Tuesday, April 3, 2012

RSPCA NSW 'Hare' Care - Rabbits Culinary Habbits

Freckles is available to adopt from our Tuggerah Care Centre

Rabbits are herbivores! (ahem) In human terms they are vegans i.e. they eat no animal products, flesh, dairy, eggs etc etc. Their digestive tracts are not equipped to handle anything but a plant based diet. There are some plants that they cannot eat or can eat only in limited quantities. The importance of a correct diet cannot be over emphasized. Ninety-five percent of all rabbit vet visits are related to improper diet. Diets for sick, geriatric, baby, and pregnant rabbits differ from the diets for healthy adult rabbits.

Besides plenty of clean fresh water, it is important to feed your rabbit a diet that is:

High In Fiber - The fiber recommendation for companion rabbits is a crude fiber level of 13-20% with a level of 12.5 indigestible fiber.

Low In Calcium - The dietary level recommendation for companion rabbits of calcium is 0.6-1%.

Low in Carbohydrates - The overload of rapidly digestible carbohydrates (for example, sugars) in the large intestine increases the likelihood of digestive disorders

source - Rabbitwise

A good diet provides good nutrition and maintains appropriate body weight. It is extremely important for rabbits to maintain proper weight! Obesity kills! If your rabbit already eats lots of grass or hay, you’ve taken a major step to help him (or her!) enjoy a long, healthy life. But wild rabbits eat many other plants – not just grass. Pet rabbits (and their digestive system) really benefit from fresh greens every day.

Lollies intended for human consumption should never be given to rabbits, primarily because of the sugars. Salty, sugary, or fatty snacks intended for people should never be fed to rabbits. They contain no nutrients, encourage bad eating habits, and cause obesity and intestinal upset. Also, it's worth mentioning that chocolate in large amounts can be harmful to rabbits. However, most chocolate products (such as Easter eggs) are sugar-rich and thus, should be avoided. There is research to suggest these items may contribute to fatal cases of enterotoxaemia, a toxic overgrowth of "bad" bacteria in the intestinal tract.

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