MAKING OUR HOME BEAUTIFUL 239
green stuff grows in the spring. Whatever green food is put away for winter use must be stored where frost cannot touch it, as freezing unfits it for rabbits. Parsnips left in the ground all winter make an excellent early spring rabbit food .after the frost leaves the ground in which they grow.
Rabbits should be fed twice daily. Ordinary stock is fed morning and evening, but mother rabbit should also have a noon meal or be given more than they will eat at the other meals. The general rule is to feed only as much grain or green stuff as the animals will consume. Hay is put into the hutch to be available at any time, a part of it being left as litter. The exact amount of grain or green stuff for each rabbit at a meal cannot be stated, as the appetite varies greatly at different times. Observations of the quantity left over when the animals quit feeding will soon enable the feeder to adjust the meals to the needs of the rabbits. Overfeeding is a much more common mistake than underfeeding.
Winter feeding.—In winter one of the meals each day should be chiefly of green food (as roots or cabbage) and the other mainly of grain. Roots, cabbage, celery, and the like should be washed clean of soil, but should not be wet when given to the rabbits. If green food is given in the morning, the evening meal should be whole oats or other grain for mature animals. Those under three months of age should be given crushed oats with a little bran, as they cannot so well masticate whole grain. A little hay should be given with each meal.
Summer feeding.—In summer green food should be the chief reliance, and only a small quantity of hay or grain is needed. Rabbits are fond of all kinds of garden vegetables, besides wild parsley, dandelion, plantain, dock, and other weeds, as well as lawn clippings and other grasses. Agreeable changes in diet are always possible in summer, but overfeeding should be avoided and also the feeding of stuff that is wet with dew or rain. It is best to cut clover or other green food in the afternoon before the dew falls and to spread it under shelter, so that it will not heat, but be still fresh at feeding time.