Rabbit Food

healthier happier rabbit food

Healthy Weight

Sherwood formulas will help your bunny shed excess fat and gain healthy weight. This is made possible because of two major innovations.

BALANCED NUTRITION: First, Sherwood foods contain a balanced ratio of all the trace elements and micronutrients rabbits need to be optimally healthy beyond what they could find in the wild. This helps rabbits (especially older rabbits) build healthy muscle and other tissues effectively helping them gain healthy weight.

SAY NO TO CARB's! At the same time the food is lower in calories than other brands that are loaded with grain and soy. Furthermore the protein to energy ratio helps keep rabbits at an ideal body weight by promoting the burning of excess body fat and preventing additional fat storage.

Prefect Digestion

A hay-based diet that is grain and soy-free ensures a healthy digestive system. Rabbits rely on good bacteria to ferment their food and provide additional nutrients. To promote healthy bacterial populations, rabbits should always have food and water available to them.
We are often asked how to feed Sherwood Forest Rabbit Food and if it can be rationed and supplemented with additional treats, hay and vegetables. To better understand how to feed your rabbit see the picture of the digestive tract and read over the additional information below.
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This is where most of the magic happens... Normally undigested hay that is rich in cellulose provides food for healthy bacteria that slowly break it down and produce energy, vitamins, and other nutrients for the rabbit. However this special symbiotic arrangement can spell trouble for the rabbit if it eats too much grain or soy. These items are like candy for bad bacteria and can quickly change the pH and other conditions in the caecum leading to digestive upset, bloat, and possibly even diarrhea. For more details click on the ingredients tab above.
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This is the end of the small intestine where most of the nutrients should have already been absorbed. After passing through this part the micro-villi of the intestinal wall separates particles according to their size. Large particles (or long-stem fiber that is greater than 1.7mm in size -primarily lignified or woody stems) are directed to the large intestine while the small particles (smaller than 1.5mm) are directed into the caecum and fuel bacterial fermentation in the caecum.
Small Intestine:
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All of the nutrients that have been released through digestive processes are absorbed as they pass through the small intestine (which is small in diameter but it is actually very long). However starch (from grain sources like wheat middlings and grain by-products) are not fully broken down and therefore cannot be absorbed. At the end of the small intestine all food particles that have not already been absorbed are sorted according to size. Large particles (long-stem fiber) are directed to the large intestine while small particles are directed into the caecum to be fermented.
Large Intestine:
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This is where water is re-absorbed prior to expelling little rabbit poops.

Rabbits are dependent on the good bacteria that live in their digestive tract. These bacteria ferment and break down the undigested fiber contained in the food the bunny eats. They actually live in a "chamber" near the end of the digestive tract called the caecum (see picture above). This means that rabbits are able to digest and extract nutrients out of their food before the bacteria have a chance to ferment (digest) it.

HEALTHY FERMENTATION: The special arrangement of the rabbits digestive system means that only indigestible material (mostly fiber) provides the foundation for the slow growth of healthy bacteria. This process has the potential to provide additional nutrients such as B-vitamins, essential amino-acids (high quality protein) and volatile fatty-acids (a natural source of energy) for your rabbit.

STARCH AND SOY CAUSE PROBLEMS: Take note that rabbits don't digest starch (from grain and grain by-products) or soy very well. They also cannot directly digest even the soft simple fibers like pectin found in fruit and cellulose found in vegetables, leafy greens, and fresh grass.

MODERATION IS KEY: Too much of any of these items in the caecum can contribute to the rapid overgrowth of bad bacteria which often leads to bloating, digestive upset, and possibly even diarrhea.

More Energy

BALANCE: A balanced diet fortified with trace elements and B-vitamins supports healthy energy levels. If anything is lacking or out of balance then metabolic pathways slow down and your rabbit will begin to feel more lethargic. The best way to support longterm health and overall energy levels to start with proper nutrition.

PROBIOTIC SUPPORT: Furthermore healthy digestive patterns support healthy energy levels because good bacteria in the caecum are constantly replenishing the blood stream with new B-vitamins and energy sustaining volatile fatty acids. These healthy bacteria also inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that can cause bloat or other digestive upset leaving your bunny in an upset condition.

