Can you feed baby rabbits cow milk
Can Baby Rabbits Drink Cow Milk? — Rabbit Care Tips
Baby rabbits rely upon milk to survive, even though they feed less frequently than other small animals. If a rabbit’s mother is unavailable to feed her young, a nutritious replacement will be required. Rabbits move onto solid food relatively quickly, but will not survive without milk.
Cow milk is full of hormones, lactose, blood, pus, and traces of medication. Rabbits have sensitive stomachs and are unable to vomit. Your pet cannot purge her stomach if she consumes something toxic.
In an emergency, you could offer your rabbit pure goat milk. This will be easier for a baby lagomorph to digest than cow milk. But baby rabbits should always be fed a specific formula. Here’s some further advice on what to feed a baby rabbit.
Do Baby Rabbits Need Milk?
Like all mammals, baby rabbits depend upon milk from their mother to survive. Rabbits differ from many other animals, though. A mother rabbit does not feed her babies constantly. She only does so once a day, for around five minutes.
By the time she reaches two weeks, your rabbit starts to eat solids. She will eat the same food as her mother by the age of four weeks. Despite this, she still needs milk up to the age of six weeks. This provides additional nourishment.
Rabbit milk is unique among animals. It contains considerably more calories than most types of animal milk. This is because baby rabbits eat less frequently.
Not all baby rabbits have access to their mother’s milk. This could apply to both wild and domestic rabbits. A nest of wild rabbits may find themselves orphaned. Baby rabbits also wander away from a nest and get lost.
It’s also possible that a baby rabbit in captivity is separated from her mother. This should not happen until the rabbit is eight weeks old. Occasionally, it is unavoidable, though. The mother rabbit may reject her young or die.
In such an instance, the baby rabbit will still require milk. The burden of care falls upon you. Rabbits have particular needs, so you cannot rely on cow milk.
Can Baby Rabbits Drink Cow Milk?
Cow milk is not suitable for baby rabbits. In fact, cow milk may kill a rabbit. World Rabbit Science claims that the mortality rate of baby rabbits averages as high as 20%. Feeding cow milk is a needless risk. The ingredients pose a range of health risks. These include:
- Antibiotics. Many cows are riddled with disease and infection. These issues are treated with medication. These treatments make their way into the milk you are feeding a rabbit.
- Pus. Cow milk contains pus that seeps from infected udders. This pus carries the risk of bacterial infection.
- Blood. Milking a cow is not a pain-free experience. The cow is likely to bleed during the process. Traces of this blood will make its way into the bottled milk.
- Fat and Protein. Cow milk is high in both of these food groups. Too high for most rabbits, who only need small quantities. Excess fat and protein cause diarrhea in rabbits.
- Hormones. Cows are injected with hormones. Some of these are designed to calm the cow down, as farm life can be stressful. Others increase milk production. None are rabbit-friendly.
Rabbits cannot cope with most of these additional ingredients. They will likely leave the rabbit feeling unwell. Unfortunately, rabbits are not capable of vomiting. This means your pet cannot purge her stomach of toxic cow milk. To be on the safe side, never feed a baby rabbit cow milk.
Can Baby Rabbits Drink Goat Milk?
Rabbits find goat milk easier to tolerate. This does not mean that it can necessarily be considered rabbit-safe, though. It should be used as part of a formula.
The main difference between cow and goat milk is the sugar and lactose content. Goat milk is considerably lighter in both of these things. This means it’s less likely to trigger an adverse reaction.
Goat milk contains less protein and fat than cow milk. Goats are also treated with fewer hormones. This makes goat milk a little gentler on a rabbit’s digestive system.
Goat milk is fine as an emergency measure when feeding baby rabbits. Wild rabbits are more likely to cope with it. Wherever possible, feed her a specialist product that’s intended for rabbits.
So What Milk Can Rabbits Drink?
Baby rabbits should drink a special formula. This is known as Kitten Milk Replacer. It is possible to nourish a baby rabbit with this substance. While the cat food aisle of a pet store will stock kitten milk. This is NOT suitable for rabbits, and must never be given to your pet.
Baby rabbits are referred to as kittens, just like baby cats. This is where the similarities end, though. The needs of a young cat are different to that of a rabbit.
Caring for an Orphaned Baby Rabbit
If you live in a rural area, you may come across a nest of baby rabbits. You may even find a nest on your property. Rabbit mothers often build nests in hedges, where she feels her young will be safe.
