The gastrointestinal tract of rabbits has not changed since the times of domestication, which means that hay should be the main component in the animal’s diet. In addition to fresh and dried grass, in nature, a rabbit can nibble the bark of young fruit trees. He usually gets grain in small quantities during the ripening period of wild cereal grasses, together with the stems of these plants.
The diet of domesticated rabbits differs from the food of the wild only in the possibility of obtaining succulent fodder in winter, which wild animals lack. Amateur traders to save expensive feed added to the diet of their rabbit’s delicious food and kitchen trim. Or make wet mash mixed with bran. What rabbits eat is not very different from the menu of domestic rabbits bred for meat. Hay bunnies get the same. Compound feed for a rabbit may differ in chemical composition, as some feeds are specially designed for animals. There is feed for problem rabbits. But the principle is the same: grain mixture. They can also get a good feed. But it already depends on the courage of the owners of the animal.
Rabbit food is divided into three broad groups: coarse, concentrated and juicy.
Rough food is a high-fiber food per 100 g dry weight. That is hay, straw, and tree branches.
In addition to the quality levels, hay is also divided by nutritional value and chemical composition. But if the chemical composition will have to be checked in the laboratory, which the average owner is unlikely to do, then the average nutritional value of hay is usually known from reference books. However, very nourishing feed for rabbits is not needed; it will instead be harmful to them since it will lead to obesity.
In the first place in the rating of hay for rabbits is timothy hay. On the second meadow grass. It is hay from wild herbs. Further, alfalfa hay and oat straw, which was harvested in the period of milky ripeness of oats.
Alfalfa hay is undesirable for rabbits older than six months, as it has a very high protein content. Adult rabbits, in order not to become fat, enough low-protein hay and grain pellets. But old animals will not be able to chew hay and gnaw hard granules, specially designed to keep growing teeth in rabbits. Grass meal is available in two forms: in granules and bulk. Depending on the condition of the rabbit’s teeth, you can choose the appropriate type.
Oatmeal, despite its name, is readily eaten by rabbits and entirely replaces hay. But the first condition for quality straw should be its green colour, indicating that it was mowed in the stage of raw oats. Animals do not eat the stems of ripe oats.
Timothy grass, alfalfa, and oat straw – homogeneous hay. But on the meadow grass is to talk separately.
Hay is good because a variety of herbs that contain different amounts of microelements and vitamins, complement each other. But in the same hay lies the danger for rabbits. Many fresh poisonous herbs do not lose their properties even when dry.
These plants include:
- hemlock spotted;
- Avran officinalis;
- poisonous milestones, he cycut;
- larkspur field;
- wild mustard;
- St. John’s wort;
- buttercup, almost all species;
- cockle. This plant is poisonous only seeds that can get into the hay along with the stem;
There is also a seeded meadow forbs. In such hay poisonous plants will not fall, but the collection of herbs is poorer.
In winter, rabbits are often harvested with bark. Theoretically, only branches are needed, but no one breaks off the leaves, so the rabbit gets a broom from the twigs with the leaves. You can give and new branches. Gnawing on the bark, the rabbit grinds its teeth. In this case, a bundle of offices or a relatively thick pole can serve as toys at the same time.
Rabbits are given branches of hardwood trees and conifers in winter.
There is a lot of prussic acids in the core one rocks and the spring needles of essential oils.
Often rabbits harvested brooms from lime, willow or birch. Oak branches are best kept as a remedy for diarrhea. Brooms cannot be dried in the sun. They are dried under a canopy in the shade so that the branches are blown with air. Harvested linden during the flowering season will appeal to animals.
Any of these varieties refer to concentrated feed. That is, to feed, which with a small volume of consumption, give a maximum weight gain or energy.
Some rabbit breeders believe that the most natural food for rabbits will be a mixture of whole grains. This mixture contributes to the grinding of teeth, as many grains have a tough seed. It is also convenient to use such a combination because of the possibility to mix the grain in the right proportions personally.
Since legumes are known for their ability to swell sharply when soaking, they are best given in the form of a hammer.
It is for this reason that the rabbit feed is a better grain mixture.
The word “compound feed” itself is an abbreviation for the phrase “combined feed,” that is, feed with several types of grain. Therefore, the compound feed, strictly speaking, is any grain mixture with more than one component.
But after the appearance of the granules, the name “grain mixture” stuck behind the mixture of whole grains, the mix of several types of crushed grains – “feed,” began to be called granules, although they are compressed feed. A different kind of feed containing flattened grain, called “muesli.”
When choosing what to feed the rabbit at home, keep in mind that the feed of any rabbit needs a little. A maximum of a few tablespoons, if meant by a large breed.
Feeding of rabbits with mixed food is usually done two times a day. However, how many times to feed the rabbit, decides the owner. Some recommend leaving the pellets freely available around the clock. But for a rabbit such a regime is undesirable. So, feed the rabbits at the farm for slaughter, or feed the broth according to this scheme, as the rabbit needs a healthy diet.
However, for rabbits, you can already find specially made pellets, which take into account the rabbit needs, and the owner does not need to do the most feed.
The liquid feed includes not only fruits, vegetables, and roots, but also fresh grass and silage. The latter is usually given to rabbits on farms. It can provoke fermentation in the intestines. Therefore, the replacement of silage at home – sauerkraut is also better not to give.
It is believed that rabbits are very fond of good feed, but for a pet rabbit, two months or younger, such feed is deadly. Its digestive system is not yet developed, and it lacks the necessary microflora. Since rabbits appear from the nest and begin to try “adult” food after 15 days, delicious food should not be given to the rabbit.
From the age of 3 months, the rabbit can begin to give a little bit of celery or parsley. But to start to feed the beast, fresh plants should be very careful about a bit of bit, carefully watching his well-being.
What you can feed a rabbit:
- Chinese cabbage;
- potatoes without signs of greening;
- dried grass;
- fodder beet.
What can not feed the rabbits:
- greened potatoes;
- grass wet from rain or dew;
- wet clover;
- fresh leaves of cabbage.
The task of the rabbit owner is to feed the animal the required amount of hay and animal feed without large intervals between meals, providing the most natural food for the animal. But if the hay and mixed fodder are constantly lying in free access, so that the animal can constantly chew and ensure its normal functioning of the intestine, then the animal will become obese. If you take long breaks and give out food only in the morning and in the evening, blockages of food masses in the intestines are inevitable.
Therefore, the rabbit needs to make it as difficult as possible to access the feed, forcing it to engage in the extraction of its daily ration of food all day. You can do this by sticking hay in such a ball.
A ball with hay can be hung or left to roll on the floor. It is better to hang, because, throwing the ball, the animal will be able to push it into a corner and then it will not be difficult for the rabbit to eat hay.
In a similar bowl can be placed succulent feed.
And for the extraction of pellets, the animal will also have to develop the intellect, simultaneously winding kilometers. Shaking the pellets out of such a ball is no easy task.
The second option is worse. The animal will quickly figure out how to get the pellets, and this toy will take him a short time.
The advantage of such feeding troughs is that they occupy the animal for the whole day, and it has no time for them.
You can pamper your pet with twigs by making him an “anti-tank hedgehog” from the tub of toilet paper and cutting and removing branches from the leaves.
And play – you can throw, and chew.
In feeding rabbits, in contrast to farmers, it is vital to observe between constant chewing all day and the minimum necessary daily intake of feed. Determine the shortage or excess of feed by periodically monitoring the weight of the animal.