Ornamental rabbits are illegible in food, they start to ache because of improper feeding and can quickly die. Therefore, the question of how to feed a decorative rabbit, you must resolve even before buying a fluffy animal.
What to feed a decorative rabbit
Rules of feeding and diet
It is easy to feed ornamental rabbits. Feeding rules dictate the structure of the stomach and intestines of lagomorphs and especially their digestion. The stomach of the animal consists of two sections: in the first, fermentation takes place, in the second – digestion of food with the enzyme pepsin. Rabbits have a long intestinal tract and a large cecum in which food actively ferments, which is why a stable bacterial balance is maintained in the intestine.
Rabbit digestive system
In the enclosure of decorative rabbits should always be food. Hunger for these animals is contraindicated, as the digested food moves through the intestines only at the expense of the newly ingested food. If there is a break in feeding, excessive fermentation and decay of the feces will occur in the fecal masses (in rabbits there is a special intestinal motility). As a result, the animal will suffer from abdominal pains, bacteria will multiply in highly fermented food and the pet may die.
The diet of rabbits is not tied to specific hours. Hay, bark, branches of trees and shrubs are constantly in the aviary, other food (greens, vegetables, fruits) is placed in the feeder twice a day – in the morning and in the afternoon. The drinker is regularly replenished with fresh water.
In animals, twenty-eight teeth, including incisors, their length increases by 3 mm weekly. Solid food (tree branches, green grass, vegetables and hay) constantly grind down the bone substance of growing teeth.
Gourds in the summer menu
The diet of the decorative rabbit from A to Z
The menu of decorative domestic rabbits is diverse, it includes only vegetable products. The daily diet should not be the same for many days. Products are constantly alternated to provide animals with all the useful substances for life.
Rabbits need a varied diet.
Solid food – part of the diet of lagomorphs. Rough feed for grinding teeth, animals should eat daily in the amount dictated by nature. For rough feed include:
- dried herbs;
- grass meal;
- branches of trees, shrubs and their bark.
Hay contains many nutrients
These products contain fiber, vitamins, trace elements, vegetable protein, carbohydrates. Pets can be given:
- steppe grass hay (forbs);
- meadow grass hay;
- hay from legumes and cereals.
Animals eat well all kinds of hay, but preference is given to meadow and steppe. Haylage mowed before flowering, until they become tough. On meadows, forest glades and along river banks, grass can be mowed twice during the summer – at the end of June and in August. Young leguminous plants mow once.
Hay is an excellent choice for rabbit feed.
Grass and legumes are dried on the field, after which the hay is harvested in stacks or rolls; in the fall, the product is taken to storage in open and covered warehouses. Ideally, the drying of mowed grass should be carried out under a canopy, in the absence of sunlight. An adult decorative rabbit eats up to 300 grams of hay per day, 100-200 grams are enough for the young.
Decorative rabbits do not like straw and are reluctant to eat it; it can be given instead of hay only if it is temporarily absent. Straw contains less nutrients (including proteins) than hay. For domestic rabbits, they harvest or buy oatmeal, bean, pea or lentil straw.
Decorative rabbits are reluctant to eat straw
Herbal and straw flour is an additive to vegetables, fruits and other juicy foods. Ingredients are mixed before putting in the feeder.
Twisted feed and bark perfectly grinds rabbit teeth and incisors. Animals with pleasure gnaw dry branches of raspberry, fruit trees (apple, cherry, retractor), willow, acacia, willow, ash, maple, other trees. In winter, branches of coniferous trees — pine, juniper, larch, fir, and spruce — are good for grinding off incisors. Birch branch feed should be given in small quantities – this product can cause kidney disease in some individuals.
Birch branches can cause kidney disease in rabbits
Decorative rabbits should not be given branches of wolf berries, Labrador tea, heather, rakit, sumach and elderberry.
Many wild herbs, which are harvested and dried separately from hay, are classified as rough feed. Dried herbs contain fiber, minerals, vitamins. In dried form are harvested:
- stinging nettle;
- field dandelion;
- shepherd’s purse;
- wild sorrel;
Dried dandelion harvested separately from hay
In order for herbs to be juicy and contain the maximum amount of substances useful to rabbits, they should be harvested before they throw out flower stalks.
