In the wild the rabbit diet
consists of a variety of food choices. They show a natural preference for grasses and clovers as well as tree leaves that are dropped in the fall. Everyone knows that rabbits love carrots but, if you remember the story of Peter Cottontail who got sick stuffing himself on the bounty of garden vegetables, too much of anything good can be bad... at home or in the wild, a balanced
rabbit nutrition plan is important!
Animals have been shown to change dietary preference as they seek to satisfy certain “cravings” or fill their needs for specific nutrients. Although some plants provide just about everything needed in a rabbits diet to assist with growth and reproduction, there are not any that are balanced enough to be efficient or that will provide them with optimal health. A plant will always be lacking in some limiting nutrient that another plant may have in rich supply. This is why rabbits respond well to a mixed and pelleted diet
The manufacturers of other brands of rabbit food in years past have focused on using grain and soy as sources of energy and protein. However, they have discovered that a diet high in grain and protein in fact contributes to diarrhea and high mortality (death) rates.
In recent years the pendulum has swung a different direction with a new focus on a high fiber rabbit diet that decreases these problems. However most pelleted diets for rabbits still cause mild digestive problems.
Choosing the right food for your rabbit can be confusing because there are so many different brands and styles with even more variation in opinions!
Here are some facts that you should understand before switching your rabbit food... again! Because your rabbits diet will reflect on their health and appearance.
Regardless of the brand most rabbit feeds are made using available cheap by-products that reduce the price of rabbit food but not necessarily your actual cost.
Judging the quality verses the price of any rabbit diet based on the values of crude protein
or crude fiber
on the label can be costly. It simply does not provide the information needed to judge the actual quality of the food.
There is a wealth of information provided in scientific studies regarding the rabbit diet that has not been fully utilized because it has either been cost prohibitive, unknown by manufacturers, or very recently discovered.
Think of building a rabbit with miniature blocks. Each block is unique and has a special purpose. Having too much of one block is simply a waste (that needs to be eliminated) while not having enough of a critical block causes all the others to be wasted. Unbalanced feeds can stress the physiology of a rabbit in different ways which leads to the wide variation in public opinions about rabbit food that we see today. Balance AND quality is vital!
Identifying theses critical building blocks (limiting nutrients) that rabbits need and providing them in the right ratio can make a large impact on their health.
Being educated about the 5 categories listed below will help you when reading feed labels so you can make wise decisions about the quality of food you give your rabbits. Be forewarned that this information WILL SURPRISE YOU!
1. Crude protein
2. Crude fiber
3. Crude fat
At Sherwood Forest making sure that your rabbit diet
is correctly formulated for optimal health is our business!