It’s common to find a nest of baby rabbits with no mother in sight. How are the babies supposed to survive alone? Rabbits are frail and delicate at the best of times. When they’re babies, this goes double. How could they possibly be left alone? They must be orphaned.
While this is an understandable assumption, it’s often inaccurate. A mother rabbit will leave her babies unattended for over 23 hours of every day. This is not because she is cold and uncaring. It’s actually to protect her young.
There are two things that you need to know. Rabbits are aware they are a prey species. Rabbit milk is rich and calorific. This means that baby rabbits need only feed once a day for around five minutes.
With these facts in mind, it makes sense that a mother leaves the nest. An adult rabbit stands a fighting chance of outrunning a predator. Baby rabbits have no such chance. The mother is attempting to keep predators away from her nest.
The mother rabbit will return to the nest for feeding once a day. The rest of the time, she leaves her babies in hiding. As a result, most ‘orphaned’ rabbits are nothing of the kind, despite appearances.
If you find a nest of baby rabbits, leave it be. Check the next day, though. If nothing has changed, the rabbits may be orphaned. At this stage, call a wildlife center. Wildlife Rehabber lists these by state. In the meantime, feed the rabbits.
What to Feed Baby Rabbits without a Mother
You’ll need to ensure that the baby rabbits do not have a mother. Veterinary Partner discusses the warning signs that a rabbit is not feeding:
- The rabbit should have a healthy, full stomach. If her stomach is sunken, she is likely hungry.
- The rabbit should be active. She may even try to run away from you. A sluggish and lethargic rabbit is rarely healthy.
- The rabbit should have a pink skin tone. If she is starting to turn blue, she has not been fed.
- The rabbit should be more or less silent. Rabbits know that noise will attract predators. If the rabbit is crying out, she is hungry and frightened.
If you have established that the rabbits are in danger, you’ll need to think about feeding them. Goat milk alone may be suitable in an emergency. Realistically, you’ll need a baby rabbit milk substitute.
How to Make a Baby Bunny Milk Substitute
If you’re going to tend to a baby rabbit, you need to use a specific Kitten Milk Replacer. If unavailable, you can make up this meal replacement at home. To create your own homemade rabbit milk replacer, follow this recipe:
- Pour one cup of goat milk, and stir in an additional 56 grams of powdered goat milk.
- Stir in a tablespoon of sugar-free heavy whipping cream. This will make the formula richer, and replicate the calories found in rabbit milk.
- Heat the formula until it’s around 98-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
These ingredients will meet the needs of a young rabbit, replacing a mother’s milk like-for-like. However, if in doubt, purchase a pre-mixed milk replacement.
How Often Should Orphaned Baby Rabbits be Fed?
Just as important as the quality of milk is the quantity. This can be a real balancing act. Over-feeding or under-feeding a baby rabbit are both equally dangerous. As a rule, follow these guidelines for feeding a baby rabbit. You might need to guess the age if the rabbit was wild.
|< 1 Week Old
|2 or 2.5 cc/ml per feeding, twice a day
|1 – 2 Weeks Old
|Between 5 and 7 cc/ml per feeding, twice a day
|2 – 3 Weeks Old
|Between 7 and 13 cc/ml per feeding, twice a day
|3 – 6 Weeks Old
|Between 13 and 15 cc/ml per feeding, twice a day
If you follow these guidelines, the rabbit will flourish. The maximum time required for milk feeding is six weeks. You may find that your rabbit wishes to wean earlier, though. Encourage this if so.
Rabbits start to eat solid food after a week or two. The sooner your rabbit starts consuming hay for fiber, the better. Remember, a rabbit can’t eat too much hay. The same cannot be said about milk formula.
How to Bottle Feed Orphaned Baby Rabbits
Visit a vet or pet store and ask for a specialist animal feeding bottle. This must be entirely sterile before you use it.
- Get the rabbit comfortable, and possibly wrapped in a towel. Do not allow the rabbit to roll onto her back. She should be sitting upright to avoid flooding her lungs with fluid.
- Fill the bottle with formula and soothe the rabbit. Place the nipple of the bottle in the corner of her mouth. Remove it if she starts to chew. It may take a few attempts to get the rabbit used to having a syringe in her mouth.
