Sometimes it happens that rabbits, barely born, are left without mother's milk and care. Then these concerns fall on the shoulders of the person. Feeding rabbits without a rabbit is a serious and responsible matter, because the life of the kids depends on the speed of decision-making and subsequent actions.
Why are rabbits left without breast milk and care? What is the danger?
The decision in favor of artificial feeding is made by the farmer for one of the following reasons:
- barely sprinkled, the female refuses to rabbits and throws them;
- the rabbit has no milk or mastitis has developed;
- the female is in a very serious condition after an okrol or she has died;
- another nurse does not accept babies.
It is especially dangerous for rabbits when the female dies, not having time to feed them with valuable colostrum for the first time. It contains antibodies necessary for babies to help develop their own immunity.
Care and care of a person will not replace mothers with cubs, and wrong actions by breeders increase the mortality rate.
Decorative rabbits are less likely to survive, and meat breeds, even when artificially fed, grow into healthy, strong individuals.
What to try before artificial feeding?
The purpose of artificial feeding is not only to provide satiety for rabbits, but also comprehensive care for the offspring. Before you begin duties, try the following alternatives:
- Find a nurse for offspring. Such a course of events is possible if the breeder has several queens. You can’t just plant rabbits for another nursing female. There is practically no chance that she will accept someone else’s offspring.
Therefore, remove the rabbit for half an hour in another cage, and wipe the kids down and straw from her home. The nurse will return to the cage and will probably accept new wards.
- Awaken parental instinct. Most often, after the first birthing, the mother does not want to feed her babies. Try to solve this problem by simply holding the rabbit during several feeding processes.
With a favorable outcome, while feeding on mother's milk, rabbits quickly get stronger and begin to gain weight. But it happens that these tips do not help.
How to feed rabbits the first 30 days?
Rabbits are born completely blind, without wool. The first fluff on the body begins to grow on the 6th day, and the opening of the eyes occurs on the 10th day. Newborns weigh 60-90 g, but with comprehensive care and nutrition, they quickly gain weight and grow.
The farmer should prepare for artificial feeding of the offspring - to master the skills of care and to acquire equipment.
Feeding rabbits requires nipples and containers.
Buy an animal feed kit from the store. It includes a special syringe with rubber nozzles of various shapes and sizes. This set is sold in the form of a bottle with several special nipples.
You can do it with improvised means:
- Use a syringe and a rubber nozzle from a pipette for feeding, making several small holes in it.
- A bottle of eye drops is suitable for the procedure. For convenience, use it together with a pipette tip.
- A small baby bottle is useful for older animals.
The process of artificial feeding should be as natural as possible.
Before opening the eyes, the reaction of rabbits to nipple substitutes is weak. When pouring milk into the oral cavity, be careful and not rush, otherwise the little rabbit may choke or choke.
Newborn rabbits require high-quality nutrition. Rabbit milk substitutes include:
- Goat milk. The best option for artificially feeding rabbits. No need to dilute or add something, because the composition is similar to rabbit’s milk, only slightly inferior to it in fat content.
- Cow's milk. The most affordable and common option for replacing rabbit milk. In its pure form, it can not be fed to babies, because in its composition there are not enough carbohydrates. Mix cow's milk with condensed milk in a ratio of 3: 1. Warm the mixture for 40-60 minutes. at a temperature of 70. Before feeding, cool to 37 degrees.
- Special blends. Sold in pet stores and veterinary pharmacies in a large assortment. Buy milk substitutes designed to feed rabbits or dogs. In extreme cases, food for cats is suitable. By components, their composition is as similar to rabbit milk as possible.
- Baby formula . Such food is suitable for rabbits if there is a minimum of sugar and additives.
In the video you can see the principle of artificial feeding of rabbits:
Thus, the most suitable food for newborn rabbits is special dry mixes, and cow's milk is the least preferred option.
