Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hay for Rabbits

By: David Sherwood

Photo by w3ird37

Feeding rabbits Timothy hay is a great way to provide them with a low-energy dietary fiber. Timothy hay grown in the western part of the USA is often a better quality because quickly cures in the desert air so it's green.

If you feed timothy hay to your bunny be careful to not feed it too much because it is likely to cause nutritional deficiencies. Timothy hay doesn't provide enough vitamins and minerals that rabbits need to stay healthy. To support long-term health it is important to provide a balanced diet that is fortified with phosphorous, chelated minerals, and essential amino acids.
Many people have read on-line that they should feed timothy hay to their adult pet rabbit instead of alfalfa hay. However, this is based upon some common misconceptions that are not true!
For example many people have read online that alfalfa is "too high in calories" and can obesity in rabbits. This simply is not true. Although alfalfa has slightly more calories than Timothy hay it is important to understand that the calories in alfalfa are mainly from protein, which your rabbit needs to eat to be healthy.
The types of calories that can make your rabbit fat are from carbohydrates that come from grain and grain by-products. This is why adult pet rabbits will be healthier when they are fed a grain-free diet. Rabbit food that is made for "rabbits of all ages" will cause your rabbit to gain unhealthy weight because it has too many calories. This is why it is important to feed a properly balanced rabbit food that has the right protein to energy ratio. Although it isn't clearly listed on the feed label it is important to read the ingredient list and avoid rabbit food that has a lot of grain and grain by-products or soy products.
Also many people have read online that they should avoid feeding alfalfa to their rabbit because has more calcium than timothy hay. In reality the amount of calcium in hay greatly depends upon the amount of calcium that is in the soil that it was grown in. Also, hay naturally has a lot more calcium than grain! So the only way to lower the calcium content of your rabbits diet is to feed less hay and more grain... but that is definitely not recommended!
Nutritionists know that the digestible phosphorous content and the phosphorous to calcium ratio of the diet are the most important factors that influences calcium metabolism. Phosphorous is a limiting nutrient and is expensive but adding it to the diet of your rabbit is important for long-term health. Baby rabbits need a phosphorous content of around 0.6% (adult rabbits need above 0.3%).
For these reasons it is best to feed your rabbit a balanced pelleted diet that includes all of the minerals and vitamins that your rabbit needs to stay healthy. When you do you'll see a real difference in the quality of their fur coat as well as their playfulness and overall activity level.
David Sherwood has grown up raising rabbits for fun. His advanced academic and real world experience have given him extensive knowledge that will help you understand and solve many of the problems that face those who raise rabbits. To learn more about his qualifications and to get 'common sense' answers to rabbit questions, go to
To learn more about feeding rabbits hay, go to:

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Healthy Snacks Your Rabbit Will Love

By: Lindsey Watson
Photo by jaimuima
Everyone loves a good snack every now and then! The same is true for your rabbits. A good snack can be a nutritious part of a healthy diet. It also sparks your pet's interest and gives them something to look forward to on a daily basis. Are you in search of healthy snack ideas that your rabbits will love? Use the list below to find snacks that your rabbit is sure to enjoy.
While hay should be an essential part of your pet's diet, it can also serve as a great snack throughout the day. As a snack option, choose to give your rabbit alfalfa hay as opposed to the regular timothy hay that you feed on a daily basis. The texture and nutritional value is different and this can make for a great snack for your pet.
Fresh food
Perhaps the best snacks to feed your pet are those that are fresh and that will help aid in the digestion process. Keep in mind, however, that fresh food should only be given to your rabbit 2 to 3 times a week. Why? Over feeding your rabbit with fresh food will quickly cause him to begin relying solely on this food for nutrition. Rabbit pellets should make up the majority of your rabbit's diet. Fresh food that your rabbit will love includes apples, grapes, pears, oranges, mustard greens, beets, parsley, etc. Snacks not to include in your rabbit's diet include the pits or seeds from fresh fruit. Be sure that you remove all seeds and pits before serving fresh snacks to your pet.
Fibre Rich Pellets / Nuggets
While you don't want to over feed your rabbit, an occasional snack of extra pellets won't hurt. If you can't make it to the store or don't have hay on hand but feel that you pet deserves a snack, consider giving it a few extra pellets for a snack during the day. You need to ensure though that you are serving fibre rich nuggets rather than sugary muesli, which offers no nutritional goodness to the rabbit whatsoever.
If you want to raise a healthy rabbit, snacks should be included at least 2 to 3 times a week. Keep in mind however, that rabbit that are 6 months or younger, should not be fed a large amount of fresh food. Depending on the age of your rabbit, ration snacks throughout the week while still giving your pet the food that it loves.
Feed your rabbit a healthy, nutritious and fibre rich diet by choosing The Excel Feeding Plan, quality rabbit food that is Vet approved. Visit the Burgess Pet Care website for more information today.

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