- Once the rabbit accepts the bottle, SLOWLY release the milk replacement to the quantity described above. Never release the full amount at once. This leaves the rabbit at risk of choking.
- Repeat this twice a day until the rabbit is weaned.
Rabbits should never be fed cow milk under any circumstances. Rabbits cannot digest cow milk and are unlikely to survive long beyond the meal. If you find yourself unexpectedly caring for a baby rabbit, use Kitten Milk Replacer. The rabbit will feel full on solids at eight weeks of age.
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Like many other mammalian babies, baby rabbits need milk to survive at birth. They can’t survive without milk. But what happens when the mother rabbit is not on hand to feed the baby rabbit? When the mother is absent, baby rabbits can survive on other types of milk but only a few types.
So can baby rabbits drink cow milk? No, it is not advisable to feed baby rabbits with cow milk.
Baby rabbits should not be fed cow milk. Rabbits have delicate stomachs and cannot vomit. Cow milk contains high levels of substances that cannot be digested by rabbits. These substances can become toxic in the stomach of the rabbits and since rabbits cannot vomit, they become sick or die.
Due to the sensitivity of their stomachs, you have to be very careful while feeding baby rabbits. There are some things you should know before you start feeding them. These things are discussed thoroughly in the rest of this article.
Table of Contents
What Types of Milk Is Best for Baby Rabbits
By now you know not to feed your baby rabbit with cow milk. The presence of hormones, lactose, drugs, and pus in cow milk spells danger for baby rabbits. But if they cannot drink cow milk, what type of milk can they drink?
The best milk for baby rabbits is the special formula called Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR). KMR contains whey protein, probiotics, vitamins, prebiotics, fat, and carbohydrates.
These ingredients are present in similar quantities like natural rabbit milk. KMR basically mimics the milk from mother rabbits.
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KMR usually comes in powder form. You dissolve this powder in warm water and stir until it becomes like milk.
Unlike cow milk, KMR can easily be digested by baby rabbits.
Apart from KMR, another type of milk that you can feed your baby rabbit is goat milk. But you must be cautious with goat milk. There are many goat species and the content of their milk may vary significantly. Many experts recommend milk from Meyenburg goats over other types of goat milk.
Wild rabbits would tolerate goat milk more than domestic rabbits. So, if you have domestic rabbits, KMR is the best for them.
Goat milk contains less lactose, protein, and fat than cow milk. Also, goats are not treated with hormones in the same way cows are. These are the reasons goat milk is easier to digest for rabbits and why it is more tolerable.
Feeding a Baby Rabbit
Baby rabbits cannot be fed arbitrarily because of their sensitive stomach. The volume of feed to give them and the frequency of feeding are limited. Rabbits require infrequent feeding with small volumes of feed.
If you try to feed a baby rabbit more times than you should or with more volume of milk than you should, the rabbit may die.
At birth, feeding them 2 – 2.5 ml twice daily is recommended but this should be increased every week until feeding stops. Baby rabbits should never be fed more than twice a day.
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Apart from feeding volume and frequency, you must pay attention to the feeding posture. Baby rabbits should be fed while they are in an upright position. Feeding them in other positions may lead to choking and that can be fatal.
You should get a syringe, a special feeding bottle for rabbits, or a dropper to feed them. Ensure that these items are sterilized/disinfected before you use them. With any of these feeding apparatus, you can feed the rabbit slowly. Rushing the feeding process can cause the rabbit to choke.
Recommended Feeding Volume
At different ages, these are the volume of milk recommended per feeding for baby rabbits:
|Volume of Milk for Each Feeding
|0 – 7 days
|2 – 2. 5 ml
|1 – 2 weeks
|5 – 7 ml
|2 – 3 weeks
|7 – 13 ml
|3 – 6 weeks
|13 – 15 ml
How to Know If the Baby Is Still Young Enough to Be Drinking Milk
For about 3 weeks, baby rabbits consume only milk. But between week 3 and week 5, most baby rabbits would have started eating some solid vegetables alongside their milk. Milk is essential at this point because it eases the transition.
Solid food will introduce new microorganisms into the stomach of the bunnies. Knowing how sensitive their stomachs are, these microorganisms can be harmful to them. But with milk, there would be no harm because the nutrients help the bunnies adjust to the emerging flora.
