To get high-quality dietary rabbit meat and beautiful thick fur, eared must be properly fed. A balanced diet, in which the vital substances are in an optimal ratio, also increases the immunity of the animal and reduces the risk of epidemics. About the features of feeding rabbits - below.
Types and features of feed
Feed that is given to rabbits is divided into several types.
By this concept is meant various vegetation, which consists of 70–90% of water. These are silage and a variety of vegetables:
- Potatoes. Potato tubers are poor in vitamins, but they are rich in starch, which is quickly absorbed and digested. The tubers are fed boiled, they are added to the mash. Fresh potatoes are allowed to be given in small quantities in the form of peeling. Raw potatoes are not fed to pregnant females.
- Carrot. It is rich in carotenes. It is given to male males, puppet and lactating females, growing young rabbits. Adults are fed up to 500 g per day, young animals starting from 20-25 days of age, 20-30 g each (pre-crushed), then gradually increase the portion to 100-200 g.
- Pumpkin. Pumpkin is also rich in carotene. In addition, it is distinguished by good keeping quality, therefore, it can be in the diet from autumn to spring. Rabbits are given it, cut into small pieces.
- Feed and sugar beets. Rabbits and fodder beets eat well, but if they are given in large quantities, bean hay of good quality and a small amount of feed must be added to the diet. Sugar beets are given raw or cooked. It enhances immunity, improves blood counts. Red beets are not given to animals. A daily portion of beets per rabbit - 50 g.
- Kale. For better growth, the undercoat is given cabbage - boiled, pickled or fresh. The portion for adults is 400 g, for lactating females - 600 g, young animals - 30 g, they begin to enter it from 1 month of age. The restriction applies only to raw cabbage, as it causes bloating.
- Jerusalem artichoke. Both green mass and tubers are fed. Greens are given until the frost, because the plant has a long growing season. Tubers are well stored in the ground. This vegetable is an excellent prophylactic against intestinal diseases.
- Silage. They are made from alfalfa, legumes, clover and other meadow herbs, as well as root crops. Fresh herbs are crushed, fermented and compacted. It is stored in barrels or specially dug trenches, covered with sawdust and covered with clay. There is no rot and mold in a quality silo; it has normal acidity. Livestock is accustomed to silage gradually from 3 months of age. The first portion is 50 g. For adults (weighing 4 kg) - 300 g per day, for pregnant rabbits - 200 g, lactating females - 300-400 g.
- Fruits and berries. Preference is given to hard fruits - apples and pears. However, rabbits have poor digestion - bloating often occurs, which is why experts recommend feeding them vegetables.
The most nutritious juicy foods are red carrots and fodder cabbage.
It is also vegetable, but already dry, a large proportion is fiber. This is a nutritious food that provides a sufficient amount of diet. When it is eaten, the incisors grind off in animals, and when digested, the necessary amount of heat is released, which helps the body maintain a normal body temperature.
- Hay. Bean hay contains several times more protein than cereal. The grass is mowed before flowering or at the very beginning, and dried in the shade. Properly prepared hay has a green color and a pleasant aroma.
Drying in direct sunlight, getting grass in the rain, mowing it after flowering reduces the nutritional value of the feed. It becomes coarser and poorly absorbed by the body. And also use hay from wild herbs - steppe, meadow, forest.
The main disadvantage when feeding rabbits with hay is its large loss. The most valuable parts of the plant are leaflets, young stems are more often found on the floor, and the animal has to be content with the stems.
- Haylage. At industrial enterprises, a solution was found; they store hay in pressed briquettes. For large private farms, another method of storing herbs is effective - haylage. These are thin-stalked herbaceous plants harvested in the early stages of vegetation, that is, they contain the maximum amount of nutrients, and are dried to a moisture content of 50-55%. Feeding haylage in the winter. This helps diversify the rabbit menu.
- Straw. Another type of roughage, but for some reason it is believed that it is suitable only for bedding and rabbits do not eat it. However, animals, especially rabbits, strongly disagree with this and eagerly eat it.
The straw that goes into food must be clean and have a characteristic luster. Rabbits love barley, pea, soy and oat. But it should be remembered that oat straw has a laxative effect, and barley, on the contrary, fixes it.
