Knowing your nuggets…
Rabbit nuggets or rabbit pellets… is there a difference? The answer to this question is a definite ‘yes’. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, rabbit nuggets and pellets are not the same thing, and it all comes down to how they are made. You may wonder why this matters; well, with such a finely tuned, highly specialised digestive system, it’s important to get rabbit diets spot on. Read on for everything you need to know about rabbit nuggets.
How are rabbit nuggets made?
Extruded rabbit nuggets or cold-pressed pellets, what’s the difference? Extruded nuggets do not need added sugary ingredients, such as molasses, to make them palatable. Plus, the process gives them an irresistible crunchy texture which small pets love. Not only that, but Supreme’s Science Selective extruded nuggets are super-tasty because of the high quality ingredients that they contain, so there’s no need for extra sugars – great news for rabbit dental and digestive health.
Cold pressed pellets are made by binding ingredients together under pressure. The finished product may not be so palatable for rabbits and other small pets, in part because pellets tend to be much harder and denser. To improve the palatability of pellets, sugary ingredients are sometimes added. These may be in the form of molasses or syrups so remember to look out for these hidden sugars on your pet food pack.
Nutrition nuggets: true or false…
“Cold pressed pellets have a higher nutritional value than extruded nuggets” – False
- The extrusion process can impact the mineral and vitamin content, but this is accounted for in the nugget recipe. The vitamin and mineral content is increased in the formulation to ensure the finished product is nutritionally balanced with everything your rabbit requires.
“Extruded nuggets increase the risk of bloat” – False
- It has been suggested that feeding rabbits nuggets may increase the risk of bloat. Rabbits chew their food before they swallow, so by the time a nugget reaches the digestive tract it has been well and truly munched. Bloat has a number of possible causes, but nugget nibbling is not one of them!
What are the ingredients in a rabbit nugget?
You are what you eat, and this is certainly true when it comes to our bunny friends. So, to help keep your bunny in tip top health, feeding the best rabbit diet rich in natural ingredients has to be top of the priority list.
At Supreme, all our extruded rabbit nuggets are packed full of natural goodness. With delicious ingredients such as flaked peas, spinach, timothy hay or thyme, our rabbit diets are formulated with the most discerning of palates in mind.
Often what is not included is just as important as what is. With such a smorgasbord of delicious ingredients, who needs artificial flavourings? And as for added sugar, tasty natural ingredients don’t need this for flavour enhancement. In fact, ‘no added sugar’ diets are really important for supporting optimal dental health, as well as reducing the risk of weight gain and obesity.
Nutrition nuggets: respecting the natural diet
As well as a carefully measured portion of rabbit nuggets every morning and evening, a high fibre diet that respects natural nutrition should include:
- Fresh hay and grass: aim for a body-sized portion every day
- A handful of leafy green veg to add variety and fibre to the diet
- An occasional treat
Why won’t my rabbit eat pellets?
First things first, if your rabbit won’t eat their pellets, book a vet check-up without delay. This is particularly important if their poo pellets have reduced in number, or your rabbit seems under the weather. Once you have the veterinary all-clear and a medical problem has been ruled out, it’s time to take a look at your rabbit’s diet. Changing your bun on to an extruded nugget diet like Science Selective Adult Rabbit or Russel Rabbit Tasty Nuggets, can be a great way to tempt your four-legged friend. Highly palatable and deliciously crunchy, extruded rabbit nuggets are sure to be popular with your pal.
With such a highly specialised digestive system, it may come as no surprise to hear that any dietary change should be gradual. This will help reduce the risk of any digestive upsets. When transitioning your rabbit from one food to another, gradually increase the amount of the new food while reducing the current food and allow a minimum of ten days to make the full switch.
How many nuggets to feed a rabbit
How much to feed is just as important as what to feed. Have you heard the ‘egg cup sized portion of rabbit nuggets twice a day’ theory? While this is a good starting point, just like us, all rabbits are individuals and have different daily requirements. A good guide is to feed your bun 25 grams of rabbit nuggets per kilogram body weight every morning and evening, but consider factors such as age, activity levels and body size and tweak quantities accordingly.
Assessing whether your pet is overweight, or underweight is known as body condition scoring. This can be tricky but using tools like the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association’s Rabbit Size-O-Meter can be really helpful and it is a good idea to seek veterinary advice if you are unsure.
What about muesli-style mixes?
Selective feeding can be a risk with some muesli mixes, so choosing one designed to reduce this risk is a great idea. When it comes to muesli, many rabbits leave behind the pellets. Tiny Friends Farm mixes contain tasty extruded nuggets rather than cold pressed pellets, delicious enough to tempt some of the fussiest eaters. For choosier buns it is best to change to a single-component extruded nugget food.
Interested to find out more? Read our top ten reasons why nuggets are good for rabbits here.