When growing rabbits, special attention should be paid to the diet of these animals. Not very experienced breeders believe that any herbs, fruits, vegetables, and concentrated feed are suitable for rabbits. In fact, there is a large list of food that these animals consume is prohibited due to harm to health and risk to life.
Rabbit feed permitted
Rabbits need a varied diet. In their diet must be present green, coarse and succulent feed, as well as the correct concentrated feed. It is important not only to know what to feed the animals, but also to take into account the seasonality factor, and also to observe the correct percentage ratio of the components of the diet.
Rough feed suitable for rabbits
Rough food is the basis of the diet of rabbits, as it contains a large amount of fiber. It is necessary for the natural digestion of the animal. All roughage, with the exception of straw, contains protein, as well as vitamins and minerals.
In more detail about what vitamins are necessary for rabbits in a diet, this article will tell.
Eating roughage helps grind down incisors in rabbits. In the process of their digestion, a large amount of heat is released (about 1000 kcal from 1 kg of feed), which helps to maintain the normal body temperature of animals.
Rough feed should be a quarter of the diet of rabbits. These include hay, straw and leaf-twig fodder.
The most nutritious rough food for rabbits is hay of legumes and legume-cereal grasses, harvested before and during their flowering. Hay for rabbits is recommended to be dried in the shade of trees on wooden devices or in the open air.
Properly harvested hay should have a specific pleasant aroma, have a green tint. It is recommended to stock up to 40 kg of such feed per adult rabbit. One pet will take 10-15 kg of hay at the age of 5 months. To save a little hay, many farmers give it not in its pure form, but as part of various hanks.
In no case can not give hay if it is moldy: it can cause various diseases and even death of animals.
Some modern rabble breeders have an alternative view on the benefits of hay for these animals. You can get acquainted with it by watching this video:
Straw is a hard-to-digit type of food that contains fiber. It contains about 15% water.
The most valuable are such types of straw:
Other types of straw contain much less nutrients and are only suitable as litter in the cells.
Straw is given only to adults during the period when there are no leaf-leaved fodder and hay in the diet.
Straw as a coarse feed for rabbits is given in its natural form, but it is best to do it, after processing it into a chop and making boiling water. In this form, this type of food should be mixed with feed (in the ratio of 5: 1).
Foliar-spruce feeds should also not be neglected: it contributes to a better absorption of other feeds, and also contains a large number of amino acids. It should be given in the deep autumn and in the winter with grass and hay.
What is useful spruce feed and how to properly enter into the diet – read here.
As for the leafy-branch feed, the branches of such trees are best suited, such as:
In small quantities, you can give branches of sweet cherry, plum, birch. You can not give branches of apricot, elderberry, bird cherry.
The branches of oak and alder contain enough tannins, so they are recommended to be introduced into the diet of animals as a fixative in case of indigestion.
Rabbits eat well the leaves of pear, acacia and apple trees.
If the breeder lives in an area dominated by coniferous trees, then it is possible to stock up needles of spruce, pine, juniper for animals and give them from October to April. Pine needles act as a source of carotene and vitamins B, C, E. In rabbits, which receive needles, growth is accelerated, appetite improves, and wool condition improves.
Deciduous forage is recommended to be collected in late autumn and winter, as well as in spring and summer, and the second type is more nutritious.
Succulent feed in the diet of rabbits
Succulent feed – an integral component of the diet of rabbits. They contain a large amount of water (70-80%). They are easily digested and digested, in addition, animals like their taste. Also in the succulent feed contains a lot of vegetable fats, proteins, minerals.
Juicy feeds that can be given to rabbits include:
- Potatoes. This vegetable has a lot of starch, so it is well digested. Cooked mash can be made from boiled potatoes. In small quantities, you can give raw potatoes cut into pieces, but mainly it should be given in boiled form, mixed with mixed feed or bran.
- Carrot. This root crop is especially useful in winter: during this period it acts as the main source of carotene. Vegetable increases the appetite of animals. Carrots are given to baby rabbits from 20-25 days of life. The vegetable is low in fiber, but there are a lot of vitamins B1, C and B2, as well as carbohydrates and minerals. Giving carrots can be raw, preferably – with the tops, after cutting into pieces.
