Monday, September 17, 2012
Where's The Litter Box?!
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 have the right types and sizes of fiber it could slow their digestion, cause diarrhea, 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 and 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!
The right kind of fiber in rabbit food provides another level of assurance that your rabbits will be healthy.
For more interesting tidbits about rabbit care, go HERE!
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5479122