Some bunnies stop yearning for milk between 6 – 8 weeks. But for those who still thirst for milk by the 8th week, you may start to wean them. You can do this by diluting the milk with clean water bit by bit until they no longer thirst for milk.
What You Should Do If You Find Baby Rabbits Without Their Mother
If you ever come across a nest of baby rabbits without a mother, your first instinct should not be to pick them up or take them home. In many cases, the little bunnies are not orphaned. Their mothers leave them in the nest as a way to protect them.
Mother rabbits build their nests in places they consider to be safe. They feed their babies once or twice daily. Then they leave the babies in the nest for as long as 23 hours. They do this knowing the babies can survive on the high-calorie content of their milk.
The mothers can outrun predators with ease. But the babies would be helpless. By staying away from the babies for the most part of the day, the babies have a higher chance of survival.
So, when you see baby rabbits alone in a baby nest leave them until you are sure that they are truly orphaned.
If you see the following signs, then the baby rabbits are most likely orphaned:
- Wrinkled and cold skin
- Blue-tinted skin
- Shrunken stomach
If you see these signs, you should contact a wildlife center. But if these signs are absent, you may check back after a day to be sure that they are not orphaned.
Cow milk is toxic to baby rabbits and should not be given to them under any circumstance. If the mother rabbit is unavailable to feed the babies, Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR) and goat milk are the best alternatives. These types of milk are non-toxic and they contain nutrients that can be digested by baby rabbits.
The following sources were used in this article:
Is it possible to give milk to rabbits, will it harm pets
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- Farmer questions
We had a lot of baby rabbits, but some young females refused to feed their babies. We are afraid that the kids will not be hungry. What kind of milk can replace rabbit milk? And tell me, is it possible to give milk to rabbits (I mean adult pets), in what cases is it allowed to be given? nine0013
Milk belongs to the so-called feed of animal origin. It contains a lot of nutrients, vitamins and trace elements necessary for the full development of living organisms. Rabbits feed their cubs with milk, too, but with their own, and it is very different in composition from cow's milk used by humans.
When it comes to feeding babies, then whole cow's milk should not be given to them. The rabbit will not eat enough of them, and besides, it can get an upset stomach. You can feed rabbits with bitch milk, which is sold in pet stores in dry form and is used to feed puppies. According to its composition, it will be the best option for young animals. Goat will also work. Any milk feed for rabbits is given only in a heated form, the temperature should be no more than 37 degrees. nine0013
Do not give cow's milk to decorative rabbits. It weakens the stomach, which in animals is already very sensitive to various foods. Feeding rabbits with such food will not lead to anything good. Sometimes such food can even cause eared death.
But cow's milk can also have a positive effect on the body of adult rabbits. It is used if the animal has been poisoned by something, especially if it is not possible to determine which poison caused the illness. In this case, it is this protein product (preferably a fresh steam room) that becomes a good antidote. Rabbits are given 4-5 dessert spoons of it orally for 3-4 days, 3-4 times a day. It helps to weaken the action of the toxic substance and softens the inflammation of the gastric mucosa. nine0013
Sometimes such food is given to weakened, emaciated pets. In this case, the dosage should not exceed 50 g per adult.
This product should not be given to lactating rabbits to stimulate lactation. It is especially important to observe this rule in the first 17-25 days after birth. An exception is an acidic or fresh product, as well as whey. Whole food leads to obesity.
Small amounts of milk are used to prepare mashes made on the basis of mealy mixtures, where, in addition to this product, about 60% of cereals, 10% of meat and bone or fish meal, up to 20% of legumes, a little minced meat from meat or fish waste are added , 10% of a mixture made from salt, cake or meal, chalk. nine0013
Mixers with the addition of this product can also be made on the basis of pumpkin or potato puree. Potatoes are boiled, mashed to a puree state, grain grinding, compound feed, chopped beet greens, carrots, fish entrails and scales, the remains of meat products, as well as a little milk are added to it.
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milk replacers, supplements, newborn care
Sometimes it happens that young rabbits, as soon as they are born, are left without mother's milk and care. Then these worries fall on the shoulders of a person. Feeding rabbits without a rabbit is a serious and responsible matter, because the life of babies depends on the speed of decision-making and subsequent actions. nine0013
Why are baby rabbits left without mother's milk and care? What is the danger?