Juicy natural food
Succulent feed placed in the trough in the morning and evening. Products alternate by changing the menu once a week. Juicy products include:
- roots and tubers of vegetables (fodder beet, carrot, rutabaga, turnip; rutabaga and cabbage (Kuzika) hybrid, potatoes, turnips);
- leaf, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli;
- Bulgarian pepper;
- melon plants (zucchini, feed watermelons, eggplants, pumpkin, cantaloupe);
- silage (in the composition of the silo – tops of carrots, beets, peas, oats, maize, vetch, field grass).
Fodder beets can be given to the rabbit along with the tops
- Cabbage animals give in limited quantities. Cabbage causes gas, bloating, the animal may feel pain and discomfort. In some individuals, cabbage can cause an enlargement of the thyroid gland.
- Carrots are a favorite food for many ornamental rabbits. But eating a large amount of carrots can cause gas formation, pain in the intestines, loss of appetite.
For pets, it is better to buy fodder carrots (or table varieties with low sugar content). This vegetable is a source of vitamins (A, C, K, E, B), carotene, useful microelements, and the rabbit menu cannot do without carrots. It should not be given as a basic juicy vegetable, but as a delicacy.
Carrots should be given to the rabbit as a treat.
In rabbits, like other animals, there is an individual intolerance to products. Individual intolerance (allergic reaction) is manifested by diarrhea, vomiting, swelling, the animal may suffer from itching and redness of the skin. The supervisor will notice this and exclude the product from the pet menu.
Vegetables should be thoroughly washed before they fall into the trough. If the dirt can not be washed off – the roots are peeled.
Fruits and berries
Rabbits can eat many fruits. However, these foods contain a lot of sugar and should never be the main morning or evening food. They are given only as a treat in the amount of not more than 25 grams per kilogram of weight.
Sometimes rabbits can be given apples and pears.
The list of permitted fruit includes:
Even pineapples and kiwi can get into the rabbit’s diet.
Bananas are eaten with pleasure. The rind of this fruit contains fiber, with more nutrients than pulp. Animals love and papaya. Prunes, pineapples and papayas have a beneficial effect on the intestines. They contribute to the conclusion of clumps of wool, destroying and diluting the food and mucus around them. This is especially important during the seasonal molting period, when a lot of wool enters the intestine.
Decorative rabbit can get as a treat and berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries). But in some individuals, these products cause severe gas formation and bloating. The attentive owner will always notice which products do not fit the pet and will exclude them from the menu.
As a treat, rabbits can also be given berries.
Green products for rabbits – everything is good in moderation
Fresh grass, garden herbs are very useful for the health of pets. Protein, vitamins, minerals of green plants make animal fur thick and healthy, rabbits grow well, green food favorably affects the reproductive functions of adults. If greens are not in the menu, lactating rabbits reduce milk production, and the rabbit slows growth.
Substances contained in green foods have a beneficial effect on rabbit fur.
The diet of animals includes wild and cultivated plants. Green foods include:
- fresh tops of radish, carrot, potato, beet tops;
- cereals (green oats, winter rye);
- corn leaves and cobs;
- sunflower leaves, unripe seeds;
- bean greens (vetch, peas);
- green herbs (clover, plantain, dandelion field, yarrow, tansy, wormwood, stinging nettle and others);
- leaves of trees (rowan, aspen, linden, poplar) and shrubs (willow, alder and others).
Vegetable greens should also be included in the diet. Animals eat parsley, celery, fennel, mint, basil, thyme, leafy salads.
Green plants – a source of vitamins, fiber and trace elements. Many herbs have healing properties. So, parsley contains a lot of calcium, it has an anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and diuretic effect on the organism of animals. This grass is useful to give nursing rabbits.
Parsley has anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and diuretic effects.
One of the most desirable rabbit treats is celery. Animals eat the leaves and the root of the plant. It is a source of vitamin C and coarse fiber.
After the end of winter, green products are introduced into the diet of animals gradually, ideally, the green mass should contain several useful herbs. Rabbit breeders should remember that hay should be in the feeder all year round; green grass should not completely replace it in summer. This can cause indigestion.
In no case should wild radish get into the rabbit feeder.
There are many poisonous plants in the forests and steppes. Accidental poisonous grass in hay and green mass can lead to the death of a decorative rabbit. Vegetable poisons are especially dangerous for pregnant women and nursing rabbits and small rabbits. These plants include:
- henbane (Datura);
- wild radish;
- buttercup (all species);
- lily of the valley forest and garden;
- black root;
- raven eye;
- autumn crocus;
- backache (sleep-grass);
- cycuta (milestone poisonous);