As we said in the article “Rabbits. Origin and characteristics of biology,” rabbits, by their nature, are constantly forced to gnaw something, so their teeth need grinding. In addition, they eat vegetable food, which is less nutritious than meat. Therefore, to replenish all the necessary substances of plant foods it is necessary to eat a lot, and rabbits have a voluminous digestive tract. All these circumstances make long-eared big gluttons. They are able to eat day and night, require a lot of diverse food. Per day the rabbit can attach to the feed up to 30 times! However, this problem is easily solved because there is a lot of diverse food that could be given to the rabbit.
All livestock breeders are divided into coarse, juicy, concentrates, animal feed. Each group of feed has its own characteristics in terms of nutrient content and humidity.
Roughage. They contain a large amount of fiber and little moisture, but their nutritional value can vary greatly. This is hay, branch feed, straw. For rabbits, roughage is very necessary above all for good digestion and grinding of teeth.
Especially important part of the diet is hay. No need to think that hay. it is a dry, dusty grass and there is nothing tasty and useful in it. For us. Yes, but for rabbits it is not. Hay of good quality, not overdried, contains a lot of protein (especially legumes), carotenoids (substances that in the animal’s body will turn into vitamin A), vitamins. In addition, if, for predatory animals, for example, human fiber is a slightly digestible substance and basically serves as a kind of bowel brush, in herbivorous animals it is processed with the help of special bacteria. In rabbits, a whole factory of such bacteria is found in special processes, the "pockets" of the cecum. If the fiber in the diet is low, then it violates the vital activity of bacteria, they "starve." This is very harmful for the animal, it can disrupt the metabolism. Therefore, it is desirable that hay be always in a cage, even in summer, when there is a lot of grass. In addition, it slightly solves the problem of rabbit gluttony, because hay spoils a little and you can give it plenty, unlike other feeds.
Good quality hay should have green leaves, smell good, should not be soggy.
Very useful nettle hay. It contains a huge amount of vitamins. In terms of protein content, it can replace concentrated feed. For making nettle hay, nettles need to be harvested before flowering and dried in the shade.
Branches are also helpful. Rabbits can be given willow, aspen, hazel, linden, acacia, Canadian maple, raspberry-bearing fruit, fruit trees: apple, cherry, currant. can be with leaves. Rabbits gnaw bark from branches and grind down teeth. Do not give a poplar, walnut.
Rabbits can eat dried stalks of some ornamental crops, such as calendula, asparagus, and hops.
As for straw, it is very tasteless and has very few nutrients. Nevertheless, rabbits sometimes enjoy eating pea straw, it is slightly more nutritious than other species. In most cases, the straw is suitable except for bedding (well, which sometimes, with nothing to do, you can chew). By the way, if the diet does not have enough roughage, many rabbits can eat up sawdust. Apparently because of this, one Western company began to produce filler for rodents with carrot chips! But if the rabbit eats sawdust. This is a distress signal, you should not feed them.
Succulent feed The most beloved and tasty, it is different greens and vegetables. They contain a large amount of moisture, a lot of vitamins, little fiber, but have not very high nutritional value (mainly due to water). Many succulent feeds, such as carrots, fodder beet, Jerusalem artichoke are a milking agent. they are very useful for giving to females during feeding.
Grass for rabbits should be collected away from the highway, places of walking animals. Rabbit can be given knotweed, chicory, dandelion leaves, young leaves of burdock (burdock), rhubarb, quinoa, wheat grass, all seeded herbs, young nettles (so that it does not burn the mouth of the animal, it should be chopped up and mashed), etc. different tops are involved. carrots, radishes, turnips, turnips, sunflower leaves, Jerusalem artichokes, strawberries.
In the spring you need to move carefully to the grass, in large quantities it can cause intestinal swelling. Young grass up to 10 cm is especially dangerous. For prevention, greens should be introduced into the diet gradually, starting with small amounts, can also be dried and given after feeding a small portion of hay. It is also good during the opening of the "green season" to give twigs of willow, which has an astringent effect. Drying the grass prevents its damage during feeding, the rabbit does not get dirty much.
In addition, rabbits are given a variety of vegetables and fruits: carrots, pumpkins, zucchini, kohlrabi, cucumbers, Jerusalem artichoke tubers, small potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, apples, fodder cabbage, sugar and fodder beets. Vegetables do not have to be cleaned, but must be thoroughly washed in warm water and cut into large pieces. They must be fresh, not frozen and not spoiled. If you buy them on the market, then it is advisable to purchase them from regular, well-established sellers.
It must be remembered that all juicy feed easily spoil, it is necessary to monitor and remove the remnants after feeding. If you give only succulent feeds for a long time, watery diarrhea can occur. In mild form, if the animal does not refuse to feed and does not change its state of health, first aid is to transfer the animal to 2-3-day feeding with hay. Otherwise, you will have to go to a veterinary clinic.
All feed for rabbits is desirable to give raw. Boiled, for example, potatoes should be given rarely.