The right nutrition is vital for keeping rabbits and rodents healthy. Always make sure you use high-quality feed because this lays the foundation for a long and healthy life.
Rabbits and rodents can be roughly divided into two categories: leaf eaters and seed eaters. Leaf eaters are also known as folivores. Among others they include rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and degus. These animals have a “stuffed stomach”, meaning that rather than using muscles, their digestion works via a constant feed supply. This means that they have to eat continuously in order to keep their digestion working. As a result they need access to hay – their staple food – at all times. To make sure that your animals get all the vitamins and nutrients they need, give them a daily dose of fresh greens as well as a small portion of ready-made feed. Animals that eat the green parts of a plant plus the seeds and grains are called granivores. They include hamsters, dwarf hamsters, rats and gerbils. They need a certain amount of animal protein too, which they get from mealworms, cheese and chicken, for example. Granivores have a small appendix, which means they are only able to process a limited amount of crude fibre. This means that hay, which is essential for pure plant eaters’ survival, is not suitable as a staple diet for granivores – they require other high-quality food.
Only give them species-appropriate food
The difference between folivores and granivores plays a vital role when selecting ready-made feed. A hamster, for example, should never be fed with rabbit food, and vice versa. Even when the various types of food appear similar at first, it is the details that make an immense difference. So you should only ever give your little darlings food that is specially formulated for their specific needs. Mono pellets are particularly popular for this. The food is less dusty, easier to measure out and prevents selective feeding, which is especially important. When you use mixed grains, you may find that your pet only picks out his favourite bits while the rest – which is equally important for his health – gets left in his food bowl. Pellets are manufactured in such a way that all the components are mixed together and compressed into a spherical or cylindrical shape, so that the animal receives all the nutrients with every bite. There are even pellets available for leaf eaters and seed eaters. When making your purchase, pay attention to the quality so as to ensure that the food really contains everything that your pet requires. Ideally, you should only use pellets made from natural ingredients that are free from colourants, flavours, sugar, antioxidants and preservatives. And please remember: for your pet to lead a long, fit and healthy life, ready-made feed or pellets should only be used to complement their daily diet. Above all, rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs and their friends need high-quality hay and fresh greens. At the end of the day, no rodents should be fed solely on pellets – they also need fresh food, as well as some hay.
Call into your local store today to discuss your small animal’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.