A carefully measured portion of rabbit nuggets every morning and evening forms an important part of a healthy rabbit diet. But have you ever wondered ‘what are rabbit nuggets made of?’ With a wide choice on pet store shelves, ensuring the nuggets that you choose for your bun are rich in tasty natural goodness and packed with all the right nutrients can be tricky.
First things first: rabbit nuggets or rabbit pellets
To us humans, the difference between rabbit nuggets and rabbit pellets may not be immediately apparent but your rabbit probably has an opinion! While rabbit pellets may suit some buns, the delicious crunchy texture of rabbit nuggets is a sure-fire winner with many. Here’s a recap on the difference – it is all down to how they are made:
Rabbit nuggets are extruded: they are cooked under pressure and do not need added sugary ingredients to help make them palatable.
Rabbit pellets are cold-pressed: they are made by binding ingredients together under pressure, sometimes with added sugary ingredients such as molasses to improve the palatability, so be sure to check the ingredients listing on pack. The end result of the cold-pressed process is that the pellets are often harder and much denser and can lack the crunchy texture rabbits love.
What are the ingredients in a rabbit nugget?
The best rabbit nuggets will be rich in tasty natural ingredients. How about Timothy hay and thyme or linseed and lucerne? Maybe not your cup of tea, but just the kind of flavour combination that our bunny friends love.
Palatability is super important – it does not matter how nutritionally perfect rabbit food is, if your buns turns their little noses up at the offering. Using high quality, naturally tasty ingredients means there is no need to add sugary ingredients to improve taste, which is good news for dental and digestive health. Remember that what’s not included is just as important; look out for hidden sugar, often under the guise of molasses or syrup.
Rabbit nuggets and nutrition need-to-knows
Wild rabbits spend most of their waking hours foraging and grazing. Our pet rabbits don’t have access to such a wide variety of vegetation and while at least 80 percent of their diet should be made up of grass or high quality feeding hay such as Science Selective Timothy Hay, hay and grass alone would not constitute a balanced diet. Feeding high quality rabbit nuggets ensures our pets receive all the right nutrients.
A high fibre content is top of the list of ‘must-haves’ and is important for both dental and digestive health. Without enough fibre, the delicate rabbit digestive system can slow down or even stop working altogether. Not only that, but rabbits have teeth that grow continuously and chewing on fibrous foods helps wear them down. Inadequate fibre can result in teeth becoming overgrown and weight gain can also be a problem. Science Selective Adult Rabbit nuggets have 25 percent fibre to promote optimal health.
- Correctly balanced calcium and phosphorus
The correct balance of these two important minerals is important for bone and joint health, with 0.6 percent calcium to 0.4 percent phosphorus often thought to be the optimal ratio.
Prebiotics, such as MOS, support a healthy bacterial flora in the digestive tract, helping to maintain gut health and motility.
Linseed not only tastes good, it is also a great source of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids – perfect for promoting healthy skin and glossy coats.
Nutritional additives, good or bad?
Additives on an ingredients list are not all bad. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite. Adding carefully selected trace elements, or fortifying with vitamins, in particular vitamin A and D, ensures that your rabbits’ nuggets are nutritionally optimal.
It is sometimes suggested that cold pressed pellets have a higher nutritional content than extruded nuggets. While it is true that the extrusion process can impact the vitamin and mineral content of the finished product, this is compensated for when the recipe is formulated, ensuring the nuggets are nutritionally balanced and perfect for your pal.
Rabbit nuggets for different life stages and lifestyles
Tweaking the formulation of rabbit nuggets means nutrition can be tailored to particular lifestyles or life stages. For example, rabbits have slightly different needs when kept indoors and their diet should reflect this. Getting less exposure to sunlight means they are less able to make vitamin D, so Science Selective House Rabbit is fortified with vitamin D to compensate.
How about young growing rabbits? Science Selective Junior Rabbit has an adjusted calcium to phosphorus ratio and a higher protein content to ensure optimal bone growth and development at this important life stage.
And let’s not forget our more mature bunny friends. The reduced protein levels and lower energy content of Science Selective Four+ Rabbit help maintain a healthy weight, while irresistibly delicious Timothy hay and thyme support older buns’ appetites.
Now you know what rabbit nuggets are made of, why not head over to Are nuggets good for rabbits? for more information.