Too many carbohydrates (from grain) makes a rabbit gain unhealthy weight.


How many CALORIES should be in rabbit food? Rabbits regulate the amount of food they eat based upon the energy concentration of the diet. This means that they will eat less food that is rich in calories and, conversely, they will eat more food if it is less calorie dense. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH REGULATING BODY FAT!!! This is because not all calories are the same and total dietary calories need to be obtained in a balanced ratio to the amount of usable protein and other nutrients available in the food (read the section on protein above).

A balanced diet, including a balanced energy to protein ratio helps rabbits become lean & healthy. This means the same food can help underweight bunnies gain healthy weight AND help overweight rabbits shed excess body fat!
Here is a little known fact: AVOID GRAIN!!! Rabbits naturally use fat more efficiently than starch from grain. This is primarily due to their natural dietary preferences. Rabbits (especially baby bunnies) do not have a very robust digestive system for processing carbohydrates from grain and other sources. Instead they are built to house healthy bacteria (in the caecum) that ferment tough plant fibers into quality protein, healthy volatile fatty acids (main basal energy source) and a host of B-vitamins. Interestingly rabbits are also super efficient at digesting dietary fat (even at an incorporation rate of 10%!). Just like all mammals rabbits need to obtain certain fats from their diet that are used to make cell membranes (the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are usually limiting in the diet). Adding these to the diet greatly improves the quality of the fur coat which is a reflection of the internal health of the rabbit.

THE RIGHT TYPES OF FAT: It is best to choose a brand of rabbit food that has a higher fat content made with whole natural oil seeds that are rich in vitamin E. Adding refined fats can cause vitamin E deficiencies unless the ratio of vitamin E to fat in the diet is balanced. Natural oils from plants (especially whole oil seeds like flax) tend to be naturally high in vitamin E in their whole natural form. Rendered animal fat and refined vegetable oils like soybean oil are deficient in vitamin E.

MAINTAINING A HEALTHY WEIGHT: As the only source of added dietary fat, Sherwood Forest Natural Rabbit Food uses a proprietary blend of whole natural oil seeds (including flax seed) that are loaded with vitamin E (absolutely no soy or canola). Sherwood Forest is enriched in omega 3's and contains a balanced omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. Published scientific studies show that this style of diet improves the protein AND energy efficiency of the diet. Rabbits are far healthier because of it! Most brands only have between 2-3% fat which doesn't meet the needs of rabbits. Furthermore the right energy to protein ratio will help underweight rabbits gain healthy weight while also helping overweight rabbits shed excess body fat.

Less Odor

A balanced diet means less protein waste and litter box smell. How much protein do rabbits need to stay healthy? How much is too much?

Wasted protein makes your rabbit stink.
These are a simple questions with complex answers... because it 'depends' upon many other factors. However it is VERY EASY to tell if the protein in the food you are feeding your rabbit is getting wasted. This is because wasted protein will cause your rabbit's litter box to stink... and the smell gets worse as more protein is wasted.

THE SMELL OF WASTED PROTEIN: The smell of ammonia comes from wasted protein. It is impossible for the waste of living things to be "ammonia free." However excessive ammonia is an obvious sign that protein in the food is not getting used EVEN IF IT IS GETTING DIGESTED AND ABSORBED! This is because the liver and kidneys have to work hard to rid the body of unused protein.

Even more strange is the fact that a rabbit can be deficient in meeting its dietary needs for protein AND simultaneously be overburdened with having to process and eliminate excess protein that it can't use (explained below).

DIGESTIVE HEALTH: Undigested protein also causes problems because it produces ammonia in the caecum which changes the pH and promotes the growth of bad bacteria. This causes gas, bad caecotroph formation, and increases the chance that your rabbit will suffer from diarrhea. Some brands add Yucca root to the food because it binds up ammonia so that you can't smell it. This is just a band-aid that covers up the problem. A properly balanced diet doesn't need yucca root.