The decision in favor of artificial feeding is taken by the farmer for one of the following reasons:
- as soon as she has calved, the female refuses the young rabbits and abandons them;
- the female rabbit has no milk or has developed mastitis;
- the female is in a very serious condition after birth or she has died;
- other nurse does not accept babies.
It is especially dangerous for rabbits when the female dies without having time to feed them with valuable colostrum for the first time. It contains antibodies necessary for babies, which contribute to the development of their own immunity.
Human care and care will not replace mother's cubs, and incorrect actions on the part of breeders increase the mortality rate.
Ornamental rabbits are less likely to survive, and meat breeds, even on artificial feeding, grow up to be healthy strong individuals.
What to try before artificial feeding? nine0065
The purpose of artificial feeding is not only to ensure the satiety of rabbits, but to provide comprehensive care for offspring. Before you begin your duties, try the following alternatives:
- Find a brood nurse. This course of events is possible if the breeder has several queens. You can’t just plant baby rabbits with another lactating 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 babies with fluff and straw from her dwelling. The nurse will return to the cage and will probably take on new wards. nine0004
- Awaken the parental instinct. Most often, it is after the first birth that a mother does not want to feed her babies. Try to solve this problem by simply holding the rabbit during several feedings.
With a favorable outcome, feeding on mother's milk, the rabbits will quickly get stronger and begin to gain weight. But it happens that these tips do not help.
How to properly feed baby rabbits for the first 30 days?
Baby 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 good nutrition, they quickly gain weight and grow.
A farmer should prepare for artificial feeding of offspring - master the skills of care and purchase equipment.
Baby rabbits require teats and containers.
Buy Animal Feeding Kit from the shop. It includes a special syringe with rubber nozzles of various shapes and sizes. Such a set is sold in the form of a bottle with several special nipples. nine0013
You can also use improvised means:
- Use the syringe and the rubber pipette tip to feed by making a few small holes in it.
- eye drop bottle is suitable for the procedure. For convenience, use it together with a pipette tip.
- Small baby bottle is useful for older animals.
The process of artificial feeding should be as close as possible to natural. nine0013
Before opening their eyes, the reaction of rabbits to teat substitutes is weak. When pouring milk into the mouth, be careful and do not rush, otherwise the rabbit may choke or choke.
Newborn rabbits require high quality nutrition. Rabbit milk substitutes include:
- Goat milk. The best option for artificial feeding of rabbits. There is no need to dilute or add anything, because the composition is similar to rabbit milk, only slightly inferior to it in fat content. nine0004
- Cow's milk. The most affordable and common option for replacing rabbit milk. In its pure form, it cannot be fed to babies, because it lacks carbohydrates in its composition. Mix cow's milk with condensed milk in a ratio of 3:1. Heat 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 for rabbits or dogs. In a pinch, suitable food for cats. In terms of components, their composition is as similar as possible to rabbit milk. nine0004
- Infant formula . Such food is suitable for rabbits if it contains a minimum of sugar and additives.
In the presented 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, hold the animals upright, firmly, but without crushing. At first, rabbits may not respond to simulated nipples. Be patient. nine0013
Gently moisten your baby's mouth with milk, he will lick it off himself. Repeat several times. This will stimulate the sucking reflex.
During the feeding procedure, be careful not to get liquid into the animal's respiratory tract. This is fraught with the death of the rabbit.
Make sure that the tummy does not overfill, because babies themselves can not yet determine the level of their satiety. Overeating causes indigestion and related problems.
Feeding liquid should be 37 degrees. Store milk for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, and always use freshly prepared formula for feeding.
Adjust the diet according to the needs of the cubs. Well-fed babies sleep quietly, and hungry babies squeak and actively look for a source of food.
Dosage and frequency
The amount of mixture and the frequency of feeding are directly related to the age of the rabbits.
The female feeds the young rabbits 1-3 times a day. Her milk is very nutritious, so many feeding sessions are enough for rabbits for proper development, growth and weight gain. nine0013
But none of the mixtures can replace the milk of a rabbit, so bottle-fed babies are fed up to 6 times a day.
In the first 2 days, the rabbits need a few drops of food per dose, even 1 ml of the mixture is too much for them.
Gradually, the amount of milk necessary for the development of the cubs increases, and the number of feedings decreases.