- Cabbage (feed and normal). This vegetable does not contain much fiber, but it is rich in protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus. When used in rabbits cabbage improves the quality of their hair. Vegetable can be used in winter as a green feed. Cabbage is well digested, but can cause digestive upset in young.
- Pumpkin. This is one of the best juicy feed group. Pumpkin is used raw and cooked, as well as for the preparation of combined silage. Pumpkin puree can be a good basis for cooking mash. Pumpkin contributes to the digestion of other feed, improves the quality of wool, accelerates weight gain.
- Rhubarb. The leaves and petioles of rhubarb are pleasant to the taste, so they are eaten by rabbits with pleasure. The rhubarb contains organic acids (oxalic, malic, citric), ascorbic acid. Petioles and leaves favorably influence the general condition of animals, stimulate the process of their growth and development.
- Beet. Spill fodder and sugar beets. The second type is absorbed better. Beets are not given to rabbits, as it causes the development of gastrointestinal diseases. This vegetable improves the blood composition of animals. The composition of the beet includes such useful components as sugar, protein, trace elements. It has a lot of water. Beets can be given in fresh, dried or ensiled form. The amount of vegetable must be strictly metered, as it can cause indigestion in rodents. Per day you can give no more than 200-300 g of beets.
Juice feeds also include silage. Rabbits are suitable for its types:
- carrot and cabbage;
When ensiling, one should carefully chop and tamp the green mass. It can be given in combination with beets, potatoes, coarse and concentrated feed.
Green food must be present in the diet of rabbits. Herbs diversify food and save other types of food.
Rabbits can be given such herbs:
- Siberian hogweed;
- wheat grass;
Vegetable greens are also well suited as green food: rodents can be given parsley, dill, celery, lettuce and horseradish.
Green food is not only tasty, but also beneficial to the body of animals: for example, nettle has an antimicrobial effect, and hogweed improves lactation.
Herbs are harvested by day after the dew dries on them. They are left for several hours to dry.
How to feed the rabbits with grass is described in this video:
It is impossible to feed the rabbits exclusively with concentrated feed: with such a diet they will begin to grow fat, which will negatively affect their ability to reproduce.
Concentrated feed mixtures can be 30-40% of the total diet of rodents. This type of food contributes to the full development and growth of animals, improves milk production in lactating females.
With the introduction of concentrated feed in the diet should take into account the biological characteristics of animals. At night, their activity increases, so in the evening you should give those types of feed that rabbits eat for a long time. In the morning, on the contrary, you need to give food that is eaten quickly.
All concentrated feed, which is introduced into the diet for the first time, should be given gradually, not in full and immediately. This is especially important when switching from winter to summer feeding.
In rabbit breeding such types of concentrated feed are used:
- cereals, rich in carbohydrates;
- beans, containing a large amount of protein;
- oilseeds, which contain a lot of fat.
It is recommended to give the rabbits such feed:
- wheat bran;
- sunflower and flax cake.
Grain feed is recommended to give a mixture (for example, oats with corn and oilcake). Feed must be of high quality, with a normal shelf life.
What feeds should not be given to rabbits?
Rabbits lack intestinal musculature. In addition, they have a very long intestine, so they constantly need to chew something.
There are many different products that at first glance are suitable for feeding them to rabbits, but in fact they are very harmful and can even cause the death of animals.
Dangerous plants for rabbits
In no case should rabbits be given wet and fresh cut grass. Eating wet plants can cause bloating and indigestion in animals.
Rabbits should not be given such plant components as:
- Labrador tea branches;
- elderberry branches;
- apricot tree branches;
- rhubarb leaves;
- white acacia;
- meadow winte;
- oak leaves;
- lily of the valley;
- sweet pea;
- marsh horsetail;
- wild radish;
- horse sorrel.
It is not allowed to give seahorses to the rabbits.
Vegetables and fruits
Juicy fruits and vegetables should not be more than a third of the total daily ration of animals. This should in no case include:
- potatoes are young;
- green pea;
- red and black beans;
- red cabbage;
- red beetroot;
- any exotic fruit.
Tomato and potato planting is also banned: there is a lot of poisonous substance in it – solanine. Also, rabbits should not be given cabbage stumps from cabbage of any kind.
