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Feeding Your Rabbit

Rabbits require high levels of fibre in there diet for efficient gut movement and to encourage chewing to keep their continually growing teeth trim. Feeding good quality hay alongside a prepared pet food is always advised.

Listed below are a few top tips on feeding your rabbit

Ensure your rabbit has plenty of hay– it is the best form of fibre for rabbits and is a great substitute for the grass they would eat in the wild.

Provide them with access to dried or fresh grass.

Feed leafy vegetables– good for their teeth!

Include a few root vegetables (but go easy on the carrots which actually aren’t that good for rabbits!)

Always provide access to fresh water – they like it best from a metal tipped feeding bottle, check the bottle regularly to make sure it’s working properly and clean it often.

Buy specialist rabbit food – ask your vet or pet shop for advice.

As a treat feed carrot tops – but only a few because they’re loaded with calcium and your rabbit doesn’t need too much of that.

DON’T give them sticky or sugary treats – a real no-no for their teeth.

Rabbits are quite sensitive so if you change their food do so gradually.

Rabbits can get fat quickly if they’re not eating the right food or taking enough exercise.

Rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas have teeth which grow continually, if fed unsuitable foods they fail to wear the teeth sufficiently and this leads  painful dental conditions such as malocclusions (misalignment of the teeth).

Feeding Your Horse

Horses are trickle feeding herbivores that have evolved  to  consume  a  diet  rich  in  structural carbohydrates  (fibre),  but  low  in  soluble polysaccharides (starch).

Fibre sources such as hay, haylage and grass are vital for a healthy digestive system and should always form the majority of the diet.

Fibre also provides the horse with excellent levels of slow release energy and a good source of calories and heat as it is fermented in the body.

Starch is a carbohydrate found in cereal grains such as barley, maize and oats and provides a good source of fast release energy.

While starch is not ‘bad’ as such for the horse in small quantities, it can cause problems if the horse eats too much in one meal.

It is well documented that horses are ineffective at utilising starch if fed in excess and recent studies have concluded that horses should be fed a low starch diet, as higher amounts can lead to the development of gastric ulcers, insulin
resistance, laminitis and muscle myopathies (such as tying up).

It is essential that horses are fed according to their individual needs.

Horses at maintenance should be fed high fibre, low calorie feeds to avoid excess energy being consumed.

However, horses that are in work and require more energy, do not necessarily need to be fed concentrated meals, high in starch, to get the extra calories needed.

Highly digestible fibre, combined with oil, can provide a good level of calories in a form that is more suited to the digestive physiology of the horse

HORSE FORAGE TO CONCENTRATE FEEDING GUIDELINES

Horse/Pony Details  Feed Requirements
Approx Height (hh)      Approx Weight (kg)       Hard Feed per day (kg)       Min forage per day (kg)
10-11.3                                  150-200                             0.5-1.0                                        2.5-3.0
12-12.3                                  200-250                             1.0-1.5                                        3.0-3.5
13-13.3                                  300-350                             1.5-2.0                                        4.5-5.5
14-14.3                                  400-450                             2.0-2.5                                        6.0-6.5
15-15.3                                  500-550                             2.5-3.0                                        7.5-8.0
16-16.3                                  550-600                             3.0-4.0                                        8.0-9.0
17+                                        600+                                  3.5-5.0                                        9.0+

Feeding Chickens

Your chickens will need properly formulated chicken feed that is the correct type for their age, for growth, sustenance and to produce eggs if they are hens of egg laying age.

Hens can also suppliment their diet with what they can forage. Bugs, insects and worms are all valuable sources of protein, not forgetting a good selection of greens providing vitamins and minerals.

Chickens require protein to produce feathers  and eggs as well as to grow. The amount of protein in their diet is important and you will see on the ingredients on the back of bags of feeds the percentage of protein that they contain. It is higher in ‘Growers Pellets’ for example to enable chickens to grow and produce feathers.  You will find that chickens stop laying eggs when they moult (lose their feathers and regrow new) as they are diverting protein from egg production to feather production.

Layers pellets for example are around 16% protein. Wheat is about 10% protein and lacks essential vitamins that are required by chickens.

Formulated feeds come as pellets or mash and should be fed ad-lib so hens can take what they want as they need it. This type of feed must be kept dry or it will soon spoil.

Mixed corn is usually 60% wheat and 40% maize. It is useful as a scratch feed, it keeps hens active, scratching around looking for it but should only be considered a treat.

Maize (yellow in colour) is very fattening but can be useful during very cold weather to help your hens keep warm and after they have finished moulting (they need lots of protein during the moult) since they are not laying eggs and need a little extra fat to burn in order to keep warm.

If you feed too much corn, your hens will get fat and fat hens don’t lay eggs!

Feeding scraps should be limited to at most 25% of a hens diet so as not to tip the balance too far one way or another.

Ample green stuff should be provided for your hens. Grass cuttings, weeds and offcuts from cabbages, cauliflowers and other greens can be provided at minimal cost.

Changing Your Pets Diet

GUIDELINES ON CHANGING YOUR PETS DIET

When you change your pets food remember this needs to be a gradual process and should be done over a period of 7 to 10 days to minimise the chances of upset stomachs leading to diarrhoea,vomiting, constipation etc.

•For the first three days mix 25% of the new diet with 75% of the old diet.  If all ok then
•For the next three days mix 50% of the new diet with 50% of the old diet.
•On day 7 increase the new diet to 75% with 25% of the old diet for a further three days.
•By the 10th day as long as your pet is happy with the new diet they can be fed 100% on the new food.

Once your pet has been eating the new diet for over a month they should be showing signs of a healthy shining coat, brighter eyes, good bodily condition and an increase in vitality.

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