During the procedure, keep the animals upright, firmly, but not crushing. At first, rabbits may not respond to simulated nipples. Be patient.
Gently moisten the baby’s mouth with milk, he will lick it. Repeat several times. So you stimulate the sucking reflex.
During the feeding procedure, be careful that liquid does not enter the animal’s airways. This is fraught with the death of a rabbit.
Make sure that the tummy does not overflow, because the babies themselves can not yet determine the level of their satiety. When overeating, indigestion occurs and corresponding problems appear.
The feeding fluid should be 37 degrees. Store milk for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, and always use freshly prepared mixture for feeding.
Build a diet according to the needs of the cubs. Well-fed babies sleep quietly, and hungry babies squeak and are actively looking for a source of nutrition.
Dosage and frequency
The amount of the mixture and the frequency of feeding directly depend on the age of the rabbits.
The female feeds rabbits 1-3 times a day. Her milk is very nutritious, so many feeding sessions are enough for rabbits to properly develop, grow and gain weight.
But not a single mixture replaces the rabbit’s milk, so babies are fed up to 6 times a day on artificial feeding.
In the first 2 days, rabbits need a few drops of food per reception, even 1 ml of the mixture for them is an excess.
Gradually, the amount of milk needed for the development of the cubs increases, and the number of feeds decreases.
Artificial feeding by age
Organizing artificial feeding is a responsible matter. You need to be extremely careful when choosing a rabbit's diet, depending on their age and physical health. After all, errors in the quantity and quality of the diet adversely affect the cubs.
From birth to 5 days
A newborn baby rabbit lacks 1 drop of nutrient fluid. For the first day they feed 5-6 times. Since the kids have not yet learned to swallow on their own, care must be taken.
On the second day, 4-5 meals are enough. On day 5 - 4 feedings. The daily norm of milk is 5-6 ml. By the end of this period, rabbits double their weight during normal development.
From 6 to 14 days
Animals grow up and the amount of nutrient mixture for feeding increases. They drink 7-10 ml of milk per day. The number of feeds remains the same, or decreases to 3. The weight of the rabbits reaches 250 g.
From 15 to 30 day
From the 15th day, the animals are transferred to two meals a day. In the first 2-3 days, observe the behavior of young animals and, if signs of hunger are present, feed them with a small amount of the mixture in 3 feedings.
The amount of the mixture per day by the end of the month reaches 60 ml. So far this is their main food. Wean from the nipples should be 20-25 days.
Readiness for feeding is determined by the condition of the teeth. If molars replaced milk, then you can gradually introduce solid food and teach to drink from a saucer.
The mass of animals at the end of the period reaches about 500 g.
|Rabbit development period||The number of feedings per day, times||Mix rate for 1 feeding on 1 individual, ml|
|From birth to 5 days||5||1|
|From 6 to 14 days||3-4||7-10|
|From 15 to 30 day||2-3||60|
Starting from the third week, put small piles of dry grass in the cage - so you prepare the rabbits for solid food.
At this time, it is important to monitor changes in the stool of babies. If you have diarrhea, immediately remove the hay from the diet. If adaptation to the new food goes without problems, then add a small amount of feed, grass, carrots.
From 31 days, if there is no shortage in weight, the rabbits are gradually removed from the diet of milk. When the offspring is 45 days old, the diet of their diet is completely transferred to an adult.
Vitamin A and Vitamin D
In nature, rabbits get the necessary vitamins and minerals with their mother’s milk, and then - from a diverse adult diet. Individuals who are on artificial feeding need more vitamin supplements.
If the body lacks vitamin A , then rabbits suffer from a runny nose and dry eyes. It is this vitamin that is responsible for the desire to multiply and have healthy offspring, as well as the healthy functioning of the nervous system. Its sources are: beet tops, carrots, cabbage leaves, young grass, etc.
