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Fridström, Therese, 2014. Utfodring av sällskapskanin. Vilka råd ger vi djurägarna?. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



The most suitable method to answer the issues of this study was to do a combined literature- and questionnaire study. The literature part of the study was based on Original Research articles, Review Articles and books with a list of reference literature after each chapter and the purpose was to answer the questions “What feed items should be given to rabbits in different life stages” and “Which problems may develop from an inadequate diet?”

Two questionnaires were constructed. One was sent by e-mail to small animal veterinary hospitals to be answered anonymously by veterinary nurses. The other was linked to from two internet forums, that with rabbits as their focus. It was answered anonymously as well.

Hay is considered an important dietary component, because of its´ high fibre content, that has an important function in tooth-wear and gastro-intestinal health. Pelleted feedstuff should be given in restricted amounts, as a preference for this type of food can cause the rabbit to become obese, as they tend to overeat it. Grain mixes should not be fed, as they contain many simple sugars and fat, and encourages the rabbit to select certain items from the mix. Fruits could be given sparsely, as treats, as it contains high levels of sugar. Herbs and vegetables can be given daily as feed items. Grass can be served freshly cut, or be grazed by the rabbit. The wrong diet can cause obesity and dental overgrowth as well as diarrea and constipation. Lactating rabbit does have a higher demand for dietary calcium, energy, protein and fat, compared to non-lactating rabbits. Rabbit kits are totally dependent on the milk their mother provides up till ten days of age, and are usually nursed once a day. At approximately 15 days of age, the rabbit kits begin to consume solid foods. At approximately 30 days of age, the majority of the food consumed is solid. At this stage of life the kits are very sensitive for sudden changes in diet.

In this study a majority of the veterinary nurses claimed that rabbit owners seldom ask advice as to how to feed their rabbits, however, when discussed, most veterinary nurses recommend feeding hay and sparse amounts of pellets and/or vegetables.

All of the owners in this study fed mainly hay to their rabbits. Approximately half of the responders also considered pellets (51 %) and grass and fresh herbs (21 %) to be a part of the main diet. Apart from the main feed, many owners claimed that they fed their rabbits vegetables (83 %), carrots (55 %), Pellets (55 %) and herbs (42 %).

Hay is an important feed material that keeps the rabbit´s gut and teeth at good health and prevent occurrence of obesity. Grass is also a good type of food. Other sorts of feed should be given in restricted amounts.

Both veterinary nurses and pet owners seem to have a good knowledge of the nutrient requirements of rabbits, since both categories seem to give advice respectively feed their rabbits according to the recommendations of the literature. However, more research is needed.

Main title:Utfodring av sällskapskanin. Vilka råd ger vi djurägarna?
Authors:Fridström, Therese
Supervisor:Arvidsson, Katarina
Examiner:Hammarberg, Ann
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:548
Year of Publication:2014
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK003 Veterinary Nursing - Bachelor's programme 180 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:kanin, nutrition, utfodringsråd
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Veterinary science and hygiene - General aspects
Deposited On:08 Aug 2014 14:15
Metadata Last Modified:08 Aug 2014 14:15

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