Rabbits need the right types and sizes of fiber in their food!
You may already know that rabbits need a high fiber diet to prevent digestive problems, but did you know that they need the right types of fiber and, for optimal health, that they need them to be in certain sizes and ratios in their food? If they don't it could slow their digestion, stunt their growth, and reduce feed efficiency.
How can you tell if your rabbit food has the right kind of fiber in the right sizes?
Rabbits need two basic types of fiber: Indigestible, and digestible. The indigestible types need to be larger in size (approximately 1.7mm or larger) than the digestible types of fiber.
This is because, at the end of the digestive tract, rabbits sort the unabsorbed portion of their food based on size. The smaller particles are channeled into the ceacum to be fermented by bacteria. If the ceacum contains mostly digestible fiber then good bacteria will ferment it to produce nutrients vitamins for the rabbit. If the ceacum contains indigestible fiber or high amounts of grain or protein supplements then bad bacteria will grow causing digestive troubles like bloating and diarrhea for your rabbits.
The best way to tell if your rabbit food will cause problems is to take a pellet in your hands and break it apart.
If it is composed of mostly small particles then you'll know that all of it will likely end up in the ceacum and slow digestion as already discussed. If it has large particles then take a closer look at the large particles. If they are "woody" or stringy and tough fibrous plant materials then they'll probably do their job, but check the rabbit food label. If it has a lot of grain and grain by-products, or high concentrations of protein supplements like soybean meal then beware!
For more information and pictures regarding the right kind of fiber you should have in your rabbit food check out naturalrabbitfood.com/crude-fiber
David Sherwood has grown up raising rabbits for fun and profit. 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 http://naturalrabbitfood.com
To learn more about the importance of using a balanced natural rabbit food and to see it's unique and proven formulation (now commercially available), go to: http://naturalrabbitfood.com/crude-fiber/
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