Straw is usually fed if there is not enough fiber in the diet, replacing it with 20-25% of hay. Give it in crushed or steamed form, adding molasses or 1% saline.
- Branch feed. It is necessary for grinding rabbit incisors. For this reason, in the diet should always be present branches of deciduous and coniferous trees. They are harvested in June-July, when most of them have leaves, which means that they contain the maximum amount of nutrients.
Choose branches with a diameter of 0.5-1 cm, tie them with brooms and dry in the shade. Branches replace up to 50% of roughage. Rabbits eat almost all branches and buds of deciduous trees.
In case of digestive upset and the occurrence of diarrhea, they are given shoots of oak and alder, because they contain astringents. The needles of juniper, pine and spruce are rich in macro- and microelements. They improve appetite, give shine to wool, and tenderness and aroma to meat. It contains phytoncides with antimicrobial, antiseptic and anthelmintic effects. Young coniferous branches give in a day or use coniferous flour, adding it to the mash at the rate of 150-300 g per 1 kg of live weight.
In the video presented, the breeder tells what feeds his rabbits:
The most nutritious and valuable composition is considered to be hay from legumes and cereals.
The following table presents the maximum daily dose of roughage (g):
|Type of feed||Adult at rest, g||Sucral females, g||Lactating females, g||Young growth|
|Hay||200||175||300||Enter from the 1st month - 20 g, gradually increasing the portion to 200 g by 6 months.|
|Branch feed||100||100||150||Enter from the 1st month - 20 g, gradually increasing the portion to 200 g by 6 months.|
This is a mandatory component of food in the spring-summer season - from early spring to late autumn. Various garden tops, greens and grass go to food. They are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Fresh grass is dried before being given to animals. With a small population, it is enough to plant 2-3 beds with peas, alfalfa, sainfoin, rye, wheat or oats. Root crops, dill, rhubarb, and celery are also taken from the garden.
Lactating rabbits are given dandelion leaves and dill to increase the volume of milk. Parsley, on the contrary, slows down its release.
Of the wild herbs, nettle, sow thistle, dandelion, and wheat grass are useful to them. As well as wormwood, yarrow and chicory. But the latter do not feed lactating rabbits, since milk becomes bitter, and rabbits refuse it.
Concentrated feeds are high in calories, they are rich in proteins and minerals, but are poor in vitamins, amino acids, and some trace elements.
- Grains of cereals and legumes - oats, barley, wheat, corn. Oats are fed in whole, crushed or flattened form. It has beneficial effects on reproductive function and does not contribute to obesity. Wheat contains phosphorus. But if you feed only her, rabbits have an intestinal bloating, and with prolonged use in animals, the mineral metabolism is disturbed.
Corn in terms of nutritional value of the above grains, but very hard for incisors. Corn grains are given only in soaked or crushed form, or porridge is cooked from them. The proportion of corn in the grain mixture should not exceed half, as it causes obesity.
Barley is useful for young and lactating rabbits. It is nutritious and improves digestion. However, the grains are covered with indigestible films, so they must first be destroyed at the mill, that is, ground.
- Compound feed. They are loose and granular. The latter is a ready-made balanced diet for animals. It already contains all the vitamins, minerals, and there is also animal feed, which includes antibiotics and other medicines.
The composition of the feed:
- grain of cereals and legumes in the crushed or crushed form;
- animal feed;
- herbal flour;
- waste from the dairy, flour milling, oil extraction industry;
- vitamin and mineral complexes.
For feeding rabbits, you can purchase any compound feed, with the exception of only compound feed intended for feeding birds, since it has shells.
- Legumes Legumes are a source of protein. Rabbits willingly eat sainfoin seeds, but they must be mixed with cereals, because protein overfeeding causes abortion in the second part of the succession of the rabbit or its death due to paralysis due to intoxication of the body.
- Bran. The product is rich in B vitamins and fiber, it stimulates the formation of milk.
- Cake, meal. They are rich in iron and phosphorus. In their pure form they are not used. Pre-brew them with boiling water and add to the feed or boiled vegetables. Use cake from flax, soybeans, sunflower, hemp.
