Rabbits are herbivores. In the summer months, most of their diet is fresh grass, and in the winter – high-quality hay, as well as coarse and succulent feed. But, besides this, rabbits need to be fed with concentrates, give them vitamins and mineral supplements. Concentrates include whole and ground grains of cereals, oilseeds and legumes, waste from their processing, animal feed and animal feed.
Grain feed is the most nutritious, it contains very little water, but a large amount of organic substances, especially carbohydrates and protein. Due to its rich chemical composition, plant seeds are of high nutritional value.
The group of cereal crops includes: wheat, oats, barley, rye, corn. Novice rabbit breeders often ask themselves whether corn can be given to rabbits, and if so, how to do it right. To get an answer to it, you should familiarize yourself with the following information.
Morphological features of corn
Corn belongs to grassy annual cereals. It can grow up to 3 m and above. It has a straight, sturdy thick stalk, narrow and long leaves, with small serrations at the edges, and a powerful, perfectly formed root system.
This plant has peculiar inflorescences: large panicles that are formed on the tops of the stems are male flowers, and female ones are in small ears, which are located in the axils of the leaves.
On each stalk of corn, usually there are 1 or 2 of these ears, but sometimes there are more. The seed buds in them are protected by thin leaves tightly covering the ears, and only a liquid bunch of light stigmas peeps out. Fertilization occurs when wind-borne mature pollen from male inflorescences reaches female. After which the seeds — kernels — develop on them.
The shape of corn grains is also special, round-cubic, and not cylindrical, like most other cereals. In one ear can be up to 1 thousand grains.
They are located on it in vertically arranged rows and sit tightly to each other. The color and size of the corn seeds differ depending on the variety: a yellow tint dominates, but there are also blue-violet and reddish seeds.
Corn is a valuable and high-yielding crop. Its grain is used as a food product, for technical purposes and in the form of fodder, that is, for livestock feed. In nutritional value, it does not at all yield to the grain of other cereals, even surpasses them. 1 kg of corn seeds corresponds to 1, 34 feed. units
- protein – from 9 to 12%;
- carbohydrates – from 65 to 75%;
- oils – from 5 to 8%;
- fiber – 2%.
This cereal is rich in vitamins A, C, E, H, PP and group B, as well as macro- and microelements (potassium, silicon, zinc, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, copper, selenium). Corn seeds are easily absorbed by the human body and farm animals, improve metabolism and have a positive effect on the work of all systems and organs.
In addition to grain, corn also gives green mass, which is used fresh as fodder for livestock, and also make silage from it. According to this indicator, it leads among other feed crops.
Silo made from mowed plants in the phase of milk-wax ripeness has dietary properties and is quickly digested in the body of domestic animals.
Full feeding of rabbits is the basis for getting good carcasses and skins. Therefore, it is so important to provide eared with a variety of high-calorie foods.
These animals themselves are unscrupulous creatures in food, they willingly eat the food offered to them and quickly increase their body weight. Especially this is facilitated by their absorption of whole and ground grains, including corn. Therefore, the answer to the question whether it is possible for rabbits to get corn is affirmative.
It is possible to feed this cereal to animals at any stage of its development, but stems that are too rough should not be given, as rabbits do not digest fiber well and there will be no sense in such food.
Young green shoots of corn can be included in the diet of even early young rabbits at the age of 1-2 months, when he is still under his mother. The rabbit will not refuse such a treat.
Green stems and leaves of grown corn, as an addition to fresh herbs, should be given to weaners and adult animals. But before distributing the food, they need to be cut into pieces 30-50 cm long so that it is more convenient for the rabbits to eat them. Fresh corn tops are available for animals for about 3-4 months until harvest time comes.
Corn leaves can also be harvested for the winter. To do this, they must be separated from the stems, dried in the shade, like ordinary hay, and put into storage in a dry, dark room — an attic or a barn.
Dry corn harvesting should be given to eared pets from October to April, when there is no fresh grass and branch feed. Also during this period, rabbits need to be fed silage from corn, legumes, garden tops, small root crops, and herbs.
Corn kernels can be given to rabbits whole or milled at 60-150 g per head per day, depending on the breed. It must be remembered that crushed grain cannot be harvested for future use, since the fats contained in it quickly rancid, and it becomes unusable.
For better digestibility of whole grains, it can be soaked in water for 2-3 hours before distribution. You can also add small corn slice to the mixers, cook porridge from it. In addition, adult rabbits can even give out cobs with grain. Animals themselves gnaw seeds from them and leave empty inflorescences, which then need to be removed from the cells.
Corn as a food product for rabbits has its own characteristics, which should be discussed in more detail. Although its grain is very nutritious, it should not be the basis of the rabbits menu and should not replace other grain feeds. This is due to the fact that it contains a little protein, poor in lysine and tryptophan (essential amino acids).
For this reason, corn grain is best combined with:
Moreover, the possible percentage of corn seeds in the menu of eared animals should not be more than 50%. Most often, it must be used in the autumn for quick fattening of rabbits for meat. In order for rabbits to quickly gain live weight, they should be given corn crushed grain 30-50 days before slaughter. Norm: 80-150 g per animal per day.
Corn is also needed for puppet and lactating rabbits. It is especially necessary for rabbits in the last third of the period of pregnancy, when there is the greatest increase in the mass of embryos. At this time, corn is combined with grass, vegetables, herbs, bran, oilcake, potatoes. Eating such food, the rabbit will be able to properly endure, give birth and raise babies. But feeding corn to animals that are preparing for mating is not recommended.
At high-energy feed, they quickly grow fat and have a poor instinct for reproduction. Therefore, future parents need to be fed so that they remain moderately well-fed.