The real issue at hand is based upon protein quality. The SOLUTION is to provide high quality protein in a proper balance.
This is a string of amino acids
Protein is made of building blocks called amino acids. All proteins are made from a unique combination of the standard 20 amino acids. They are linked together and form a three dimensional structure that has a special purpose such as a digestive enzyme (there is up to an an estimated 1,000,000 unique proteins in mammals).

The protein a rabbit eats is digested and broken down into individual amino acids that are used to make new proteins that the rabbit needs. While making these new proteins that rabbit draws from a 'pool' of amino acids.
This is a string of amino acids folded into a complete protein.
Some of them can be changed by an enzyme from one type to another while others are called "essential amino acids" because they have to be obtained in the diet.

BALANCED DIET: It is very important that rabbits eat a balanced diet complete with the right ratio of all the essential amino acids.
A great analogy is to compare it to building a puzzle because it requires the right balance of all the right pieces or you won't finish. Sadly if a rabbit is deficient in a single amino acid (missing a few puzzle pieces) then they will go without the needed enzyme (like a mechanic without the right tools) and their health will be compromised. To some extent rabbits can compensate simply by eating more food but this leads to two problems. First, the rabbit will have to dispose of all the unused protein which stresses the liver and kidneys. Second, eating too many calories will cause the rabbit to get fat.

Balancing the "amino acid profile" should be according to the digestibility or bio-availability for each individual essential amino acid. Sherwood Forest Rabbit food is balanced according to the "true ileal digestibility" (the best way) of all the 11 essential amino acids (and it also includes chelated selenium for those of you who know about selenocysteine, the 21st proteogenic amino acid used in the all important thioredoxin reductase enzyme and others).

AVOID SOY: For this reason (and many others) Sherwood Forest rabbit food is SOY-FREE! Soy contains higher levels of "trypsin inhibitors" that inactivate protein digestive enzymes. This reduces the digestibility of the protein so it is not fully absorbed before it gets to the caecum. Remember this promotes the growth of bad bacteria that produce ammonia as a by-product.

MAINTAINING A HEALTHY WEIGHT:There is one more thing I want to point out. The total amount of usable protein needs to be balanced with respect to the total amount of energy the diet provides. If there is too little energy then it forces the rabbit to 'burn' some of the protein to compensate and this causes more ammonia production and stresses the liver and the kidneys. If there is too much energy relative to protein it will cause the rabbit to store the excess as fat (especially true for brands that put in too many carbohydrates - i.e. grain!).

Easy Transition

Switching to Sherwood's hay-based formula is easier on your bunny. The reason why it is popular to slowly switch the diet of a rabbit over a period of days to weeks is to prevent the rapid growth of bad bacteria. This can occur when the switch could be introducing more carbohydrates and/or soy into the diet. Switching from a grain/soy-based diet to a hay-based diet is a lot easier. In fact most bunnies can make the switch in a single day.

Rabbits should always have food and water available!


NOT ALL FIBER IS THE SAME: Rabbits are a special kind of herbivore sometimes referred to as a 'FIBERvore'. This is because their primary diet is tough fibrous plant material such as grasses (timothy and orchard hay) and legumes (clover and alfalfa). It is important to note that these plants are actually composed of a number of different types of fiber that, for the purposes of rabbit nutrition, can be classified into two generalized groups. For this reason a food label that reports that the food contains a guaranteed minimum/maximum amount of fiber does not provide enough detail.

TAKE A LOOK: There are some visual cues that can help you in deciding if the food contains enough of the right types of fiber for rabbits. Look at the picture of pellets. The particles in the pellets should be of various sizes (read the next paragraph) instead of uniformly ground into small particles.

Long Stem Hay provides the indigestible fiber rabbits need to keep their digestive tract active and healthy. The actual length of what is considered long-stem fiber will probably surprize you. In rabbit nutrition long stem fiber is actually every particle in the digestive tract that is longer than 1.7 mm. That is only 7/100th of an inch! However, this is very long for the intestinal villi near the end of the small intestine where food particles are sorted according to size. Most particles that are 1.7mm or longer get transported to the large intestine where water is reabsorbed before they are expelled. Particles smaller than 1.5 mm are shuttled into the caecum where they are fermented (eaten by bacteria). This process produces energy for the rabbit (volatile fatty acids) as well as many B-vitamins (needed for the rabbit to use the energy) and other nutrients.
Click the picture and take a close look at the different particle sizes that are important for proper digestion.