You can’t add cotton cake to food, because it contains toxic substances. Meal meal is less rich in fats, but they bypass the cake in protein content, and use meal from sunflower, soy and flax.
- Flour of animal origin. Fish and meat and bone meal in their natural form are usually not used, since it can cause poisoning. They are usually added to granular feed as a source of protein.
The proportion of concentrates in the diet depends on the season and can be up to 60%.
Vitamins and Minerals
When feeding rabbits with mixed feeds, the need for vitamin and mineral complexes disappears. As vitamin supplements recommend:
- Yeast. They are rich in proteins and vitamins of groups B (with the exception of B12), D and other biological active substances that help to better absorb protein-carbohydrate foods. Dry brewer's yeast is considered the most nutritious, slightly inferior in terms of vitamin content - baking and fodder.
- Herbal flour. The vitamin composition is rich in proteins, macro- and microelements, carotene. It has a positive effect on the growth and vitality of animals, their fertility and resistance to disease.
- Coniferous flour. It contains chlorophyll, vitamins, macro- and microelements, phytohormones, volatile, bacteriostatic and anthelmintic substances.
To replenish mineral reserves in the diet, enter:
- A piece of chalk. It contains 37-40% calcium, in the form of powder or lumps of various sizes. Construction chalk is not suitable for feeding, it has various toxic impurities.
- Bone meal. It contains calcium up to 265 g and up to 145 g of phosphorus.
- Salt is a source of sodium. It is administered in order to balance the ratio of sodium and potassium in the diet. The last element is rich in vegetable feed. 1 kg of salt contains up to 40 mg of sodium.
All of the above additives are administered in an amount of 0.5-1% (by weight).
How to feed rabbits at different times of the year?
Depending on the time of year, the diet of rabbits is enriched with various types of food.
The approximate menu for adult rabbits at rest is presented in the table:
|Feed Type / Season||Summer (in 1 day)||Winter (in 1 day)|
|Concentrated Feed (g)||100||200|
|Green feed (g)||600||-|
|Juicy feed (g)||-||300|
Features of feeding in the summer
In the warm season, when there is a lot of juicy and green food, their share prevails in the menu of adult rabbits, and only a small part falls on concentrates. If the basis of nutrition is made up of branches and vegetables, then the portion of greens is reduced by half. Since plant foods contain a large amount of potassium, salt is added.
Three meals a day:
- morning - 1/2 of the norm of concentrated feed and 1/3 of the grass;
- day - 1/2 of the norm of green feed;
- evening - 1/2 norm of concentrates, 1/3 of green feed and branches.
Features of feeding in the winter
With the onset of cold weather, eared need highly nutritious food. In the diet, the proportion of concentrated and roughage is increased, and silage and root crops are added.
Three meals a day
- morning - 1/2 concentrated feed and hay;
- day - juicy food;
- evening - 1/2 of the concentrates and hay, branch feed.
Composition and nutritional norms depending on various factors
Depending on the gender, age and purpose of the rabbits, the diet will also be different.
What to feed the rabbit?
The diet of lactating rabbits is enriched with vitamins and minerals to the maximum, since rabbits are fed exclusively by mother's milk.
|Feed / Periods||During pregnancy||With lactation|
|Concentrates (g)||in winter - 120|
in summer - 80
|in winter - 160|
in the summer - 140
|Green (g)||in the summer - 600||in the summer - up to 2,000|
|Coarse (g)||in winter - 200||in winter —250|
|Juicy (g)||in winter - 250||in winter - 450|
Baby rabbits feeding
The first 2 weeks after birth, the rabbits should be fed breast milk, so at this time more attention should be paid to the nutrition of the nursing rabbit. It happens that the kids begin to lose weight, then without waiting for 20 days, they introduce dry feed and hay.
- At the age of 3 weeks, young rabbits begin to change teeth. They are able to chew on more coarse foods. Twice a week they are fed with dried grass, but succulent food is still prohibited.
- At the age of 1 month, mixers, fresh hay and grass are introduced into the diet. However, babies continue to eat mother’s milk, but now its share in the diet is only 20% of the total feed consumed.