Artificial feeding by age
Organizing artificial feeding is a responsible business. You need to be extremely careful when choosing a diet for rabbits, depending on their age and physical health. After all, errors in the quantity and quality of the diet adversely affect the cubs. nine0013
From birth to 5 days
A newborn rabbit needs 1 drop of nutrient fluid. For the first day they feed 5-6 times. Since babies have not yet learned to swallow on their own, care must be taken.
On the second day, 4-5 meals are enough. On the 5th day - 4 feedings. The daily norm of milk is 5-6 ml. By the end of this period, rabbits with normal development double their weight.
From 6 to 14 days
Animals grow up and the amount of nutrient mixture per feeding increases. They drink 7-10 ml of milk per day. The number of feedings remains the same, or decreases to 3. The weight of the rabbits reaches 250 g.
From the 15th to the 30th day
From the 15th day the animals are transferred to two meals a day. In the first 2-3 days, observe the behavior of the young and, if signs of hunger are present, supplement them with a small amount of formula in the 3rd feeding.
The amount of the mixture per day by the end of the month reaches 60 ml. While this is their main food. Weaning from the nipple should be on the 20-25th day.
The readiness for the introduction of complementary foods is determined by the condition of the teeth. If the molars have replaced the milk teeth, then solid food can be gradually introduced and taught to drink from a saucer. nine0013
By the end of the period, the mass of animals reaches approximately 500 g.
Starting from the third week, put small piles of dry grass in the cage - this will prepare the rabbits for solid food.
At this time, it is important to monitor the change in the baby's stool. Remove hay from the diet immediately if diarrhea occurs. If adaptation to new food goes without problems, then add a small amount of compound feed, grass, carrots.
From the 31st day, if there is no shortage in weight, milk is gradually removed from the diet of rabbits. When the offspring are 45 days old, their diet completely switches to an adult. nine0013
Vitamin A and Vitamin D
In nature, baby rabbits get their vitamins and minerals from their mother's milk and then from a varied adult diet. Artificially fed individuals need more vitamin supplements.
If the body lacks vitamin A , then rabbits suffer from a runny nose and dry eyes. This vitamin is responsible for the desire to reproduce 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 the formation of bone tissue. With its lack, growth retardation and various deformities 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 food in places where the sun's rays do not have access, because under their influence vitamin D is destroyed.
Oatmeal and oat sprouts
Oats are a fundamental grain in rabbit nutrition, containing a storehouse of vitamins and microelements. Its calorie content is 336 kcal/100 g. It can take up to 50% of the total mass of feed. Rabbits on such feed gain weight well, but oats do not cause obesity. nine0013
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 later they switch to feeding with whole grains.
Animals eat such food with pleasure 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 of both males and rabbits. Oats help lactating females recover after birth and stimulate the production of nutritious milk. nine0013
Useful substances, which are rich in germinated oats, have a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal tract of animals. Appetite increases, fur becomes beautiful and shiny, body weight grows.
Be sure to include a water bottle in the cage if the rabbits diet is dominated by dry cereal food.
Bone meal and chalk
Bone meal is a powder from the bones of animals and birds, the most 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 absence of this bait:
- The stomach of rabbits becomes clogged with a jelly-like mass, because of which the animals often die.
- Females become aggressive, lose the ability to reproduce. nine0004
- There are cases of cannibalism among individuals.
If the beginnings of these problems appear, reduce portions or remove flour from the diet.
Chalk is a safe mineral supplement providing calcium to the body. It can be used in powder form, in lump form and in mineral briquettes. Chalk is useful for the prevention of diseases of bone tissue.
Branches and acorns
Branches of trees and shrubs are used not only as food. Some are useful for the prevention of ailments. nine0013
So, for example, walnut branches remove parasites from the body, linden and willow - work as an anesthetic, birch - as a diuretic. Give them to rabbits infrequently, as needed.
Trees and shrubs whose branches can be used as permanent feeding include: .
Trees whose branches can be given to rabbits occasionally :
- Pear, rowan, oak, chestnut.
- Pine, juniper.
Do not use branches of bird cherry, lilac, elder, rosemary in the diet.
Another nutritious food for rabbits is acorns. You can feed them 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 complementary food. Rabbits love to chew on them. nine0013
For more information, read our article on how, when and what to feed rabbits.
Table salt is used for more than just seasoning. Chlorine ions contribute to the production of hydrochloric acid in the composition of gastric juice, and sodium ions are responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses.
