DID YOU KNOW...

Lactating does need the richest, most concentrated feed. They produce a milk that is three times richer than a cow's milk, at the rate of 100 to 300 g per day. Milk and bones are rich in calcium. If the doe’s diet is low in calcium her body will begin to consume her own bones in order to produce the milk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feed guidelines by level of production:
Gestating and Lactating Does:
Does who are gestating or lactating require a slight increase in protein levels in their feed (those who are lactating more so than those that are pregnant). These rabbits should be fed ad libitum (meaning they have free access to feed). To feed ad libitum, place enough feed in their feeder so that there is always feed available for the doe. However, you should not simply fill the feeder to the top and let it be. The feed will be exposed to the elements and is more likely to go bad, which will cause your rabbit to become sick.

Some breeders supplement the feed of their pregnant and lactating does with Alfalfa hay or cubes because of its high protein content and relatively high fiber. Once the kits are weaned, the doe should go back to being fed only as much as she will consume after 30 minutes. For specific nutritional information for does after kindling view the post-kindling section of the Breeding Activity.   

 

Kits:
On average, a doe will feed her kits only once every 24 hours. The suckling of the kits on the dam’s (mother's) teats will last only two or three minutes. If the doe is not producing sufficient milk, then the kits will attempt to feed every time the doe enters the nestbox. Unfortunately she will be holding back her milk, so their suckling will be in vain. This behavior signals insufficient milk production in the doe. This could be due to a very large litter or insufficient nutrient intake from the doe. On very rare occasions, this could also indicate a genetic condition. If you suspect this might be the case, you may want to cull (remove from the herd) the doe.

Creep feeding:
Starting the third week of life, the
kits will move around the cage and
will start to drink milk and eat solid
feed. In a few days the eating of
solid feed will exceed the milk intake.
Some commercial meat rabbit producers
will use a creep feeder (a feeder that only kits have access to) in order to
increase the growth of the rabbits and allow for an earlier weaning.

A high-protein (as much as 20 percent), high-energy creep feed helps to supplement the doe’s milk, which lessens the drain on her body. It reduces the stress of weaning, providing a smooth transition for the kits by offering an intermediate diet between mother’s milk and their adult ration.

 

Weaned rabbits:
Young, growing rabbits will also need a slightly increase in protein levels in their feed. Growing rabbits raised in a group should be fed ad libitum. One water source is sufficient for 10 to 15 animals. The water source must be checked regularly, water bottles must be filled, and automatic systems should be tested to ensure the animals do not suffer from lack of water. One feeder will be enough for six to ten rabbits, but these should also checked to make sure that the pellet flow does not get blocked.

 

Adult bucks and non-breeding does:
Adult bucks and non-breeding does should be fed one time a day and should only be given the amount of pellets they will consume in the thirty minutes after the feed is given. Feeding well-balanced pelleted feed will ensure that the rabbits are getting the nutrients necessary for proper growth. Supplements are not necessary when you have chosen a feed that meets the nutritional requirements of a rabbit.