Vitamin D is responsible for bone formation. With its shortage, growth retardation and various deformations of the limbs and spine are possible. Vitamin D is produced by the body itself under the influence of sunlight. This will help bone meal, fish oil, milk. Feed foods in places where the sun's rays do not have access, because under their influence, vitamin D is destroyed.
Oatmeal and oat sprouts
Oat is a fundamental cereal in rabbit nutrition, containing a whole storehouse of vitamins and minerals. Its calorie content is 336 kcal / 100 g. It can occupy up to 50% of the total mass of feed. Rabbits on this feed gain weight well, but oats do not cause obesity.
This cereal is introduced into the diet of rabbits as soon as they begin to feed on their own. First, they are fed with oatmeal or crushed grain, and then they switch to feeding with whole cereal.
Animals love to eat such food up to 5 times a day, and adults - 3 times a day.
Oat seedlings have a good effect on the reproductive system of rabbits. For mating, it is introduced into the diet for both males and rabbits. Oats help lactating females recover after okroli and stimulate the production of nutritious milk.
The beneficial substances rich in oat germinated have a beneficial effect on the digestive tract of animals. Appetite increases, the fur becomes beautiful and shiny, body weight grows.
Be sure to put a drinker in the cage if dry cereal feed predominates in the rabbits ’diet.
Bone meal and chalk
Bone meal is a powder from the bones of animals and birds, a valuable source of calcium, phosphorus, fluorine, zinc, iron, protein and other micro and macro elements.
By introducing it into complementary foods, the likelihood of diseases associated with the musculoskeletal system in rabbits is significantly reduced. Thanks to proteins, the muscle mass of animals grows faster.
The doses indicated on the packaging of bone meal must be strictly observed. An overdose is even more dangerous than the problems associated with the lack of this bait:
- The stomach of rabbits becomes clogged with a jelly-like mass, due to which animals often die.
- Females become aggressive, lose their ability to reproduce.
- There are cases of cannibalism among individuals.
If the rudiments of these problems have appeared, reduce the servings, or remove the flour from the diet.
Chalk is a safe mineral supplement that provides calcium to the body. It can be used in powder form, in lumpy form and in mineral briquettes. Chalk is useful for the prevention of bone disease.
Branches and acorns
Branches of trees and shrubs are used not only as feed. Some are useful for the prevention of ailments.
So, for example, walnut branches remove parasites, linden and willow from the body - they work as an anesthetic, birch trees - as a diuretic. Give them to rabbits infrequently, as needed.
Trees and shrubs whose branches can be used as a constant feeding include:
- Apple tree, acacia, poplar, hazel, ash, linden, maple, aspen, mulberry, etc.
- Raspberries, currants, grapes.
Trees whose branches can be given to rabbits occasionally :
- Pear, mountain ash, oak, chestnut.
- Pine, juniper.
You can not use in the diet branches of bird cherry, lilac, elderberry, ledum.
Acorns are another nutritious food for rabbits. Feeding them is allowed both green and dry. The norm of acorns per day for an adult is 50 g.
Introduce them into the diet gradually - first in the form of flour, as an additive to the main grain feed, and then as an independent feeding. Rabbits really like to chew on them.
For more information, read our article on how, when, and how to feed rabbits .
Salt is used not only as a seasoning. Chlorine ions contribute to the production of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice, and sodium ions are responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses.
Rabbits gnaw wooden partitions in the cage due to a lack of salt. This indicates such problems:
- metabolic disorders;
- decreased productivity of offspring, increased number of miscarriages;
- slow growth of newborn animals;
- gastrointestinal tract diseases;
- water-salt imbalance and diseases associated with blood formation.
It is customary to give table salt in combination with chalk. For this, mineral briquettes are prepared. The following components will be required:
- 500 g of feed chalk;
- 500 g of red clay flour;
- 300 g of chopped charcoal flour from hardwood;
- 5 tbsp. l salts;
- 3 tbsp. l feed sulfur.
