Can Rabbits Eat Chicken Pellets? Could Be Deadly

Can Rabbits Eat Chicken Pellets

If you raise chickens in your backyard, feeding them chicken feed is the main source of diet for them. Having a pet rabbit can be tempting for you to let them feed on the chicken pellets as well. After all, most of the chicken feed is either corn-based or grain-based. These two ingredients don’t seem to be any harm to the rabbit.

So can rabbits eat chicken pellets? Chicken pellets are actually bad for rabbits. Chicken and rabbits are two different animals with different dietary requirements. Chickens require nutrition like protein and calcium in their diet. Rabbits, on the other hand, do not need calcium in their diet. Eating food containing calcium can be bad for them and their body won’t be able to digest the protein sources.

Can Rabbits Eat Chicken Feed?

Guinea Pig Eating x
Chicken feed should never be given to your pet rabbits. It’s unhealthy for them and could lead to many health problems.

Rabbits and chicken are two different species of animals. Each one of them requires different diets and their digestive systems are designed differently.

Rabbits are herbivores, meaning their diet will consist mostly of grass and hays. Vegetables and herbs also make up a small amount of their diet.

Chickens, on the other hand, are omnivores. This means they are able to eat a variety of food of both plant and animal origin. To meet the dietary requirements of chickens, they are usually fed chicken feeds. These feeds will contain both plants and animals matters.

Therefore, if you try to feed chicken feed to your pet rabbit, they cause more harm than good. Chicken feeds will have no nutritional value for the rabbits. Instead of helping your rabbit, the feeds will cause the rabbit to burn more calories than needed, which may lead to lethargy.

Different Types Of Chicken Feed Available

When it comes to chicken feed, there are many different types sold on the market. They come in many blends and textures. The ones that are typically found online or at the market will be feed, crumble, and scratch.

Feed – Feed and pellets are the same types. They are dried and compressed into cylinder shapes.

Crumble – Loose grains that have been cracked open and ground into smaller pieces.

Scratch – Similar to crumble, but they are designed to encourage the chickens to scratch the ground looking for them.

There are other types of chicken feed available on the market or those you can even make at home. But one thing, they all involve the same ingredients to make chicken feeds.

What Is Chicken Feed Made From?

You may wonder what ingredients in the chicken feed that makes it bad for rabbits to eat. There are many different types of chicken feed and the quality of them varies from one to another. Some have just natural ingredients, while others have additives and supplements added to them for increased nutritional value.

Below are usually what chicken feed is made up of:

  • Cereal grains – This is the usual ingredients found in most chicken feed. It’s usually made up of corn or wheat.
  • Animal protein – This is often meal made from the bone and meat of animals such as cows and goats.
  • Vegetable protein – Soya beans are usually the vegetables used due to their high protein content.
  • Nutritional supplements – These supplements are added to the chicken feed to meet the chicken’s diet requirements.

When it comes to the quality of the chicken feed, the more it costs to buy them, the better the quality is. By quality, it means the ingredients used are of higher grades and it may be organic.

Unfortunately, no matter how good the quality of the chicken feed is, the ingredients used are indigestible for rabbits. Feeding them to your pet rabbit will not cause any issue right away, but later one, they will start developing digestive problems.

Will Eating Chicken Pellets Hurt The Rabbits?

The simple answer is yes! However, they may not experience any problems right now, but if the rabbits continue to eat chicken pellets, serious problems will occur.

Below are some of the health problems your pet rabbit may have by eating chicken feed:

Obesity

Through evolution, the digestive system is designed to primarily digest a diet of high-fiber and low calories food. It doesn’t matter if the rabbits are wild or domesticated, their digestive system is all the same.

With chicken feeds, it’s a total opposite of it. These are high in calories and low in fiber. Due to the high calories and other ingredients found in the chicken feeds, it will eventually get stored as fats.

A rabbit that feeds often on chicken pellets will result in quick weight gain. After a while, they will become obese.

Obesity in rabbits won’t kill them, but it will make their quality of life harder. As for health issues, obesity will cause them to have joint pain, movement issues, and breathing issues.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Gastrointestinal issues are common problems among rabbits in captivity. This is largely due to improper diet and not enough exercise. Most domestic rabbits will not have enough fiber in their diet. Also, since they are mostly kept in cages, they tend to not move around much.

All of this will eventually lead to impaction and stasis. Both conditions, if left untreated will lead to death for the rabbit. Therefore, to prevent that from happening, you’ll need to act fast on it.

A rabbit needs to defecate every day to remain healthy. If you noticed your pet rabbit hasn’t defecated the entire day, you should bring them to the veterinary immediately.

Impaction and GI stasis are conditions that prevent food matters to pass through the gut slowly or entirely block the movement.

Impaction is where food matters are blocked in the gut and prevent it from moving. Stasis, on the other hand, is where matters tend to move very slowly through the gut.

Therefore, a rabbit needs plenty of fibers in their diet to prevent impaction and GI stasis from happening. With chicken feeds, there is not enough fiber to prevent that from happening.

Stones

Stones are usually caused by excessive calcium in the body. For a chicken, they need as much calcium as they can get, especially during egg-laying. The eggshells consist mainly of calcium, which they need plenty of to form correctly. Also, they will need calcium to keep their own bodies healthy during egg production.

Most chicken feeds will have a large amount of calcium in them. This will cause an issue for rabbits. A rabbit doesn’t need the extra calcium. Due to evolution, its body is capable of producing its own calcium.

Therefore, when a rabbit feeds on chicken feed, there will be an excessive amount of calcium in their body. The body will not absorb the calcium supplement, but instead, it will eliminate it through urine. This will result in a gritty consistency that’s in a thick sludge form. If the rabbit continues eating chicken pellets, overtimes, the stones will begin to form.

Chicken Feed

Will Rabbits Eat Chicken Feed?

Rabbits are opportunist creatures and they will eat almost anything that’s given to them. While there are many places on the Internet stating chicken pellets are safe for rabbits, it’s actually not.

The rabbits will eat chicken pellets due to the smell and texture of it. Rabbits enjoy eating food that is sweet and corn has that taste. This will prompt them to continue eating the chicken pellets, unaware of the danger it posed to them.

Therefore, if you have chickens in the backyard, make sure your pet rabbits don’t wander off and start eating the chicken feed. Also, if there are any leftovers, make sure it cleaned up before letting your rabbits roam the yard.

Again, the rabbits will eat chicken pellets, but health issues won’t start showing until later. When it does happen, you’ll end up with an unhappy rabbit that will need frequent visits to the veterinary. If your rabbit requires surgery, it will cost a lot of money out of your pocket.

Therefore, it’s best to keep them on a diet of grass hays and vegetables that are much healthier for them.

What To Feed Rabbits Instead Of Chicken Feeds?

Rabbit’s primary food is hay. This is what should be fed to them on a daily basis. They need a high amount of fibers for their body to remain healthy and strong.

However, you should give them other food as well to keep them interested and to meet their dietary requirements. Some of the food that you can give to them are as follow:

Vegetables

  • Artichoke leaves
  • Asparagus
  • Baby Sweetcorns
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts (leaves and sprouts)
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots (& carrot tops)
  • Cauliflower (and the leaves)
  • Celeriac
  • Celery leaves
  • Chicory
  • Courgette (and flowers)
  • Cucumber
  • Curly Kale
  • Fennel

Fruits

  • Apple (not the pips – they are poisonous!)
  • Apricot
  • Banana
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Nectarines
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes (NOT the leaves)

Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander (also known as Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Mint (peppermint)
  • Parsley – not too much as high in calcium
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme

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