Rabbits: Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB0080)

Feed and Water

  1. Whatever feeding is adopted, all rabbits should receive a daily diet which is nutritionally adequate to maintain health. A new type of feed should be introduced over a period of a few days.
  2. A plentiful supply of clean fresh water should be easily accessible to the rabbits at all times. For example a lactating doe with a large litter, close to weaning, may drink up to 4.5 litres of water a day. To enable all rabbits to drink satisfactorily the nipple drinker should be about 25 cm from the bottom of the cage. Efforts should be made to minimise the risk of drinking water freezing.
  3. Stale or contaminated feed or water should not be allowed to accumulate.
  4. Where bowls are used for either feed or water they should be of impervious material and of a design which cannot be knocked over and can be cleaned easily.
  5. When fed by any system which does not allow continuous and unrestricted access to feed, all rabbits in the group should be able to feed at the same time. The feeding of a small quantity of hay or straw in addition to normal diet may be beneficial and provide activity for the rabbits.
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