Small Animals, Feeding and Nutrition

Frequently asked questions about Feeding and Nutrition

  • Can you also give gerbils dog chewing bones instead of meal worms for protein?
  • Which food can/do I have to use when rearing rabbits by bottle?
  • I am giving my rabbit chocolate. It also chews on the wallpaper. Can I give him chocolate, what can I do about the wallpaper chewing?

Can you also give gerbils dog chewing bones instead of meal worms for protein?

Question:
I read in a book that you can also take dog chewing bones instead of meal worms (protein). But they say “Made from rawhide, with protein, not suitable for ruminants”… Can you feed something like this to gerbils?

Answer:
Many dog chewing bones consist of beef protein. As beef protein may not be fed to ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats) due to the spread of BSE, this statement has to be added on the chewing bone. Gerbils are not ruminants and therefore they can also contain beef protein if you follow the law. However, the quality of the beef protein in these chewing bones cannot be compared to the protein in meal worms. For this reason, meal worms and other insects are much more suitable for gerbils.

Which food can/do I have to use when rearing rabbits by bottle?

Question:
I would like to rear a rabbit with the bottle. Which food can/do I have to use?

Answer:
It is best to use the following to raise rabbits by bottle: 250 ml pup milk mixed with a whole, beaten egg. Heat this milk to 30 C. A normal domestic rabbit needs 5 ml/day in 2-3 portions in the first week of life. Increase this to 25 ml/day up to week three. The rabbit can have normal food after week 4. Good luck!

I am giving my rabbit chocolate. It also chews on the wallpaper. Can I give him chocolate, what can I do about the wallpaper chewing?

Question:
My pet rabbit (3 years old) likes to eat chocolate, can I give him chocolate? He also chews the paper off the wall, what can I do about it?

Answer:
Answer: Rabbits’ digestion depends on a very stable bacterial culture in the intestine. These bacteria split the fibre in the intestine and guarantee that the rabbit can use all the plant nutrients. If the rabbit is fed sugar or other very easily digestible carbohydrates, the wrong bacteria can settle and disturb or drive out the important bacteria. This can lead to serious digestive disorders in the long term. Therefore, rabbits should eat as much hay as possible, some dry food, but under no circumstances sweets. The chewing on the wallpaper can also be triggered by a too low portion of fibre in the food. Always remember that rabbits are vegetarians with a very sensitive digestive system. This means that they need a lot of fibre (hay) and should not have rapid food changes (e.g. suddenly too much grass) or the wrong food.

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