In dairy products a lot of animal protein, which rabbits do not need. If you give the rabbits milk or any products from it, then the animals will have bloating and indigestion. Prolonged indigestion leads to dehydration and death of rabbits.
Rabbits should not be given sweet crackers, crackers, buns, cookies, cereals, and sweets. Excessive amounts of sugar, salt, fast carbohydrates and fats lead to dysfunction of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract in rabbits and their death. In addition, sweets contain many extraneous additives: flavor enhancers and dyes, which negatively affect the condition of animals.
In no case should fresh bread be given to the rabbits. It is poorly digested. Rye and black bread should not be given even in the form of crackers, as it causes fermentation in the stomach and leads to stagnation. Also, the remains of crackers and crumbs from them will accumulate at the bottom of the cage, eventually become covered with mold and, being eaten by rabbits, will cause them to have an upset gastrointestinal tract.
Other forbidden food
Rabbits can also not be fed with mushrooms, wolf berries, elderberry, figs, avocados, garlic, a mixture of muesli, dried apricots, fruit bones, peas.
Feed intended for other animals: hamsters, birds, cats – also should not be given to rabbits. They contain little calcium and fiber, provoke swelling of internal organs and cause obesity.
Even if the food is included in the list of allowed for rabbits, it should not be given in stale form. It is forbidden to give animals rotten or moldy grass, dirty or frozen frozen vegetables. All food must be clean and fresh.
Conditionally allowed feed for rodents
There is also a group of animal feed, which includes conditionally permitted products. This means that these types of food can be entered into the diet of the animal, but only in limited quantities, since not all of them are equally beneficial for the body of rabbits.
Conditionally permitted rabbit feeds include:
- Cucumbers. Despite the fact that they are included in the group of prohibited products for these animals, sometimes as a reward animals can be given several pieces of vegetable, from which the core was cut. In no case can not do it daily: cucumbers in the diet of rabbits – the exception rather than the rule.
- Crusts of watermelon and melon. They should not be bones. They should be given in small quantities and not every day. It is best to alternate succulent feed and give new ones daily.
- Berries. They should be given gradually, no more than two times a week. Rabbits gladly eat raspberries, currants, blueberries, gooseberries.
- Food waste. You can give the tops of beets and carrots, peeling potatoes (but only if they are not green, dirty, with sprouts). It is not necessary to give mixed food waste, as they may contain components harmful for rabbits: milk or meat residues, sweets.
It is not only the diet of rodents that should be monitored: it is important to ensure that no food remains remain in the feeders or moldy ones. It is necessary to remove them in time and handle food containers.
Daily diet of rabbits, feeding patterns depending on various factors.
In the development of the diet should take into account such factors as the age of the rabbits and their physiological state.
If the rabbits are in a state of physiological rest, then the ratio of food components in their daily diet looks like this:
- dry hay: about 150 g;
- succulent feed: up to 200 g (in winter);
- grass: up to 500 g (in the warm season);
- concentrated feed: 50 g in the summer, 60 g in the winter.
If females and males are prepared for mating, then the ratio changes:
- juicy food: 200 g (in winter);
- hay: 200 g;
- green food: not less than 600 g (in summer);
- concentrated feed: 80 g in the summer, 100 g – in the winter.
For a pregnant rabbit diet is organized as follows:
- dry quality hay: about 200 g (in winter);
- succulent feed: 200-250 g (in winter);
- green food: not less than 700 g;
- concentrated feed: 70-90 g in the summer, 100-130 g – in the winter.
After the rabbit feeds the offspring and starts feeding it, its diet should be revised. It looks like this:
- hay: about 250 g;
- juicy food: from 300 to 600 g;
- green grass: 1.2 kg;
- concentrated feed: up to 150 g in summer and about 160 g in winter.
In summer, the main part of the diet should be green fresh food, which during this period is abundant. To slightly reduce the excessive amount of moisture that is contained in the grass, you can add to it a little dry straw or hay.
The main part of the winter diet is concentrated feed. Under conditions of low temperature, it is desirable to give the animals warm food.
