I have a question about commercial meat rabbits.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by RachelFromTheBlackLagoon, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. RachelFromTheBlackLagoon

    RachelFromTheBlackLagoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    879
    0
    139
    May 4, 2009
    Wallingford, CT
    I was discussing raw pet diets with a woman I know. She feeds her cat a premixed ground rabbit diet from a small local raw pet food company. On their website it says nothing about "organic" or "hormone free" or anything of that nature, nor does it claim that these rabbits are locally raised on a small farm or what have you, so I'm guessing these are commercially raised rabbits. My question is (well, her question, really) is it normal practice for commercially raised rabbit to contain hormones and antibiotics?
     
  2. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    17,183
    2,095
    421
    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    No. Rabbits rely on gut flora (naturally occuring bacteria that live in the digestive system) to do much of their digestion for them. Antibiotics don't discriminate, they go very hard on the gut flora as well as the disease causing bacteria. Whenever it is necessary to put a rabbit on antibiotics, the owner should also include probiotics as part of the therapy. Not doing so risks the rabbit developing fatal diarrhea - so nobody uses an antibiotic on a rabbit unless treating a specific disease condition, and even then the therapy is only done for the least amount of time necessary for it to be effective. A lot of commercial breeders will just cull any rabbit that doesn't seem to be doing well, rather than risk whatever ails it spreading to the rest of the herd.

    As for hormones - it is pointless to feed artificial growth hormones to rabbits. The commercial breeds were developed to get to slaughter weight in 8 to 12 weeks. As long as they have sufficient feed, they can do it without "help." In fact, a rabbit that grows too fast often winds up with malformed bones or digestive problems, resulting in an animal that may die before it gets to the desired weight.

    Now, whether the source of feed for the rabbits is organic, that is hard to say. Completely organic feed is hard to come by, and expensive - cost prohibitive for a commercial operation. So the rabbits' feed may have been made from products that might have been sprayed with non-organic pesticides during the growing process. The rabbit breeders may use some kind of spray for fly control, or use a non-organic cleaner when cleaning the cages - all of which would compromise any claim they might have to being an organic operation.
     
  3. RachelFromTheBlackLagoon

    RachelFromTheBlackLagoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    879
    0
    139
    May 4, 2009
    Wallingford, CT
    Thank you very much for the information, you've been very helpul! I will relay that to Joy and I'm sure she'll be happy about it.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by