KEEP THINGS GOING: Rabbits need to regularly eat and drink to help support the growth of healthy bacteria. ALWAYS PROVIDE YOUR RABBIT WITH HEALTHY FOOD AND CLEAN WATER. If anything disrupts this fermentative process then the production of B-vitamins and fatty acids will stop and your rabbit will loose its energy levels and its appetite. If this goes on for too long then your rabbit could die.

FOODS TO AVOID:There are many foods people commonly give to rabbits that can also trigger bad fermentative patterns that lead to the same thing. This includes anything that is high in sugar or starch as well as many veggies that are rich in soft fibers like pectins. These foods have to be limited in the diet of a rabbit. Signs that they have eaten too much of these foods include mushy poops, bloating, uneaten caecotrophs and, in extreme situations, even G.I. stasis or diarrhea. Click here for more detailed information with pictures.

Softer Fur

Beautiful fur is a reflection of inner health. Although true health is more than fur deep you'll see a big difference in the quality of your bunnies fur within a few weeks of switching to Sherwood. Even during molting season you'll notice that the fur will grow back more quickly and healthier. This is true even for angoras.

My bunnies LOVE it - and i do too!

Posted by "Bees On Earth"
We've been buying Sherwood Forest Natural rabbit food for 3 years now. Not only do Chocolate, Treble and Moo Cow all love the pellets, no other food provides them the sheen and shine and quality of their fur.

His fur has improved, his energy is amazing!

Posted by Jamie
Though I was fairly happy with Oxbow and even sometimes Ecotrition organics for my rabbit along with the best hay money could buy I researched some and found out about you and your amazing food. A few weeks ago I purchased a bag for my rabbit.

Rex is fairly picky but he is now running across the 12x10 room to eat some of your delicious and nutritious product. His fur has improved, his energy is amazing, he is doing so well on your food,,,and its beautiful to see.

Thank you very much David!!

Rabbit Food Ingredients

Sherwood Forest Natural Rabbit Food Ingredients

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Minerals and Vitamins. Sherwood Forest adds their own formulation of high quality chelated minerals to balance and complement the minerals already found in the natural ingredients. This ensures that your bunnies are recieiving a full well balanced diet including all of the trace minerals they need to stay healthy. Many of these minerals are cofactors in enzymes that are needed for special metabolic processes. The result is greatly improved protien and energy efficiencey and noticable improvements in health and demeanor.
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Alfalfa or Timothy hay. The first ingredient(s) in Sherwood Forest rabbit food is premium hay. We use pelleted hay because it stores and preserves nutrients better than baled hay. Alfalfa is a very high quality source of protein for rabbits. Our adult rabbit food formulas balances the use of timothy hay with alfalfa according to the dietary needs of rabbits so we don't have to use soy! Furthermore, because the nutritional value of hay varies considerably (which has a large impact on its digestibility and nutritional value) Sherwood Forest Natural Rabbit Food standardizes the quality of alfalfa it uses in the food formulation so the recipes don't change and you can expect consistent results.
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Flax Seed. We use our own proprietary blend of whole natural oil seed(s) (flax included) as a source of energy instead of grain by-products. This is proven to improve the health of rabbits and the protein and energy efficiency of rabbit food. Sherwood Forest uses absolutely NO SOY and NO CANOLA! Furthermore every oil seed is unique and a lot of research went into choosing the right blend. Oil seeds are loaded with natural vitamin E and other antioxidants that help rabbits be healthy. As a result they provide our foods with the highest concentrations of natural vitamin E ever found in any rabbit food. These oil seeds also provide essential amino acids that help balance the protein in Sherwood Forest rabbit food.
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Whole Millet. Sherwood Forest only uses millet in the BABY RABBIT FOOD. We only use whole natural millet that are cleaned of debris, dust, and broken kernels.

Our adult formulas are GRAIN-FREE.

