Rabbit Feeds and Feeding Systems

Rabbits kept in hutches or colonies are totally dependent on the keeper for their food (rabbit feeds). They can eat only what the keeper provides. Wild rabbits pick and choose their own food.

They have instinctive wisdom which helps them to select a well-balanced diet. The rabbit keeper does not have this instinctive wisdom and must therefore think carefully about what is the best food for the rabbits.

Rabbit Feeding Systems

There are three possible feeding systems and each system has its own advantages and disadvantages. These are:

Extensive system: total dependence on forages and kitchen wastes. Intensive system: total dependence on prepared concentrate foods from the feed mill

Semi-intensive system: the use of forages supplemented with prepared concentrate foods.

Table: the advantages and disadvantages of intensive and extensive feeding systems

SystemAdvantagesDisadvantages
ExtensiveCheap, easy to provideEverything depends on
 the quantity of foodthe keeper to choose
 requiredthe correct foods.
  Supplies of forage may
  vary throughout the
  year. 
  Quality  is variable and is often
  too low, for reasonable
  production needs a lot
  of labor and  may
  introduce diseases and
  health problems.
IntensiveNeeds little time forVery costly.
 feeding. Depends on the supplies from
 High levels of production  can bethe feed mill  which
 obtained. Little risk ofmay  not  always   be
 diseases being broughtavailable or of good
 in with the foodquality.
Semi-
intensive
system
 
Most suitable for the
small-scale producer.

Make the best use of
forages and prepared
concentrated foods at critical times (during
last third of pregnancy, lactation, and post-weaning.
Falls between
Extensive and
Intensive system

Read Also: Feeding Tips for Rabbits

Rabbit Feeding Skills

This can be achieved by close observation and monitoring. Observation is the skill of seeing and remembering the different sorts of plants and their location in the local area which are useful for rabbit feeding.

Observation also helps to see how rabbits react to the different foods they are given so that you can learn which foods they like and which they do not.

Arising out of this observation exercise it would be interesting to make a list of local plants that prove to be useful in rabbit feeding and to discuss this list with other rabbit keepers.

In conclusion, it is obvious that rabbit nutrition is the most important aspect of their production without which the rabbit will not resist any disease attack and environmental stress.

The domestic rabbit will eat most types of green vegetables, grains, tubers, and roots. Kitchen wastes such as uncooked vegetables, cereals, and remain of meals can be fed to rabbits provided certain rules are followed:

Water should be supplied ad libitum. For rabbits the recommended crude protein level in the dry matter of the ration is over 18% for newly weaned rabbits;

16-18% for rabbits from12 to 24 weeks; 15-17% for breeding does; 12- 14% for all other stocks. The energy requirement is between 2390 and 2500 kcal of digestive energy. Rabbits can handle up to 20-25% fat in the diet depending on their age. The digestion of cellulose is low.

Caecotrophy is the eating of fecal-like pellets produced in the caecum. There are three possible feeding systems in the rabbit these are extensive systems that are totally dependent on forages and kitchen wastes.

An intensive system is a total dependence on prepared concentrate foods from the feed mill, while a Semi-intensive system is the use of forages supplemented with prepared concentrate foods.

Read Also: Nine (9) Nutrient Requirements of Rabbits

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Benadine Nonye

An Agric. Consultant & a Writer (With over 12 years of professional experience in the agricultural industry) - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Visit My Websites On: Agric4profits.com - It's All About Agriculture, The Way Forward! Agric4profit.com - The Most Reliable Global Agricultural Forum! Agric4profit.com.ng - The Most Reliable Nigeria's Agricultural Job Board! TheAgriPedia.com - For Everything Premium Agriculture! WealthinWastes.com - For Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices. Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4ProfitsTV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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