Vitamins play an extremely important role in the process of metabolism. Their deficiency negatively affects the mammals and can lead to serious pathological changes. An inexperienced rabbit breeder may not notice the first symptoms of a lack of these organic compounds. In the meantime, the animal will grow poorly, lose its appetite and produce non-viable offspring.
List of essential vitamins
Vitamins for rabbits
Many vitamins are not able to be synthesized in the body, and therefore it is required that they be eaten by rabbits with food. In the warm season, a sufficient amount of vitamins are able to provide food based on herbs and vegetables. In winter, when the vitamin feed base is limited, there is a need to look for a full replacement for the sources of nutrients. What vitamins should be present in the diet, and why do rabbits need them?
- vitamin A is necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous and reproductive systems, good physical development;
- Vitamin B1 – is involved in carbon metabolism, is associated with the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system, is necessary for the digestive process;
- Vitamin B2 – is responsible for hair and skin condition, is involved in the absorption of proteins, fats and carbohydrates;
- Vitamin B5 – contributes to the digestive process;
- Vitamin B6 – acts as a catalyst for the assimilation of protein, is responsible for the balance of enzymatic processes;
- Vitamin B12 – promotes the absorption of protein and the process of blood formation, is necessary for the viability of the newborn brood of baby rabbits;
- Vitamin C is necessary for the development of a strong immune system; gastrointestinal health;
- Vitamin D is necessary for the formation of bone tissue, promotes the absorption of mineral substances;
- Vitamin E – is involved in the development of muscles, promotes healthy heart activity. Among other things, it is called a reproduction vitamin;
- vitamin K is an important component during the breeding season, it is necessary in the case of treatment of rabbits with antibiotics.
Lack of vitamins – the cause of weak immunity
Vitamins for rabbits
Watch the behavior of your pets carefully. To understand which vitamins they lack and what should be given to rabbits, some symptoms will help.
A signal that the animals do not have enough vitamin A will be dry eyes and runny nose. With a deficiency of retinol, there is no desire to mate or unviable offspring is given. This often manifests itself in winter, in the absence of fresh greens and fruits.
On the background vitamin C deficiency the rabbit will often tolerate colds, bleeding of gums and subsequent tooth loss may occur. A weakened immune system, caused by a shortage of ascorbic acid, is threatened with hair loss.
Reproductive dysfunction, miscarriages and the death of newborns rabbits indicate a lack of vitamin E. This may also be the cause of dystrophy and the death of pets.
If the rabbit is not growing
A lack of B vitamins is fraught with stunted growth. The first signs are the overall unhealthy type of animal, poor appetite and dull, thinning hair. Vitamin B1 deficiency is manifested in digestive disorders, nervous and cardiovascular systems. The animal may experience convulsions and paralysis. With a lack of B2, eye disease is observed, breathing rhythm is lost, hair growth is disturbed.
Digestive disorders, vomiting, diarrhea are consequences of a lack of vitamin B5. Rabbit refuses to eat and does not drink water. Lack of B12 leads to impaired protein absorption and anemia.
Slow growth can be caused by vitamin D deficiency. Signs of a lack of this important component of vital activity are curvature of the spine and paws, clumsy movements. Females who lack vitamin D have offspring with rickets.
If there are any symptoms, the rabbit breeder should take urgent measures to eliminate them. How to return the balance and fill the lack of necessary nutrients? Sometimes for this you just need to have basic knowledge of what vitamins are contained in available food sources and how to give them to rabbits.
Vitamin A is rich in herbal feeds, as well as fruits and vegetables containing carotene. To compensate for the lack of retinol will help 1-1,5 g of fish oil per day.
Group B vitamins are rich in a wide variety of foods:
- B1 – brewer’s yeast, bran, germinated wheat, potatoes, carrots;
- B2 – wheat bran, oatmeal, carrots, fresh alfalfa hay, fodder and brewer’s yeast, milk;
- B3 – yeast;
- B5 – fodder yeast, bean grains, wheat, barley, rye;
- B6 – wheat germ, alfalfa, wheat bran;
- B9 – soybeans, cauliflower, yeast and green leaves;
- B12 – fish and bone meal, green algae.
It should be borne in mind that after prolonged heat treatment, vitamin B1 is destroyed, B6 and B9 must be stored in a dark place, light is detrimental to them.
Vitamin C is rich in green and vegetable food. The champions in the content of ascorbic acid are parsley, black currant and wild rose.
Supplementing vitamin D deficiency will help fish oil, bone meal and milk. These feeds should be given to rabbits indoors, as direct sunlight has a devastating effect on the vitamin.
Vitamin E is found in all vegetable fats, green fodder, wheat germ and corn. It should also be protected from direct sunlight.
Ornamental breeds also need vitamins.
The rules concerning the content of vitamins in the diet of rabbits of agricultural breeds are also applicable for feeding ornamental and dwarf ones. Ready mixes for pets contain a complex of vitamins necessary for an animal. However, it will be useful to diversify the pet menu.
As an additional source of B vitamins, the best choice would be vegetables, salads, fresh grass. Useful and nutritious cereal mixtures. In the diet of the rabbit must be present fish oil. Retinol is especially important in the period of suturing and feeding the newborn baby rabbits with milk. To strengthen the immunity in the drinker with water, it is good to add a few drops of rosehip infusion or lemon juice containing vitamin C.