They form the most substantial part of plant material, and they are the primary source of energy rabbits. They can be divided into the following main groups.
- Monosaccharides – Fructose, glucose, and galactose
- Disaccharides – have two monosaccharides and they include sucrose, maltose, lactose. Human and animal enzymes can break them to monosaccharides
- Oligosaccharides - Have 2 to 20 monosaccharide units linked together with the disaccharides the most abundant ones.
- Polysaccharide – Has 20 to 107 monosaccharides units. Includes, hemicellulose, pectin, starches, cellulose, glycogen, and hydrocolloids (gum). Starches include amylose and amylopectin.
What form of carbs do rabbits require?
The common sources of starch include seeds, grains, and tubers and they are where most plants store their foods. Some simple sugars can be easily broken down and utilized in the rabbit’s digestive system.
However, these furry critters depend on low energy, but high protein and fiber diets. Therefore, this means that they cannot rely on foods such as starches and simple sugars as they will overload your rabbit’s hindgut, and possibly cause enteritis in case of dysbiosis.
You must have noted that most sources warn against giving your bunnies starchy foods including seeds or refined ones. For instance, you cannot give your rabbit’s bread as it will besides the issues we have seen make it obese.
Bunnies require both the digestible and indigestible fibers in their diet, i.e., the soluble and insoluble as each has a significance in their digestion process and well as its wellbeing. Here are the soluble and insoluble fibers.
- Soluble ones include inulin oligofructose, lignin, mucilage, beta-glucans, psyllium, pectin and gums, polydextrose polyols, resistant starch, and wheat dextrin.
- Some a pectin is soluble while others are not. On the other hand, cellulose is not soluble while some hemicellulose is soluble.
There are many reasons why rabbits need fiber in their diets and it requires you do adequately understand how their digestive system works.
How much fiber is required?
During cecum fermentation, the various bacteria involved use soluble fiber to produce volatile fatty acids such as butyrate, acetate and propionate and more bacteria cells. For this to happen, the crude fiber present must be at least 12-15% of the dry matter (DM). Lactating need about 12% DM and gestation one need about 15% DM.
Those kept as pets will require higher amounts since they are not very active as wild rabbits. Therefore, their ideal crude fiber amounts should be 18-25% DM.
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