Research has demonstrated that a small amount of whole millet is beneficial to baby rabbits when provided as a part of a balanced and complete diet. Millet provides energy and many natural B-vitamins. The complete nutritional profile and digestibility of the millet was used in formulating the food to ensure consistently healthy and happy bunnies.

Compare to Typical Rabbit Food Ingredients from Other Brands
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Typical Rabbit Food tends to be brown. If you look at all the ingredients below you'll get an idea why.
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Alfalfa or Timothy Meal. Generally the first ingredient is dried alfalfa meal or timothy grass meal... which is simply pelleted and re-ground hay. Alfalfa is good for rabbits when properly balanced with other nutritious ingredients. However, the quality of alfalfa meal varies considerably from batch to batch. Many brands simply add in more soybean meal and then adjust the ratios of other ingredients to compensate for these differences (this is especially true for timothy based pellets. This easily alters the balance and digestibility of the food from batch to batch and can lead to inconsistent results. The amino acid profile of alfalfa is fairly well balanced for rabbits (way better quality protein than Timothy grass hay) but the digestibility of the protein is highly dependent upon the quality of alfalfa.
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Wheat middlings are a by-product of the wheat milling process. It is high in protein (about 18%) and carbohydrates. It is a very cheap source of these two nutrients and so this has become a principle ingredient in rabbit food. However the amino acid profile of the protein in wheat middlings is a very poor source of many essential amino acids and therefore is not nearly as balanced as alfalfa. Besides, the carbohydrates/starch in wheat middlings is not easily digested by young and growing rabbits and too much of this ingredient can cause diarrhea. Using whole natural oil seeds, complemented by high quality alfalfa, is a much better choice to meet the protein and energy needs of growing rabbits.
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Soybean meal is a high protein by-product after extracting oil from soybeans. It is often used to compensate for differences in protein content of the alfalfa meal used. However soybean meal has a dramatically different amino acid profile than alfalfa and contains many other things that are not good for rabbits. Too much soybean meal is known to cause digestive troubles in young growing rabbits.
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Soybean hulls are a cheap by-product used to boost the fiber levels of the food. It usually contains dust and other contaminants while providing little, if any nutritional value.
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Processed grain by-products is a generic term that often signifies that the food is not consistently using the same ingredients but instead are using what is cheap and available. It could also mean that they are using screenings that came from cleaning grain used for other purposes. These screenings contain dust and are more likely to have higher levels of mycotoxin contamination.
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Oat hulls are just another cheap way to stuff rabbit food with fiber. Again these ingredients contain dust and other contaminants while providing little, if any nutritional value. Remember that fiber needs to be provided in the right particle size to be healthy for rabbits.
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Dried Distillers Grain is a by-product of fermentation that often comes from either the beer making industry or the corn enthanol industry. Grain (usually corn) is ground, fermented with yeast, cooked to extract the ethanol, and then dried so it can be sold as an animal feed supplement. This can cause problems for rabbits if the 'mash' isn't dried quickly enough because it can lead to mycotoxin contamination.
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Lignin Sulfonate is another ingredient that is often used in rabbit food. It is a by-product from making paper and has many uses from making concrete to tanning leather. In animal feed it is used as a binder to make a more compact pellet. I don't recommend using it because it can impact beneficial bacterial fermentation in the caecum and therefore food digestibility!
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Molasses is a by-product from food processing and is rich in many minerals and other nutrients. However it is very high in sugar which is why it is typically added to rabbit food. It helps to bind the pellet together and it also makes it sweeter to help encourage the rabbit to eat all of the other less-appetizing junk that is in the pellet.
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Soybean oil is often added by other brands to help make a shinier fur coat. This works good but they tend to use cheap refined soybean oil that is lacking in vitamin E and other antioxidants.
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Yucca Schidigera is a popular rabbit food ingredient because it helps mask digestive problems by binding to excessive levels of ammonia (caused by poor quality and unbalanced protein). Interestingly rabbits prefer the bitter taste provided by the sapponins (the active ingredient in Yucca extract) but too high of a concentration will turn them off. You might find it interesting that alfalfa naturally contains sapponins in the right concentration.
Many companies also test their hays before making any food (as they should) but they don't standardize the quality of hay they use. This means that their recipes change from batch to batch as they add in more/less soybean meal or other protein supplements to compensate for the changing protein content of hay used in their foods. This changes fiber ratios, digestibility and everything else! Ever wonder why other brands can be so different from batch to batch even though it is the same brand?

