Purina® Rabbit Nutrition E—Newsletter


FEATURED STORY | Summer Tips

Summer is finally here, which means outdoor barbecues, lounging around at the pool and, of course, air conditioning. Things like jumping in the water and spending time in the cooler indoors are ways that we help beat the heat during the warm summer months, but don’t forget to help your rabbit do the same. The warm weather can be tough on animals, sometimes causing them to overheat, which can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or even death. Following these tips will help them enjoy the summer months as much as you do.

Fresh, cool air: Proper ventilation is important for rabbits throughout the year, but that can be a little more difficult to maintain in the warm summer months. Replace stale air with natural ventilation or, if needed, use a fan.

H2O: Provide cool, clean, fresh water at least twice a day during the summer. The use of electrolytes in the water will guard against dehydration and heat stress. Though it may seem like a frozen water bottle would help keep water cold, they’re not worth the trouble and cause extremes in temperatures.

Food: Feeding smaller amounts of feed multiple times during the day will reduce the amount of heat generated during the digestive process. This process will also help to condition your show rabbits coming out of the summer in preparation for the fall show season.

Summer Babies: Does and their new litters born during the summer are extra vulnerable to heat exhaustion. To keep them comfortable in the heat, remove excess hair from the nest, use larger nest boxes with wire floors, and consider removing the nest box when the kits are 14 days old to nursery boxes to provide a cooler, more open environment. Weaning bunnies earlier, at four to five weeks of age versus six to eight weeks of age, will reduce the number of rabbits in one cage and make it more comfortable.

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RABBIT TIPS | The 4-Square Philosophy for Success

Better Health for your rabbits, namely through proper sanitation, is something you should always be reaching for to keep your animals in their best condition. Practicing better health tactics is one of the essential squares in Purina’s 4-Square Philosophy for Success in raising rabbits. With research and suggestions from rabbit owners and breeders across the nation, Purina has defined quick tips for healthy rabbit raising practices.

1. Most importantly, have a veterinarian available that you can consult when needed.

2. The key to keeping your rabbits healthy is sanitation!

3. Rabbits enjoy cold weather and a cool breeze, so keep air moving in the rabbitry at all times. Remember that hot air rises, so have a ridge vent to allow hot air to escape.

4. If you leave a radio on in your rabbitry, the rabbits will be less excitable and more relaxed.

5. Have a pest control program to avoid spiders, flies, rats, mice, dogs, and any other pest that may bother your rabbits. The key is to eliminate the potential food sources and breeding sites for the pests. Also, keep the rabbit area clear of any unnecessary debris each week.

6. Have a program to control ear mites, fur mites, and coccidiosis to ensure the health of the animals in the rabbitry.

7. Each month, check the teeth of each rabbit to detect dental problems such as buck teeth. If dental problems are not corrected, then the rabbit will not be able to eat properly.

8. Keep all breeding stock in good health and flesh condition. Avoid overfeeding, as overweight animals are harder to breed and have more problems at delivery than thin animals.

9. Have a quarantine area for new purchases and for sick animals.

10. Always feed, water, and treat the quarantined animals last.

11. When respiratory problems such as snuffles occur, isolate the sick animals from the healthy animals for treatment and evaluate the ventilation and sanitation systems to correct the problem.

12. When diarrhea problems occur, provide fresh water and grass hay (not straw) to the affected rabbit for 24 hours. In the meantime, determine the cause of the problem.

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GET TO KNOW | Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Complete Natural AdvantEdge®

Keep your rabbit happy and healthy with Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Complete Natural AdvantEdge® rabbit food. This new, all-natural diet is highly palatable with all the essential nutrients for growth, maintenance and reproduction. It’s the right balance of protein, fiber and critical nutrients, making it an excellent food for all types of rabbits of all ages. It’s the easiest way to feed and the perfect choice for first-time rabbit owners.

• Natural AdvantEdge® rabbit food—superior, consistent, natural* nutrition FREE from all fillers, preservatives and artificial colors

• Complete, natural nutrition—no additional supplements necessary and great for rabbits of all ages

• Added lactobacillus, yeast and balanced fiber—supports digestive health with added yucca shidigera to aid in odor control

• Essential nutrients—proteins (contain amino acids, the building blocks of muscles, organs and fur), vitamin A (for reproductive efficiency and bright eyes), and calcium and phosphorus (for strong bones and excellent milk production)

• High-quality plant proteins—loaded with natural nutrients found only in plants that optimize vitality and support immune function

• Highly palatable—for proper intake and growth

• Purina® FeedGuard® Nutrition System—stringent quality standards help ensure many of the industry’s highest quality ingredients available are used, provides greater nutritional consistency bag after bag and considers all key nutrients and their interactions with each other to better support overall rabbit health

As always, when changing your rabbits from one feeding program to another, make the change gradually, over a five- to seven-day period. Mix the new feed with the old, gradually increasing the amount of the new feed while decreasing an equal amount of the old (it’s always important to allow time for the rabbits’ intestinal flora to adjust to any new feed). Continue to feed at the same time each day—evening is best. Clean the feeding dish daily so uneaten food does not become stale and moldy. And always provide plenty of clean, fresh, cool water to rabbits at all times.

*with added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients

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