There is also a separate scheme for feeding the young in winter time (per day). It looks like this:
- rabbits at the age of 2-3 months: coarse feed – 55-85 g, concentrated feed – 30-45 g, fruits and vegetables – 95-155 g, chalk, salt – 0.5 g each;
- rabbits at the age of 3-4 months: coarse feed – 95-105 g, concentrated feed – 50-65 g, fruits and vegetables – 295-305 g, chalk, salt – 0.6 g each;
- rabbits at the age of 4-5 months: coarse feed – 145-155 g, concentrated feed – 75-85 g, fruits and vegetables – 345-355 g, chalk, salt – 1 g each.
In summertime, the diet of young animals looks like this:
- rabbits at the age of 2-3 months: fresh grass – 295-305 g, concentrated food – 15-30 g, salt and chalk – 0.25 g each;
- rabbits aged 3-4 months: fresh grass – 495-505 g, concentrated food – 40-55 g, salt and chalk – 0.25 g each;
- rabbits at the age of 4-5 months: fresh grass – 555-560 g, concentrated food – 80-100 g, salt and chalk – 0.25 g each.
In the diet of rabbits should also add vitamin and mineral supplements. A special need for them arises in the winter, when there is little fresh food. Rabbits need these vitamins:
- A. This vitamin supports reproductive function, affects growth and weight.
- AT 2. Makes wool thicker and smoother, improves the overall condition of the body.
- AT 12. Promotes better absorption of protein, strengthens the body of the newborn baby rabbits.
- E. Vitamin improves the development of muscles, supports the function of the heart muscle and organs of the reproductive system.
Vitamin preparations that are given to rabbits include:
- Chiktonik. The structure of this complex includes vitamins A, B1, B5, B12, E, K3, as well as a number of amino acids. Chiktonik well suited to support health in winter. Some breeders introduce it into the diet during the breeding season and active weight gain in meat rabbit breeds.
- Prodevit. It contains vitamins A, E, D The tool is useful for problems with the liver, as well as a deficiency of these vitamins in the body.
- E-Selen. This complex, as the name implies, contains vitamin E and trace element selenium. It is used for the slow growth of individuals, as well as for violations of the functions of the reproductive system.
Mineral supplements are also used as an additional component that supplies the required amount of mineral elements that are especially needed during the cold season. The most popular are:
- Carly with a content of vitamins E and B, phosphorus and calcium.
- Gammatonic. The tool is used to replenish amino acids in animals.
- Chica. This complex contains carrots and herbs granules, phosphorus and calcium.
- Ushastik. It contains a number of vitamins: A, B2, E, B12, copper, iodine, zinc.
Vitamins are in feed additives. It:
- grass meal (contains carotene, fiber);
- yeast (contains protein);
- coniferous flour (contains trace elements and carotene);
- bone meal (contains calcium and phosphorus).
Recommendations of experts on the organization of the diet of rabbits
When organizing the diet of animals should pay attention to these tips:
- when harvesting coarse or deciduous-branch feed, it is necessary to ensure that poisonous plants do not get here — celandine, nightshade, wild mustard, and others;
- if the harvested grass has come under rain, it must be dried for several hours and then fed to the rabbits;
- do not tear grass that grows along the roadway, along with dusty roads;
- you should not give lawn grass as a green forage: it is not harmful, but also not useful, because it does not contain the necessary vitamins and trace elements;
- grass that grows in marshland (horsetail, sedge high) cannot be harvested for rabbits;
- ornamental plants adversely affect the body of rabbits, so rodents should not be given poppy, buttercup, jasmine;
- Millet, rye and rice should be excluded from the diet of rabbits, as they contribute to excessive mucus production in the stomach, and this negatively affects the health of rodents;
- rabbits need to constantly eat, due to the peculiarities of the structure of their digestive tract;
- when switching from one type of food to another, it is necessary to do it gradually;
- it is necessary to monitor the condition of the feeders so that there are no traces of mold and dirt, feces;
- vegetables and fruits should be introduced into the diet of rabbits from the age of 4 months, starting with carrots, lettuce, cabbage;
- clean water should always be available in drinking bowls, especially for bunnies who have recently given birth to offspring, and for those who are just waiting to be replenished;
- the water in the drinkers needs to be changed daily, even if the animals have not drunk it, as the pathogenic bacteria multiply quickly in the stagnant liquid.
Rabbits need special nutrition: their daily diet should include concentrated feed, grass, succulent and green food. The ratio of these components depends on the season, age, and physical condition of the animals. All food must be of high quality, fresh and clean.