We test our hays (protein, fiber types and ratios, minerals, etc...) to ensure that they meet very specific high quality standards. This means that our recipes are consistently the same from batch to batch! Furthermore our hays are fresh and VERY GREEN! At Sherwood Forest, we grind and mix our ingredients just prior to pelleting, bagging and shipping. This ensures the quality and freshness of the food. Rabbits can smell and taste the difference!


Storage/Shelf-life: Generally we recommend purchasing less than a 3 month supply of Sherwood Forest rabbit food. It is best to store the food in a dark and dry location. Room temperature is fine but if you want to extend the shelf life then cool temperatures are better than warm.

Just how FRESH is Sherwood Forest? If you want to store food longer than 3 months then don't worry because Sherwood Forest is ultra-fresh and the nutritional value of the pellets are protected by natural anti-oxidants. Also, all of our ingredients are kept in their natural whole state (Mother Nature's best storage). We only grind them just prior to mixing and pelleting the food. This is in contrast to what other brands do... which buy a load of pre-ground ingredients or by-products and store them in large bins. This causes much of the nutritional value of the food to age before they even make a batch of pellets. Furthermore they also date stamp the batches in a hidden code with an expiration date that is 18 months away. We post a "Made Fresh On:" date and we work hard to maintain only a week or two supply of pellets made from fresh ingredients so we can offer the freshest food on the market direct from our mill.

HOW TO STORE THE FOOD: The pellets are dry and can be easily stored in a sealed container or even a plastic bag. If you decide to freeze them just make sure that when you pull them out of storage that you wait until they have completely warmed up to room temperature BEFORE you open them. This is because moisture from the air will condense on cold surfaces and will make the pellets wet and may cause them to mold.

Here at Sherwood Forest we only use organic chelated minerals that keep the food fresh instead of inorganic mineral salts (for example: Ferrous Sulfate, copper sulfate, Manganous Oxide, and Sodium Selenite) that speed the oxidation of nutrients in the food (like salt and water rusts iron). Check out our label and compare it to others!


Why is it important to use natural vitamins for rabbits? AVOID SYNTHETIC VITAMIN D AND VITAMIN A that is commonly added to rabbit food.

VITAMIN D: Rabbits are 40x more sensitive to the active form of vitamin D (D3) than other mammals. For a rabbit vitamin D3 in excess will cause developmental deformities with higher levels being lethal. Active vitamin D3 stimulates rabbits to actively absorb more calcium from their diet and it prevents the kidneys from expelling it in the urine. Most brands add it even though it isn't needed. It is best to allow rabbits access to natural day light because the UV rays stimulate the formation of the natural vitamin D3 precursor (vitamin D2) in the skin. However, a properly formulated diet (higher quality ingredients - i.e. a green hay-based diet) will have ample amounts of natural vitamin D2 that the rabbit can convert on an as needed basis to the active form (vitamin D3).

Most brands add synthetic vitamin A and many add borderline toxic amounts.

NUTRITIONAL NONSENSE: Research shows that adding synthetic vitamin A to a balanced hay-based diet is "nutritional nonsense" because it can build up over time and induce toxicity problems. Rabbits can store large quantities of vitamin A in the liver. Signs of toxicity begin to occur when it becomes overloaded and starts to release excesses into the blood. That is why problems can occur seemingly "spontaneously."

In the rabbit vitamin A and vitamin D3 interact with each other functioning like hormones because they regulate gene expression (growth and development). These vitamins are stored in the body and in excess they become toxic. The ratio between these two vitamins for rabbits is just as important as the amount because imbalances will lead to the same issues. Once again, carelessly adding a standardized vitamin/mineral mix can easily create these toxicities in rabbits when the quality (and the amount of pro-vitamin A) of ingredients in cheaper foods can vary widely.