- At 3 months old, the rabbits are separated from the mother, the food becomes diverse to dry food and bran, grass and a small amount of fresh vegetables are added to the hay.
Nutrition standards for rabbits depending on age are presented in the table:
|Type of feed / Age||1 to 2 months||3 to 4 months||5 to 7 months|
|Root crops (g)||-||300||350|
Feeding for slaughter (fattening)
The diet of rabbits that are fed for slaughter is different from the diet of ordinary rabbits. An exemplary rabbit feeding pattern is presented in the table below:
|Feed Type / Season||Winter (for 1 day)||Summer (for 1 day)|
|Green feed (g)||-||700|
|Root crops (g)||500||-|
Meat and fur rabbit food
The rabbit is grown for dietary meat ( meat breeds ) or warm dense fluff (fur breeds). The nutrition of these two species differ from each other. The ration rate for down representatives is increased by 20-25%. They need more energy and sulfur-containing amino acids, which are part of the fluff. Therefore, throughout the season, they are daily given 3 g of bone meal and 11.5 g of table salt. When collecting fluff, 115 mg of cobalt chloride per 1 rabbit is added once a week to food.
The table shows the annual demand for feed of fur breeds:
|Juicy (root vegetables)||91|
In the diet of meat breeds, animal and vegetable protein must be present. The main sources of protein are green mass, oilcake and bone meal. At the same time, protein food should account for at least 20%. The remaining 80% is carbohydrates. They are found in large quantities in legumes, cereals and root crops. Records for their content of vegetables - carrots, alfalfa and turnip.
Granular feed is an essential component of the nutrition of meat breeds.
The ration of decorative rabbits
Decorative rabbits need grinding their teeth, so they will bite everything in the apartment if they do not keep them in a cage. This should be borne in mind when choosing a pet. The basis for feeding rabbits at home is hay and grass.
For good digestion, it is better to stock them with dandelion leaves, burdock, tansy, sow thistle and white clover. Juicy food is given to them fresh or boiled - they are red carrots, green beans, beets, cabbage, as well as apples and pears. Cabbage and beets are fed in limited quantities.
Be sure to include in the diet cereals - rye, oats, barley. To grind their teeth, rabbits are given twig feed or special sticks made from grain and enriched with trace elements.
In stores, you can buy ready-made balanced feed, but at least 20% of the total food intake should be juicy and green varieties. A decorative rabbit should always have access to clean water and hay.
What is forbidden to feed rabbits?
There are exceptions to each type of feed. For rabbits, these are plants that contain toxic substances.
From green fodder it is forbidden to give:
- lily of the valley;
From branch feed (rough) do not use shoots of broom, wolf bast, buckthorn, bird cherry, wild rosemary and elderberry, all for the same reason - they contain poisonous substances. The same applies to the shoots of garden stone fruits - apricot, cherry, plum, cherry and peach, containing hydrocyanic acid.
Of the conifers, paws of cedar and fir are not used, since they contain a large amount of essential oils.
When feeding succulent feeds, the restriction applies to turnips, cabbage, swede, and beets. These vegetables are given in small quantities or are excluded from the menu. They provoke bloating, from which animals can die.
Rabbits are herbivores. It is forbidden to give leftovers from the table, including bread, confectionery, etc.
When, how and how much to give water?
Animals have a very fast metabolism, so they often drink a lot. In the summer, part of the water enters the body of the animal with fresh herbs, so it is enough to drink 1 liter of fresh clean water. The female who feeds the cubs needs 2 times more water - about 2 liters per day.
In winter, with the introduction of a large number of concentrated and dry feeds into the diet, water consumption increases. Drinking bowls should be constantly filled. Water is changed daily. Rabbits may refuse to drink chlorinated tap water because they are very sensitive to this element. It is better to pre-filter or defend it. Higher-quality water is considered to be thawed, obtained from pure ice or snow.
The nutrition of rabbits depends on a number of factors. Often, beginning rabbit breeders suffer losses due to an improperly prepared diet, forgetting to take into account the numerous nuances. In addition, given the weak digestive system of the eared, nutritional errors can lead to disastrous consequences, up to the death of animals.