Rabbits are monogastrics/non ruminants (have single stomach) and feed on plant materials and require nutrients such as proteins, energy, minerals, vitamins and fats in specific measures to help rabbits grow well.
- You can feed your rabbits by providing the following
a) On a variety of green plants including grasses, weeds, sweet potato vines, desmodium, alfalfa and vegetables such as cabbages and sukuma wiki
b) Root crops such as carrots, sweet potatoes and cassava
c) Grains such as maize, wheat, barley and sorghum
e) Protein supplements e.g. soybean meal, peanut meal
- You can also feed your rabbits on commercially pelleted feed available from different manufacturers. When using commercial pellets, care should be taken to avoid aflatoxin contamination
- Commercial rabbit feed nutritional content normally vary as follows: Protein - 13-18%, Digestible Energy - 8-13% and fibre - 8-18%
- Feed requirements for rabbits vary with individual animals. Proper amounts should be fed to keep the animal in good physical condition without allowing it to be become too fat.
- Reduce the amount of feed for the doe to one-half on the day of kindling and gradually but increased gradually from the 3rd day to the 7th day.
- After a week, the nursing doe and its litter should be provided with food at all times.
- Salt can be provided either by mixing into the feed at one percent or in the form of commercial salt cakes.
- Vitamins: vitamin A is available from root crops and hay, vitamin B in greens and roughage. Rabbits also get their vitamins from re-ingesting their droppings
- When using pellets, ensure they are fresh and not contaminated. NEVER feed your rabbits on mouldy hay or pellets
- It is advised that you feed up to 130g of pellets for adult rabbits per day in combination with other feeds. It is however important that amount of pellets is kept low to reduce cost of production
- Ensure that from the time of weaning, your rabbits are supplied with at least a handful of hay per day for to help rabbits digest better
- When feeding greens, allow them to wilt before feeding. At the time of weaning, introduce wilted greens a little at a time to avoid diarrhoea
- Rabbits produce soft and hard droppings. They re-ingest soft droppings which are rich in the B vitamins
- Rabbits need to be fed on dry matter (forage) and where possible supplementation with concentrates is advisable. Clean water should be availed on a daily basis. A new type of feed should be introduced over a period of a few days.