VITAMIN E: The manufacturing process used to make synthetic vitamin E commonly added to rabbit food leads to the production of various "chiral stereoisomers," or different forms of vitamin E. It has also been called "mixed tocopherols" which are used instead of chemical preservatives. These other forms of vitamin E may not be as bio-available to the rabbit and their presence dilutes the effective dosage the food may claim to have (as low as only 12.5% as effective).

IN THIS CASE MORE IS BETER: Vitamin E dosage recommendations have increased many fold over the years. Initially minimum values were presented that prevent nutritional muscular dystrophy and other health issues. Current research now touts many of the added benefits attributed to increasing the dietary dosage of vitamin E.

THE SOURCE MATTERS! Many brands that add refined oils (lacking in vitamin E) to increase the energy content will unknowingly create a vitamin E deficiency. This is because the ratio of vitamin E to the amount of fat in the diet is important. Research shows that adding expensive whole oil seeds that contain vitamin E and essential fatty acids to rabbit food has measurable and positive impacts on the health of rabbits. However the food must be processed properly and needs to be fresh, not stored for excessive amounts of time (unless whole oil seeds are added because they are loaded with anti-oxidants).

OTHER VITAMINS such as the B-vitamins, and Vitamin K, Choline, and Vitamin C: Many of the B-vitamins for rabbits and are produced by the microorganisms in the caecum and a well balanced diet will ensure healthy ceacal conditions and adequate production. By supplementing this natural production with certain B-vitamins rabbits have been shown to respond with increased health and energy. Most of these B-vitamins as well as vitamin K can be added through natural sources by carefully chosen ingredients. Choline is an important part of cell membranes. Without it the cells of tissues rupture and die. A diet that is low in choline causes cirrhosis of the liver and poor health. Choline is also used to build acetylcholine, which is an important neurotransmitter needed for memory and to stimulate the muscles. Healthy rabbits make adequate amounts of vitamin C but stressed and unhealthy rabbits will benefit from supplementation.


What roles do minerals play in rabbits and why is it important to have balanced mineral ratios in rabbit food? How do minerals affect the health, growth, and fur coat of rabbits?

CALCIUM AND PHOSPHOROUS: Rabbits are extremely efficient at absorbing calcium and phosphorous from their diet. Rabbits regulate their calcium levels by excreting excesses rather than limiting their absorption (this makes rabbit urine turbid). This is one of the reasons why rabbits are so sensitive to active vitamin D3 which stimulates them to actively absorb more calcium and limit its excretion. In excess, this vitamin is very toxic and can kill a rabbit if too much is used in the food.

Problems also occur when the ratio between these two minerals are not balanced. Low or unbalanced phosphorous levels can increase urinary calcium loss and restrict growth and protein metabolism. Phosphorus is expensive and many companies will save money by reducing the amount the food has or using a lower quality source. THIS WILL HAVE A DIRECT IMPACT ON HEALTH and appearance! Monodicalcium phosphate is a high quality source of phosphorous depending upon the company that supplies it.

TRACE MINERALS: Other minerals are needed as cofactors in enzymes involved in metabolic processes. Higher levels of some of key minerals have been shown to increase the efficiency of protein and energy use as well as greatly improved health. A study on the effects of adding certain key minerals in the diet of rabbits showed up to a 17% improvement in protein efficiency and nutrient digestibility.

CHELATED MINERALS:To achieve the proper levels of these key minerals they need to be provided in an organic chelated form so their absorption is efficient. This way they don’t cause unwanted mineral interactions limiting the bioavailability of other trace minerals. Recent research has identified that, in contrast to the use of inorganic sources for minerals (for example: iron oxide, manganese sulfate, zinc sulfate, and others), the use of organic chelated minerals will prevent the vitamins in the food from being oxidized and becoming degraded. This ensures your food will stay fresh longer, and is part of how we ensure the quality and consistency of Sherwood Forest foods!

BETTER FUR AND BETTER HEALTH: Some of these trace minerals have documented positive effects upon the quality of the fur coat of rabbits. This outer appearance is a reflection of inner health. For the best fur and overall health make sure your rabbit food has chelated minerals and not the inorganic mineral salts listed above!

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