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Rabbit Nutrition And Feeding

by American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA)


          Feed is the single largest production cost in a commercial rabbit enterprise. It takes about 15 pounds of feed to produce a 4 pound fryer. Most rabbit producers feed commercial rabbit pellets. Commercial pellets generally meet all of the rabbit's nutritional requirements and can be purchased at most any feed store. Purchasing feed in bulk can result in considerable cost savings.

          Commercial feeds are required to carry a feed tag which indicates the nutrient values and feed ingredients. Rabbits are very finicky eaters and are sensitive to sudden changes in feed. You should discriminate against feed that is dusty and has too many fines. Pellet size is important. You don't want a pellet that is too small or large. Quality will vary between brands and batches of rabbit pellets.

          A rabbit's nutritional needs vary according to its age and stage of production. Ideally, four rations should be fed, based on the requirements listed below, but realistically only one ration is usually fed and this should be 16-18 percent crude protein. Care must be taken not to overfeed rabbits. Fat, lazy rabbits are difficult to breed.

 

Stage of
Production

Crude Protein
(CP)

Total Digestible
Nutrients (TDN)

Percent
Fiber

Feed
Intake

Growth

16-18%

65%

10-12%

5-6 oz

Maintenance

12-15%

55%

14%

4-6 oz

Gestation

15-16%

58%

10-12%

4-6 oz1

Lactation

16-18%

70%

10-12%

Free Choice2

1Feed doe 4 oz. early in gestation and gradually increase to free choice
2A common recommendation is to give does 2 tablespoons of whole corn for the first three weeks of lactation

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).