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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rs's Noka and RS's Godiva

Like other domestic rabbits, dwarf rabbits have a sensitive digestive system that is less hardy than their wild rabbit cousins. Leafy vegetables such as lettuces, cabbages, and greens (collard greens, mustard greens, beet greens, spinach, and kale) are crucial. Young rabbits, up until about eight weeks of age, should not be given vegetables due to the lack of development in their digestive system. Adults can be fed safe veggies daily, and should be given four heaping cups of varied vegetables (three or more) per five pounds of rabbit. In addition, sudden changes to a dwarf rabbit's diet can cause digestive problems, but it generally only lasts a few days and usually causes no real harm/lasting damage.
A very important aspect of rabbit care is proper diet. Many owners unintentionally fail at this point and that often spells disaster for their pet. Netherland Dwarfs have a digestive system even more sensitive than most breeds. The best diet consists of fresh, good quality rabbit pellets fed in limited amounts. It is crucial that the pellets be fresh and stored for no longer than eight weeks, do not use pellets which are moldy or have been contaminated. As pellets age they lose important nutrients, and a rabbit’s system will become susceptible to disease. The owner should also check the label for the percentages of protein, fiber, and fat. The National Research Council lists minimum rabbit nutrient requirements for a maintenance diet as 14% crude fiber, 2% fat, and 12% protein. It is best to feed a pellet that is higher in fiber (18-20%) and lower in protein (14-15%) and fat (2-3%) to a pet rabbit. Once you find a good brand, stick with it; frequent changes in diet can cause digestive problems. If you need to change brands, be sure to mix the new feed in with the old and increase the amount of new to old over a week's time so the rabbit can adjust.
Netherland Dwarfs generally don't require much feed. A small handful each day is usually enough, but it is important to adjust for each individual to avoid malnourishment/obesity. It is also important not to overfeed a Netherland Dwarf. Hay, however, can be given in unlimited amounts. A traditional ramekin dish full of complementary food and free access to water is always required.