Rabbits gnaw on the wooden partitions in the cage due to salt deficiency. This indicates such problems:
- violation of metabolic processes;
- decrease in offspring productivity, increase in the number of miscarriages;
- slow growth of newborn animals;
- diseases of the gastrointestinal tract;
- water-salt imbalance and diseases associated with blood formation.
Edible salt is given together with chalk. For this, mineral briquettes are prepared. The following components are required:
- 500 g feed chalk;
- 500 g red clay flour;
- 300 g ground hardwood charcoal flour; nine0004
- 5 st. l. salt;
- 3 tbsp. l. fodder sulfur.
Mix ingredients with water until a thick dough is obtained. From it, fashion shapes the size of a matchbox. String them on the wire. Dry first in the shade and then in the sun. Fire it like clay in a kiln.
Place one in each rabbit cage. They themselves will learn to gnaw a briquette in the amount that their body requires.
Rabbits are not very healthy, the gastrointestinal tract is their weak point. Gastrointestinal stasis is often found in these animals, when the stomach stops working and the individual dies. nine0013
Acidophilus is a complex of useful lactobacilli. It helps digest food in the large intestine and protects against harmful bacteria that can lead to bloating, diarrhea, and other problems.
This drug will also help when taking antibiotics, when the entire intestinal microflora is destroyed.
Caecotrophs are the primary feces of the rabbit. It has an oblong shape, often reminiscent of a bunch of grapes due to sticky spools. The color varies from light green to black. The smell is unpleasant, sour. nine0013
This feces is formed in a special compartment of the caecum, which is found only in lagomorphs. Therefore, do not confuse caecotrophs with ordinary feces.
Usually rabbits eat caecotrophs from the age of 20 days as soon as they leave the body. In this way, they re-absorb vitamins and minerals. Without this, the animals would suffer from beriberi.
If there are too many caecotrophs, the animal does not eat them, then you are overfeeding the rabbit with cereals. Remove grains from the diet for a couple of days, leaving water, branches and hay. nine0013
The second reason may be worms. Get rid of the parasites and everything will be back to normal.
Artificial feeding of rabbits has its positive and negative sides.
The benefits include:
- Getting used to milk substitutes, rabbits are undemanding to eat.
- Good appetite leads to weight gain and growth of individuals.
- The diet is adjusted to the person and his capabilities.
Artificial feeding disadvantages:
- Nutritional value, composition of vitamins and minerals in substitutes is much lower than in natural rabbit milk.
- Inability to transfer antibodies, which means weakened immunity of the offspring.
- Difficulty in nipple training.
- Baby rabbit may be injured while feeding.
- The constant presence of a person next to the kids for care and attention.
Baby rabbit care
The earlier the baby rabbits were left without a queen, the more complex care they need. The conditions of detention and the feeding regime require a great responsibility and dedication from a person. nine0013
Lighting and heat
Newborn rabbits require special care, attention should be paid to lighting and heat when rearing babies.
There must be a place in the cage where the sun's rays do not reach. Direct solar radiation is dangerous for animals. Daytime lighting should be dimmed, and it is recommended to turn off the lights at night.
Keep the rabbits warm. To do this, build a nest from the fluff of adult rabbits or put a heating pad in the cage. The optimum temperature is considered to be when a person’s hand is comfortable, and not hot. nine0013
Cleanliness in the care of rabbits is essential, because without immunity they are more susceptible to germs and bacteria.
Boil utensils and teats before use. Prepare the mixture before feeding, according to the instructions. Store milk in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Before feeding, wash your hands with fragrance-free soap and dry with a towel. After feeding, clean the babies from the remnants of food and bowel movements.
Bowel and bladder emptying requires special attention, because babies do not know how to cope with it.
The female licks the baby rabbit before feeding, pressing on the stomach with her tongue, moving from the navel to the hind legs. Thus, it causes the intestines and bladder to empty.
A person who substitutes a mother for rabbits should not forget about this procedure. Otherwise, the bladder will burst.
Before each feeding, massage the baby's belly with a damp soft cloth or piece of cotton. nine0013
This manipulation is completed when the offspring are more than 14 days old.
In healthy rabbits, the abdomen is elastic and slightly convex. If it is sunken, then this is a sign of gastrointestinal problems.
In the video below, the breeder demonstrates how to massage the belly of a rabbit before feeding: