In the article we will understand which branches can be given to rabbits in order to strengthen their health and accelerate the rate of gaining muscle mass. Indeed, in the industrial and amateur rabbit breeding, roughage is an integral part of the diet. In winter, tree branches are an excellent alternative to green fodder, being a source of energy, vitamins, microelements and biologically active substances that are well absorbed by the rabbit organism.
The Importance of Rough Rabbit Feed
Features of the structure of the gastrointestinal tract of rabbits create certain problems with their feeding, forcing the breeders to select only the most suitable for these purposes feed. Almost omnivorous animals can not be overnourished with carbohydrates and fats, but be sure to add fiber-rich, roughage. They allow pets to grind off ever-growing teeth.
The branches of woody plants saturate the body of the rabbit with nutrients, being an inexhaustible source of beneficial vitamins and minerals. They compensate for the lack of basic feed in winter and reduce the risk of cell damage.
To grind teeth, rabbits constantly gnaw a wooden floor and cage bars, and if there are branches in it, they gladly switch to them.
Plant shoots are free material that can be procured in advance. It is possible to give branches to rabbits until green fodders appear in spring.
It is better to harvest the branches of trees in the fall, when the content of nutrients in them is maximum.
Along with traditional alder, apple, birch and willow shoots, rabbits can be fed with maple, poplar, ash and pine needles. True, it is necessary to follow certain rules.
Rich in protein and vitamins needles
The branches of spruce, pine and fir that are widely distributed in central Russia are a real source of vitamins and minerals. They contain at least 10% protein, which is perfectly absorbed by the body of rabbits, and also rich in minerals that strengthen the body.
Let's consider whether a rabbit can be given coniferous branches, how to do it correctly, in what quantity and at what time of year.
The shoots of coniferous plants are saturated with a large amount of essential oils, which give them a peculiar rich smell. They can cause irreparable harm to the health of your pets, so the needles for rabbits are useful only in the winter, when the concentration of these substances decreases sharply.
If you are going to feed rabbits with branches of fir, pine or Christmas trees, then in no case do not harvest them in the spring and summer months. This preparation will be useless, rabbits lose their appetite, and their health can seriously deteriorate.
Inexpensive and highly effective dressing
Spruce, pine, fir and juniper stop producing essential oils with the onset of the first cold weather. Only after that their branches can be cut and added to the feed of rabbits.
Harvesting pine branches in advance is not recommended. When drying, they lose some of the nutrients, and they can be cut from the tree at any time.
It is believed that it is very useful to give needles, because it improves the functioning of the digestive system of ornamental rabbits, which are much weaker than their counterparts, grown by an industrial method for obtaining high-quality meat and fur.
Feeding animals with vitamin C-rich conifer branches stimulates sex hunting. Giving them to lactating baby rabbits you will increase their milk production. Read more about this in the article "What you need to feed the rabbit after around."
Young rabbits eat their needles with great pleasure, regardless of whether you give them spruce, fir or pine. Adding spruce branches to the diet makes their fur bright and shiny, eliminating avitaminosis, accompanied by hair loss.
Features harvesting conifer branches
There are no particular differences in the choice of conifer branches for a rabbit. Spruce and pine, which can be found in any Russian forest, are best suited for these purposes.
Rules for choosing needles for rabbits:
- hold the workpiece after the onset of the first frost;
- we find a large Christmas tree or a pine growing far from busy motorways;
- select branches older than two years of age;
- needles should be bright and faintly smelling.
It is best to cut the needles so much that the rabbit has enough for 2-3 days, after which the procedure is repeated. You can bring home more branches, but in the process of drying, they will lose nutrients. First of all, a very useful vitamin C.
An adult animal is given one branch each day (15-20 cm), regardless of whether it is a spruce or another coniferous plant. Before putting the dressing in the cage, it is necessary to rinse with clean water and let it dry a little.
It is strictly forbidden to spruce spruce with boiling water, as this will trigger the release of the essential oils contained in it, which can negatively affect the pet's body.
Feeding ornamental animals
With great pleasure, ornamental and dwarf rabbits eat needles of conifers, preferring the Christmas tree to all other trees. Putting babies in a cage along one branch of needles can be started already from two months of age. But in the first days you need to carefully monitor the health of pets.
In decorative rabbits that are unaccustomed to such food, in the early days, urine may acquire a reddish tint. But this should not confuse you, because it is absolutely normal.
Fattening animals with pleasure gnaw branches themselves, leaving practically nothing from them. Often in their diet add the remnants of the Christmas spruce, stood in your home for 2 or more weeks. They are not as useful as fresh ones, but their rabbits will also be great to eat.
If pine or spruce were grown in warm regions of the country before the onset of frost, then it cannot be fed with branches with rabbits. Freezing the already cut branches in the refrigerator will not give a positive effect either.
Summer needles are harmful and dangerous
You can feed rabbits with coniferous branches only before the start of spring sap flow. Needles are saturated with essential oils and can cause more harm to the animal than good.
During this period, as forage we give rabbits branches of apple, maple, poplar, willow and alder. You can give and birch, but it has a strong diuretic effect, and its shoots should not be abused.
It is not recommended to feed the rabbits with a complex for digestion with branches of elderberry, bird cherry and wild rosemary, as well as with prussic acid-rich shoots of stone fruit plants of plum, peach and apricot.
Remember that rabbits are not particularly picky about food. Their health depends on what kind of feed a daily diet is made of.
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Write in the comments if you feed your pets with needles.