Certain matters should be considered when you have a plan to keep rabbit as pet. First, what kind of breed you want to pet? There are many breeds as options for you, such as small Lionhead rabbit, the wonderful hair Angora rabbit, and the big adorable Flemish Giant rabbit, and others. After you decided the breed then you need to think are you keep the rabbit inside the house or outside the house? If you put rabbit inside your house, you can purchase indoor cage, but if you decided to keep rabbit outside, then you could purchase or make your own rabbit hutch.
Furthermore, not only the outside requirement, you need to maintain rabbit condition and health. Supply rabbit’s needs of healthy nutritious foods. Rabbits are herbivores, they used hays and grasses as the prime foods every day, eat carrot and other leafy greens and fruit as addition (treat). Foods requirements are needed to support rabbit health; you can give them whatever you “think” was good. In fact, what’s good for human’s body doesn’t mean good for animals.
So, what is specific nutrition that should be included in rabbit food? Today we would learn deeper about several substances that needed by rabbit body due to maintain their health status.
Nutrition Requirement for Rabbit
What is specific nutrition that should be included in rabbit food? Although rabbits are popular among other pet animal, there’s limited information about research performed on rabbit’s nutrition. Here, we would gather all information we got and share it with you, folks. As you know, the primarily foods of rabbits are hays and grasses; they took pellets, root vegetables, leafy greens and fruits as addition.
Based on regulation made of FDA (Food and Drug Administration) which work a long side with AAFCO (Association of America Feed Control Officials), every animal food product must be labeled to ensure the truth and substances contained inside the product. Before you purchase rabbits food on stores, it’s the best of you observe is there any labeled approval from FDA. However, FDA was applied in America; but, in other countries are the same.
Each country have the same requirement and government institution that responsible to approve and label food for human and animals. Do not trust product that have no labeled from official body, that’s the only rule. Furthermore, here are several important of nutrient that should be included in rabbit diet every day.
Every single breathing creature on earth needs energy to keep alive, so do with human and animal. Therefore, we put this substance on the first place. Energy or carbohydrates was contained in rabbit foods formed as fibre (indigestible) and starch (digestible). Starch is a good source of energy that easy to digest and easy to find; one of the example of starch is grains, but a high amount of grains on rabbit diet would lead rabbit to some health issues such as enteritis which is caused by starch overload on rabbit’s hindgut.
Furthermore, fibre is known as one of the important substance need by rabbit body. It brings benefits for mobility and overall gut health, and also used as appetite simulation on rabbits. Fibre could be digest at some extent caused by bacterial contents in the hindgut. A balance diet must be obey: feed rabbit with too high fibre would lead to energy deficiency, and low fibre on diet would cause ingestion and caecotrophy production increment.
Protein held one important task inside animal’s body. It’s a fundamental substance to maintain tissues such as cell tissues and muscles, enzymes and certain hormones inside body. Animal body contained with twenty important tissues, and ten out of twenty was classified as essential ones. These essential tissues are cannot produce amino acids and require diet to supply the need. These are the list of essential tissues supply by diet: valine, phenylalanine, methionine, arginine, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, threonine, and lysine.
Furthermore, lack of lysine and methionine would affect to reproduction system and growth. One of the example source of food that have a lower amount of lysine and methionine is cereal grains. Overall, the percentage of protein needs of rabbits are about twelve percent to eight-teen percent.
Phosphorus and Calcium
The next important nutrient need by rabbit is phosphorus and calcium. Both of these substances was important components of skeletal system. Phosphorus held task of metabolism system and calcium is a key that held important role as electrolyte equilibrium and coagulation of bloods, heart function, organic process, and muscle contraction. The calcium inside rabbit would absorb and direct in perfect proportion to diet concentrate, and the excess of calcium automatically eliminate through urine.
Lack of dietary phosphorus lead to reduction of fertility and feed intake; lack of dietary calcium lead rabbit to the increment of soft tissues calcification and reduction of phosphorus and zinc absorption. The examples are: grains are the good source of phosphorus and legumes are high amount source of calcium. When you combine both of alfalfa and grain you literally have completed rabbit’s needs of calcium and phosphorus.
Rabbit certainly need copper inside the diet. Copper held important task inside the body such as produce collagen, energy and iron metabolism, and hair formation. Lack of copper lead rabbit to some health issues such change hair color (mostly from black to gray), retarded growth, anemia, and bones abnormalities. In worldwide, copper usually used as promoter for poultry and swine.
But, you might need to avoid copper supplementation to fryer rabbits, because a concern arise due dietary copper could improve performance – especially for rabbits that under stress due some illnesses or poor husbandry.
Vitamins would be our last in today article. There are two types of vitamins provided, first is water soluble and second is fat soluble. Water soluble vitamins are not stored in rabbit body, and all the excess would eliminate through urinal process. Fat soluble vitamins are able to store within rabbit’s body, and those vitamins was store as fat deposits and in the liver.
So, ensure your rabbit eat in proportional, no need to consume a high amount of it. Furthermore, the examples of water soluble vitamins are vitamin C and vitamin B; for the fat soluble examples are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.