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Bunny banter

Someone told me rabbits eat their own poo! Surely this can’t be true.

Yes, this is true! Although they don’t eat all their poo… just some of it. The unique muscles of a rabbit’s caecum allow the intestinal tract to separate out fibrous material from more digestible material; the fibrous material is then passed, while the more nutritious material is encased in a mucous lining which is later passed as faeces that are then consumed. They are often referred to as ‘night faeces’, and are high in minerals, vitamins and protein. Night faeces are softer and appear darker in colour than normal faeces. This ‘double digestion’ allows rabbits to extract the necessary nutrients from their high-fibre diet.

 

Can pet rabbits become overweight?

Yes, they can. Rabbits that are kept in captivity often get less exercise than wild rabbits and if their diet is not carefully regulated, they can become overweight. Offering a well-balanced, high-fibre feed, such as NRM Rabbit Pellets, will help to keep rabbits at a healthy weight.

 

Should my rabbit have hay all the time?

Yes, definitely. Rabbits are designed to consume a diet high in fibre. They are hind gut fermenters which means the majority of their digestion occurs in their caecum where it is fermented by resident microorganisms. If rabbits are not fed enough fibre they can develop a potentially fatal health problem called gut stasis, so it’s important to offer them a feed that is well suited to their unique requirements, along with ample access to hay.

 

Does my doe need special feed if she has a litter?

NRM Rabbit Pellets are well formulated and used by breeders for both pregnant and lactating rabbits – just restrict levels for pregnant does and feed ad-lib when producing milk.

 

I’m worried about my rabbits contracting Calicivirus as I heard the virus has been released to keep down populations of wild rabbits. Is there anything I can do to protect my rabbit?

Yes, there is a vaccination available. Pet rabbits should be vaccinated from 10 weeks of age, and boosters given according to your veterinarian’s recommendation. Owners of rabbits that have been previously vaccinated, should ensure that booster vaccines are up-to-date.

 

Are fruit and veggies good for my rabbit?

Provided rabbits are fed a fully formulated feed they should not need extra nutrients from greens. Many common plants, like lettuce and kale, can be harmful and fruit often contains a lot of sugar, which should be limited. Variety is not always the spice of life for rabbits who prefer consistency, so check out what you can feed them and limit how much is fed. Basil, carrots, celery leaves, dandelion leaves and flowers, dill, mint, parsley and watercress are generally considered safe for rabbits. Give NRM Rabbit Pellets a try for your furry friends. Designed to fulfil a rabbit’s preference for a high-fibre diet, NRM Rabbit Pellets contain high-quality lucerne chaff and a unique raw fibre concentrate with a perfect balance of cellulose-to-lignin to improve the digestive health of rabbits. NRM Rabbit Pellets also contain high-quality soya oil to deliver linoleic acid, a fatty acid which can help to improve coat condition. A comprehensive, rabbit-specific trace element and vitamin pack to support optimum health and vitality is also included, along with a coccidiostat to prevent coccidiosis – a parasite which can be an issue particularly in young kits but can also affect mature rabbits. For further information, contact your local Nutrition Specialist.

Article supplied by Stacey Cosnett, Nutritionist.