Mix the ingredients with water until a thick dough is obtained. From it fashion molds the size of a matchbox. String them on a wire. Dry first in the shade and then in the sun. Burn like clay in an oven.
Place one in each rabbit cage. They themselves will learn to gnaw the briquette in the amount that is required by their body.
Rabbits do not differ in good health, the digestive tract is their weak point. Gastrointestinal stasis is common in these animals when the stomach stops working and the individual dies.
Acidophilus is a complex of beneficial lactobacilli. It helps digest food in the colon and protects against harmful bacteria, the growth of which leads to bloating, diarrhea and other troubles.
This drug will help when taking antibiotics, when the entire intestinal microflora is destroyed.
What are cecotrophs, why are they needed and where to get it?
Cecotrophs are the primary feces of a rabbit. It has an oblong shape, often resembles a bunch of grapes due to sticking spools. Color ranges from light green to black. The smell is unpleasant, sour.
This feces is formed in a special compartment of the cecum, which is present only in rabbits. Therefore, do not confuse cecotrophs with regular feces.
Usually rabbits eat cecotrophs from the age of 20 days as soon as they leave the body. Thus, they re-absorb vitamins and minerals. Without this, animals would suffer from vitamin deficiency.
If there are too many cecotrophs, the animal does not eat them, which means you overfeed the rabbit with cereals. Remove cereals from the diet for a couple of days, leaving water, branches and hay.
The second reason can be worms. Fight against parasites and everything will return to normal.
Advantages and disadvantages of human rabbit feeding
Artificial feeding of rabbits has its positive and negative sides.
The benefits include:
- Accustomed to milk substitutes, rabbits are unpretentious to food.
- Good appetite leads to weight gain and growth of individuals.
- The diet is adjusted to the person and his abilities.
The disadvantages of artificial feeding:
- The nutritional value, the composition of vitamins and minerals in substitutes is much lower than in natural rabbit milk.
- The inability to transmit antibodies, which means weakened immunity of the offspring.
- The difficulty of accustoming to the nipple.
- Injuries to the rabbit during feeding are possible.
- The constant presence of a person near the kids for care and care.
The sooner the rabbits are left without a uterus, the more complex care they need. The conditions of detention and the feeding regime require a great responsibility and commitment from a person.
Lighting and heat
Newborn rabbits require special care, attention should be paid to lighting and warmth when raising babies.
There must be a place in the cage where the sun's rays do not reach. Direct sunlight is dangerous for animals. Daylight should be dim, and at night it is recommended to turn off the light.
Rabbits should be warm. To do this, build a nest from the fluff of adult rabbits or put a heating pad in a cage. The temperature is considered optimal when the person’s hand is comfortable, not hot.
Cleanliness when caring for rabbits is necessary, because without immunity they have a great susceptibility to microbes and bacteria.
Boil the dishes and nipples before use. Mix the mixture before feeding, according to the instructions. Store milk in the refrigerator for no more than 3 days.
Before feeding, wash your hands with non-fragrance soap and dry with a towel. After feeding, clean the babies from food debris and stool.
Emptying the intestines and bladder requires special attention, because the kids do not know how to cope with this.
The female licks the rabbit before feeding, pressing the tongue on the stomach, moving from the navel to the hind legs. Thus, it causes the intestines and bladder to empty.
The person who replaces the rabbit's mother should not forget about this procedure. Otherwise, the bladder will burst.
Before each feeding, a rabbit’s belly massage is necessary with a damp soft rag or a piece of cotton wool.
This manipulation is completed when the offspring are more than 14 days old.
In healthy rabbits, the stomach is elastic and slightly convex. If he is sunken, then this is a sign of gastrointestinal problems.
In the video below, the breeder clearly shows how to massage the stomach of a rabbit before feeding:
Caring for orphaned rabbits requires a lot of strength, skills and patience from a person. Only in this way will they survive and grow into beautiful healthy individuals.