Feeding Rabbits

For low scale production good quality greens and hay are satisfactory but growth will be slow and results non-viable.

For commercial meat production, commercially balanced pelleted rations and good quality greens and hay are required.

Suitable Green Feed: young grass, star grass, forage sorghum, comfrey, lucerne, cowpeas, beans, rapoko grass, bean plants after reaping, vegetables, mulberry leaves, and various weeds. Green feed must be clean and fresh.

Note: No tomato and potato leaves should be fed as they are toxic. Also no plants that grow from bulbs (e.g onions), or wilted green feed or mouldy hay as they both upset digestion.

Commercial pellets and mash provide 18-20% crude protein and not less than 13% crude fibre. This is adequate for milk production, rapid growth and maintenance.

The next table shows food consumption for commercial meat production:

Pregnant Doe:   Restricted to 120g of rabbit pellet or mash per day with green/hay feed to appetite.

Doe with young:    Reduced greens but pellets or mash fed ad libitum for high milk yield.

Weaners:   From 8 weeks onwards only 120g pellets or mash per day with greens according to appetite.

Bucks    At six months of age with four services a week 120g pellets/mash per day is fed at one year plus with 6-10 services a week pellets/ mash are fed ad lib.

Food conversion Ratio: 2-2.5:1 for growing rabbits.

Live Mass Gain: from weaning (eight weeks) to slaughter is 1.5kg.

Live Mass at 12 weeks: 2-2.5 Kg

Water

For good health and optimum production a constant supply of clean fresh water is essential. A restricted water supply reduces feed intake, growth rate and milk production.

Adult rabbit – 0.5l per day.

Doe and litter – 3.5l per day.

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