In the pet shops I have seen a lot of variety pellets as rabbit food. If there is so much it must be a good food, isn't it?

What is the risk in feeding pellets?

  • not an answer but one can make pellets from many different things so you might get the entire spectrum of different quality,from very good to really bad.in the EU the content is listed in falling order from most on top and least at the end of the listing. – trond hansen Jan 24 at 19:37
  • @trondhansen In the end it is no matter what the raw material was. By the production it looses all good properties. In EU there are a lot of content which is not needed to be declared on animals food. – Allerleirauh Jan 24 at 20:21

First point: look at the description of the pellets. Are there any facts of what they are made? If no, then do not buy them! No case!

In general pellets are made of waste from other vegetable productions. Like peelings of potatoes, carrots and other. Sometimes there could be waste from meat production, milk production and/or egg production also. (In German they are called "Tierische Nebenprodukte" or "Milcherzeugnisse"). All non vegan food is no natural food for a rabbit!

Pellets were produced by grinding. This cause very short fibres. Rabbits digestive system needs near 100 percent long fibres to work well. The muscles of digestive system are not very powerful. They could not move food with short fibres and so caused high density fast enough. This causes blockage and pain. Another consequence of short fibres is less tooth abrasion. The teeth will grow faster than be shortened by abrasion. One spoon of dry food (pellets, grain) is enough to let the teeth get longer. Next point: the rabbit will crack the pellets instead of grinding it like leaf or grass. Because of this the teeth roots are more stressed and pressed into the jaw. This causes painful visits by the vet who has to shorten the teeth or treat root abscesses. (Through the closeness between jaw and tear canals tearing eyes could be a sign for abscess!)

In the production of pellets the raw materials were extremely dried. In this way they are easy to grind and last longer in the packaging. This cause a high thirst in your rabbit. In nature rabbits only drink in very rare case. On general they get all water with their fresh food (leafy and herbs). If the dry pellets become wet in the stomach they swelling. Some kinds of pellets become 5 times bigger! The rabbit was full up and happy with its pellets, then gets thirsty and has no room for 5 times the "normal stomach intake" but they are swelling on. (You could try this by yourself with one pellet in a glass and added water).

For the drying are used high temperatures. All vitamins and other good ingredients are destroyed here. The vitamins written on the package are all chemical added.

To form nice little pellets from the "pellet flour" some "glue" is needed. This could be all from sugar over gelatine or bone flour to chemical glue. In any case nothing you want to feed your rabbit.

A high amount of sugar and starch causes growing of yeast bacteria in the digestive system. They replace normal digestive flora and cause sensibilities for normal natural food like cabbage. (This high amount is in grain too. In nature rabbits could get grain only in autumn for less weeks...).

High energy food causes two more problems: on one hand the rabbit gets fat if it do not stop eating. On the other hand if it stops it has more "free time" than a "natural" eating rabbit (who is 80 per cent of time searching for food and eating). This rabbit would probably become bored and discover strange behavior like lick, bite or scratch itself/its home/the furniture.

In the end colors and chemical flavors are added. The colors to impress the humans (red for fruits, green for hay, yellow for grain or vegetables). And the flavour to let the human see a rabbit that "love its pellets".

A lot of other chemicals (for example to conserve, to mix unmixable things like oil and water) in most countries are not needed to declared on the packaging.

Such food is often to high in minerals. This causes bladder and kidney stones. Some packaging writes "with added minerals" on it.

So in conclusion pellets are a very high risk for your rabbits health.

(Source (German language): www.kaninchenwiese.de)

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