Feed­ing your rab­bits

Element - - Lifestyle - Janet Luke is con­tin­u­ing a se­ries of col­umns on keep­ing rab­bits for a source of low­fat, high pro­tein meat. Find out more at el­e­ment­magazine.co.nz/gar­den­ing

Rab­bits are her­bi­vores pre­fer­ring a var­ied diet of grass and herbs. To­day many peo­ple feed rab­bits on a diet con­sist­ing of mainly rab­bit pel­lets which nor­mally con­sist of a com­bi­na­tion of lucerne and a va­ri­ety of grains crushed and formed into small pel­lets. To keep costs down and to pro­vide a more nat­u­ral diet I feed my bun­nies on pel­lets with a large sup­ple­men­tary feed­ing of a va­ri­ety of veg­etable scraps and weeds from the gar­den. All our car­rot peel­ings and broc­coli stalks go straight to them from the kitchen. They love chick­weed, milk this­tle, dandelion and clover. I also col­lect veg­etable scraps from my green gro­cer; the rab­bits love cel­ery, ap­ples, all the bras­si­cas, let­tuce and even cit­rus. Rab­bits love to nib­ble on grass so if you keep them in a move­able run you can let them mow your lawn. In sum­mer I get the kids col­lect­ing fresh acorns. We dry them in the sun and then re­move the outer husk and feed the nuts to the rab­bits. Rab­bits also need a con­stant quan­tity of fresh meadow hay to munch on to give them fi­bre. Fresh wa­ter at all times is, of course, very im­por­tant.

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