rabbit food? How do minerals affect the health, growth, and fur coat of rabbits?What roles do minerals play in rabbits and why is it important to have balanced mineral ratios in
Calcium and PhosphorusRabbits 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 has been used as a pest control poison for rabbits.
- Problems also occur when the ratio between these two minerals is not balanced. Low or unbalanced phosphorous levels can increase urinary calcium loss and restrict growth rates and protein efficiency. Phosphorus is expensive and many rabbit foods will try to reduce the amount the feed has or use a lower quality source. THIS HAS A DIRECT IMPACT ON HEALTH AND FEED EFFICIENCY! Monodicalcium phosphate is a high quality source of phosphorous.
- Other minerals are needed as cofactors in enzymes involved in metabolic processes (cobalt is needed to make vitamin B12). Higher levels of some of these minerals have been shown to increase the efficiency of protein and energy use in rabbits favoring better feed conversion ratios and improved health. A study on the effects of adding certain key minerals in the diet of rabbits showed up to a 17% improvement in the feed conversion ratio, protein efficiency, and nutrient digestibility.
- 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 in rabbits.
- 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 feed from degrading. This ensures your feed will stay fresh longer, and is part of how we ensure the quality and consistency of Sherwood Forest feeds!