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What are the Necessary Tools for an Ideal Presentation of Rabbit Feed?

The presentation of feed (that is size, hardness, durability...) has a decisive impact on rabbits’ performance. Criteria regarding feed appearance and presentation cannot be overlooked and must absolutely be considered at the feed manufacturing stage. What is the ‘ideal’ presentation of rabbit feed?


Feed quality is not only determined by its chemical compounds but also by its physical characteristics. These aspects along with other factors, can have a long term impact on feed intake as well as on the transit time. In the long term, it could also decisively affect an animal’s performance. What physical indicators of pellets are important to apply for rabbit feeds ?

 

Particle size: finding the right balance

Particle size allows us to quantify the various sizes of particles resulting from raw material grinding. This stage occurs just before the pelletizing process. It is measured by a sieve. There are three different fractions: fine particles, medium particles and coarse particles. Grain size has an impact on rabbit performance and sanitary health — a light grinding improves animal digestibility but if too extreme, it is likely to cause digestive disorders such as diarrhea. Conversely, a substantial number of coarse particles can accelerate the transit time of feed thereby resulting in risks of paresis (transit blocking).

 

Hardness: conciliating pellet solidity and animals’ consumption

Hardness reflects to what extent a pellet can resist to crushing. This criterion is a way to predict how well a pellet can be consumed by animals. It is measured by a durometer. If it is not sufficiently solid, the pellet is likely to disintegrate over time. Conversely, rabbits have difficulties ingesting feeds that are too hard. This challenge may result in under-consumption, scraping problems as well as mortalities.

 

Aiming to reach a 95% level of durability

Durability reflects the resistance capacity of pellets throughout conditioning, storing and handling. It aims to predict the maximum crushing load a pellet can withstand before crumbling and generating fines. Durability is measured by a durabilimeter where pellets are submitted to a mechanical admixture for an accurate length of time and at a specific intensity. The durability level of a submitted sampling is thus obtained in percentages as well as the rate of fines produced by this feed (dust) which is also shown. Durability depends on factors such as the nature and amount of raw material and feed additives used, the compression rate of the chain along with  pelletizing temperatures. The level of durability, if it is too low, can prevent the pellet from staying intact. It can also lead to the production of crumbles that will later either end up being lost in the feed mill circuit or not consumed by the rabbit. In addition to this substantial waste, a large amount of fines is likely to trigger breathing reactions for the farmer or his/her animals.


Length and diameter should not be omitted

Along with particle size, hardness and durability, rabbits are also sensitive to the length and diameter of their pellets. Their size should respect a minimum diameter and length threshold so that the pellet can easily be ingested and efficiently utilized. If the pellets are too thick or large, they will resultingly rest unused and lead to underperformance of rabbits.

 

The presentation of rabbit feed is key to an animal’s performance and health condition. From a general viewpoint, inadequate presentation of pellets is likely to strongly affect farm profitability.  At the manufacture stage, various variables must be taken into account: factory, formulation, laboratory, and rabbit department. Experts from the Techna group can assist you with manufacturing your own rabbit feed in a highly proficient way. For more information, please contact us.

 

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