How Much Do You Feed A Rabbit A Day?
An adequate supply of clean, fresh water, feed, and salt spools should be available to the rabbits at all times.
The condition of the doe, buck, or young bunnies will determine how much feed to give at each feeding.
Although you may use self-feeders, all the feed should be eaten between feedings. The average doe will consume 4 to 6 ounces of rabbit pellets per day. The feed for each rabbit should be weighed and recorded so the feeding schedule can be tailored to individual rabbits.
The rabbit is a herbivorous animal; it subsists entirely on materials of plant origin. The domestic rabbit must get all its nutrient requirements from the feed you place in the hutch. Commercial rabbit pellets are recommended, particularly for small rabbitries. Commercial feed usually meets all nutritional requirements.
The use of hay is questionable as most rabbit pellets contain varying amounts of dehydrated alfalfa. Some rabbit growers use high-quality legume hay, such as alfalfa, for conditioning show rabbits or to overcome some types of digestive problems. The hay should be placed in a rack so that the rabbits cannot soil it.
Exact nutritional requirements for rabbits have not been worked out as accurately as for other meat animals. But two things are evident: For best results, the ration must be complete and balanced; and dietary requirements vary with the sex and state of development of the individual rabbit. A complete ration is one that contains sufficient protein (amino acids), carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins for maintenance, growth, gestation, and lactation. The analysis of the feed, which shows the protein content, presence of medication, etc. of the pellets under consideration, will be on the tag or printed on the bag.
For does and bucks being held in a maintenance condition, a 12 percent protein ration containing a high percentage of good alfalfa hay and a minimum of pellets is adequate. Prior to use in the breeding pens both does and bucks should be placed on at least a 15 percent protein complete ration.
This ration should be continued with the bucks as long as they are in the breeding pens and with the does throughout the entire gestation period. The ration should contain higher than usual amounts of vitamins A, D, E, and K.
The most important ration is the one given to the lactating or nursing doe. The protein must be increased to 17 percent and the ration must be highly digestible with a minimum of fiber. A common practice is to use a high-protein, high-vitamin, high mineral concentrate at the rate of one tablespoon per rabbit per day.
The use of a creep feeder and a creep-feed ration is necessary for rapid growth of bunnies. A high-protein, as much as 20 percent, high-energy creep feed will supplement the doe’s milk and lessen the drain on her body. The ration for bunnies being readied for market should contain no less than 16 percent protein, with the carbohydrate and fat content increased during the last 1 to 2 weeks prior to market.
Rabbit pellets may contain medication. Most medications will have a withdrawal time indicating the number of days prior to slaughter to stop using medicated feed. Failure to observe this withdrawal time can result in condemnation and loss of money and can create health problems for the people eating the meat. Medicated feeds are no substitute for adequate sanitation and proper management. Feeding a medicated feed 5 days prior to and after the return from a show will tend to overcome the stress of the show.
Read about the medication and its purpose, use it only for that purpose and strictly according to directions.
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