What Can Newborn Rabbits Eat?


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kerry burns Profile
kerry burns answered
I am currently doing an animal welfare course diploma, so this information should be useful to you, hope it helps.              FEEDING  Under natural conditions, the rabbits diet would consist of green herbage and other plant material. Natural diets include cereals, freshly cut grass, lucerne, cabbage, carrots, radish, cattle beet, green lettuce, herbs and hay according to the season and availability. The rabbit is a bulk feeder and can utilise all sorts of waste most successfully, but like any other animal it needs a balanced ration of green food and protein. It is essential to provide some of the foods mentioned above as well as foods such as pumpkin, waste fruit, sunflower and willow trees. In addition, balanced rabbit pellets should be fed. Avoid feeding tomato or potato tops - both plants belong to the family of Nightshades and are deadly poisonous; also avoid feeding nearly all plants that grow from bulbs.  Commercial pellets containing 18 - 20% crude protein and not less than 13 -15% crude fibre will provide a complete ration supplying ail essential nutrients for milk production, rapid growth and the maintenance of good health. Good quality greens and hay are quite satisfactory for low-scale production of rabbits, but will not give fast growth and commercially viable results.  Successful feeding depends on the following factors: 
  •   Rabbits are kept under intensive conditions (e.g. Confined to cages) and like all animals kept intensively, they depend entirely on their keeper for all nutrient requirements. Their food must supply all their requirements for energy, protein, minerals and vitamins, otherwise they will not thrive. 
  •   They must have a good supply of clean, fresh water at all times. 
  •   Rabbits, like most other animals, get used to a particular type of food. So any change is undesirable, and should be done very gradually if it becomes necessary. Once a rabbit is used to one food, it will have to be starving before it will eat another type of food.

            TYPE OF FOOD      Pellets that are balanced to provide a nutritious diet. Expensive, but the most commercially viable, as these will supply all the rabbits needs. Saves time and labour.      Pellets together with hay, lucerne or other green vegetables.      A mash made from cooked potatoes, scraps etc. And mixed with bran.      A mash supplemented with hay, lucerne or raw vegetables.      Good quality green vegetables and hay only. Not suitable for commercial production as it will reduce growth rate of the animals.

      AMOUNTS OF FOOD  An adult rabbit weighing 3.5 kg and being fed on pellets only should receive the following amounts each day:            An empty doe (female)    100 gm      A pregnant doe, early pregnancy    110 gm      A pregnant doe, late pregnancy    118 gm      A working buck (male)      110 gm      A growing rabbit at 6 weeks old    60 gm      A growing rabbit at 10 weeks old    100 gm  If hay or fresh green vegetables are being fed in addition to meal, the above quantities of pellets can be reduced.            Below is a guideline illustrating what fresh greens can be fed to rabbits      Good choices of fresh greens for rabbits include the following:     
  •   Beet greens 
  •   Brussels sprouts 
  •   Broccoli 
  •   Cabbage 
  •   Carrots and carrot tops 
  •   Celery
  •   Chicory 
  •   Kale 
  •   Parsley 
  •   Parsnips 
  •   Snow peas 
  •   Spinach
      Note: Feed kale and spinach very sparingly and avoid beans, potato sprouts, maize and rhubarb.
        Below is a table illustrating the recommended daily dry food requirements of a rabbit      The following amounts of dry food is maximal per day:      Large breeds    40 g/1½ oz      Medium breeds    25 g/1 oz      Small breeds    15 g/ ½ oz      You can feed these plus the hay and green food but as alternative to the complete pellets on some days and the dry food on others.
                Rabbits can be given wild plants as a supplementary to their normal food.     
Below is a list of wild plants as a supplementary food that can be fed to rabbits     
  •   Caraway 
  •   Chickweed 
  •   Cleaver (goose grass) 
  •   Clover (Note: Some clovers such as Ladino or Red Clover may cause infertility, and Sweet Clover can induce a bleeding disease.) 
  •   Coltsfoot (fresh or dried)   
  •   Comfrey (allow to wilt slightly before feeding) 
  •   Corn Marigold 
  •   Corn Spurrey 
  •   Cow Parsnip 
  •   Dandelion 
  •   Dead-nettles 
  •   Bitter Dock (only before flowering) 
  •   Green Sorrel (very small quantities only) 
  •   Ground Elder (only use before shoots appear) 
  •   Hogweed 
  •   Knapweed 
  •   Knotgrass 
  •   Knotted Persicaria
  •   Pale smartweed 
  •   Scented Mayweed 
  •   Scentless Mayweed 
  •   Mugwort or Bitterweed 
  •   Common Plantain 
  •   English Plantain 
  •   Hoary Plantain 
  •   Ragwort (Some people say it is safe for rabbits and that the animals relish it. I regard it as possibly causing liver disease under certain conditions. Avoid it.) 
  •   Shepherd's Purse 
  •   Silverweed 
  •   Canada Thistle 
  •   Marsh Thistle 
  •   Sow Thistle 
  •   Welted Thistle 
  •   Tree and shrub foilage - acasia, alder, apple, ash, beech, maple, mountain ash, mulberry, raspberry, pear, poplar and willow 
  •   Yarrow (fresh or dried)
      Below is a list of dangerous an risky plants that should never be fed to rabbits      This list is not exhaustive. If in doubt about any plant species, consult your vet. The effects on a rabbit of ingesting certain toxic plants can vary and may depend on a variety of of factors: The amount eaten, the parts of the plant eaten, the condition or state of growth of the plant, the geographical location and the season of the year. Avoid the following plants:     
  •   Anemone 
  •   Autumn Crocus 
  •   Azalea 
  •   Bluebell 
  •   Bryony 
  •   Buttercup 
  •   Celandine 
  •   Dog's Mercury 
  •   Figwort 
  •   Fool's Parsley 
  •   Foxglove 
  •   Hemlock
  •   Henbane 
  •   Holly Bindweed 
  •   Laburnum 
  •   Listeria 
  •   Nightshades 
  •   Poppy 
  •   Purple Thorn Apple 
  •   Rhododendron 
  •   Spindleberry 
  •   Toadflex 
  •   Traveller's Joy (wild clematis)
      Other plants that are dangerous at certain times or in certain conditions are:     
  •   Bermuda or Couch Grass 
  •   Bracken 
  •   Caltrops or Puncture Vine 
  •   Canary Grass (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) 
  •   Cherry Laurel 
  •   Crotalaria, Ragwort 
  •   Heliotrope 
  •   Jimson Weed 
  •   Lantana
  •   Loco Weed (USA) 
  •   Lupin 
  •   Paterson's Curse or Salvation Jane 
  •   Rhododendron 
  •   Sneezeweed (USA) 
  •   Sweet Clover (particularly in USA) 
  •   Tarweed 
  •   White Clover 
  •   White Snakeroot (USA) 
  •   Yew
  NUMBER OF FEEDS  Pellets can be administered according to the appetite, or they can be rationed. Commercial producers feed the pellets in small hoppers which hold 2 - 3 days supply and the rabbit can eat whenever it is hungry. In general, remember that overfeeding is nearly as harmful as underfeeding. The rabbit should clean up Its food quickly and be ready for the next meal when it is offered.   

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