Of the rough rabbit feeds, hay, hay, and grass meal, some types of straw, and sprigs are used. Rough feed serves as a source of fiber, a certain level of which must be maintained in the rations of rabbits. In some types of roughage (with the exception of straw) there is a lot of protein, vitamins and minerals.
The main share among all groups of rough feed for rabbits should be hay. Hay for rabbits harvested from well-leafed legumes and legume-cereal grasses, mown before or during flowering and dried in the shade, is considered the best. In such hay for rabbits there is quite a lot of carotene, and therefore it is mainly used for feeding sukrolnykh rabbits and lactating females, as well as growing young. Meadow, steppe hay from grasses, mowed at the beginning of flowering is also considered good. If it is not possible to dry the mowed grass under a canopy, then a day after mowing it should be turned over two or three times, and at night to gather into rolls.
When harvesting hay for rabbits in rainy weather, the grass is mowed in small portions, dried on racks of large wire mesh or on wooden grids. Hay from grass for rabbits, mown after flowering and dried in direct sunlight or, even worse, having been in the rain, is rough. Rabbits eat poorly and digest it. Low price for rabbits hay from marsh grasses. Harvested hay for rabbits should be green with a pleasant fragrant smell. It is best to store hay in a shed on a wooden flooring, which is arranged at a height of at least 50 cm from the ground.
For an adult female without young stock, it is necessary to harvest no less than 40 kg of hay for a year, and no less than 10-15 kg per head of young stock grown in winter up to 4-5 months of age. If there is over-dried hay for rabbits, then it is better to process it into flour, which can be fed by mixing with some soft food. Grass flour is also fed in the same way. For rabbits, grass flour is not suitable for artificial, but natural drying. The least nutritious rough feed for rabbits is straw. It contains a lot of fiber, little protein and other nutrients. It is poorly eaten and absorbed by rabbits. It is fed mainly to adult animals during periods of their physiological rest when there are no other roughage. For this purpose, only suitable oatmeal, millet, pea and lentil straw. Any other straw can only be used as a litter.
When harvesting a hardwood rabbit feed for the winter, branches should be cut no more than 0.3-0.5 cm thick and about 50 cm long. Cut branches should be tied into brooms about 10 cm thick at the base. Brooms should be hung out to dry well. ventilated canopies. 100 g of fresh green leaves, harvested in summer, contain about 30 g of feed units, 2 g of digestible protein, and dry, respectively, 60 and 4 g. In autumn, it is possible to harvest for the winter and fallen leaves of the above-mentioned hardwood trees. However, their nutritional value is much lower than the leaves harvested in summer.