir, juniper) Must pre-steamed to remove resinous substances:
In the spring and autumn in the gardens carry out pruning of garden plants. It is quite possible to prepare an excellent branch feed. The coarse shoots of raspberry, wild and garden apple trees, grapes. Carefully give decorative bunnies branches of stone trees (cherry, cherry, apricot, peach, plum). It is believed that they accumulate hydrocyanic acid, a toxic substance. Although I think that within reason, nothing terrible.
Grain feed, which can be decorative rabbits
Grain is the most expensive part of the rabbit diet.
The advantage of keeping rabbits is that they do not need a lot of grain. Passion for a variety of ready-made rations inevitably leads to an imbalance of metabolism. Only fattening rabbits for 2-3 months. grain give up to 60% of the diet. Decorative rabbits are given grain in a much smaller ratio to other feeds. Concentrated feed (grain) high-calorie, nutritious, little indigestible fiber. For decorative rabbits, this is bad, which does not need a quick weight gain.
Grain diet aims to gain weight quickly. Ornamental rabbit, this is not required. Rapid weight gain is needed only for fattening, which lasts up to 4 months.
A long grain excess in the diet is always a violation of the protein, carbohydrate, and sometimes fat metabolism.
In rabbits, a peculiar physiology of digestion, “sharpened” to the digestion of poor food, not grain. This type of digestion is present only in the order of lagomorphic animals (rabbits, hares, pikas), and as an exception in rodents. More often in the form of cecotrophy species (beavers, guinea pigs), these animals eat their own feces in a peculiar way.
Concentrates (grain), decorative rabbits are given in the form:
- grain mixes (without additives in the composition), complete feeds (with feed additives and dried grass in the composition);
- pellets, the optimal value for decorative rabbits up to 1 cm, often 3-4 cm on sale.
- Deft (crushed grain) or whole grains in steamed form, usually in the composition of wet mash
In the summer-autumn period, the amount of grain feed can be reduced to a minimum value of 20% (from the diet) due to an increase in the diet of freshly mown (dried) grass, or by increasing vegetables and tops. Grain is the saturation and speed of weight gain, roughage is the normal work of the intestines, which means health.
Juicy food that decorative rabbits eat
The value of fruits and berries in feeding decorative rabbits
Sweet fruits, berries, exotic fruits should be given to decorative rabbits with care and only as a treat, like a cake, ice cream to a person.
Sweet fruits (berries) are harmful long-lived decorative rabbits in comparison with rural counterparts. In the elderly for rabbits, aged 5 years and older, they tend to acquire diseases like in humans:
- type 2 diabetes;
- cardiovascular diseases;
- pathology of the excretory system (urine);
- digestive system (feces);
- pathology of the musculoskeletal system.
What to feed a dwarf rabbit
We already know that dwarf rabbits are not a separate breed, but a kind of ornamental rabbit. It is just that babies have a dwarf gene in their bodies. It can be fixed by the breed, or it can occur by chance. It is a kind of ugliness, albeit sweet and funny. Therefore, what dwarf rabbits eat should not be considered separately. Dwarfs eat the same thing as their larger cousins. Dwarf rabbit at home – it is the same decorative animal. That is useless from the economic point of view.
Additionally read about decorative rabbits, how they differ, how new breeds are derived.
Decorative rabbits are exotic animals for home keeping. Feeding and caring for an ornamental rabbit is essential. For rabbits it is easy to organize high-quality and inexpensive food. It includes coarse, concentrated and succulent feed. Rabbits should not be given food that includes animal products (meat, meat products, milk and dairy products).