Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It Might Have Nutrition, But If My Rabbit Won't Eat It, It's Hard To Care!

The Good: (Apparently) nutritious
The Bad: Clumps too tightly, My rabbit refuses to eat it.
The Basics: When my rabbit, who usually tries anything once, avoided Kaytee Bermuda Grass, it became impossible for me to recommend it to others!

Since my wife and I added to our home - in the form of our little rabbit Rowe - I've been learning quite a bit about rabbits. In addition to being fluffy and cute, it is surprising what they will and will not eat. Rowe eats fresh dandelions, but not strawberries. She eats celery leaves, but not the stalks. And our rabbit Rowe eats Timothy Hay, NOT Bermuda Grass.

A few weeks back when our initial supply of Timothy Hay ran out, my wife and I eagerly went to the store to find more. There, we found Kaytee Bermuda Grass. My wife, still eager to spoil Rowe, picked up a bag of the dried grass and we brought it home for Rowe. We figured, in a worst case scenario, we could slip it in with some new hay if she did not like it. We were wrong. Not only does Rowe refuse to eat the Bermuda Grass, she avoids her hay tray when it is mixed in with the Timothy Hay or other snacks she does like!

Bermuda Grass is a dried grass and it is supposed to be a part of a rabbit's daily diet because it promotes regularity, helps provide essential nutrients and it makes rabbit poop dry, solid and compact (as proposed to wet, spreadable and large). With the inclusion of Bermuda Grass included into the rabbit's daily diet, the rabbit is supposed to have more manageable stool. However, it is impossible to get this benefit or the growth and other health benefits, if the rabbit refuses to eat it.

We only tried the Kaytee brand of Bermuda Grass so far and Rowe avoids it so studiously that we have no incentive to try buying other brands to see if it is just the Kaytee brand she does not like. As an objective test today, when I began writing this I brought down the (mostly full) 16 oz. bag and tore off a handful and placed it in Rowe's cage. She thumped. It is not a good sign when a rabbit remembers not liking a food!

Nutritionally, in addition to being loaded with vitamins and specific nutrients rabbits go for in the wild, Bermuda Grass is a balanced part of a rabbit's diet and promotes growth as it has at least six percent crude fiber and one percent fat. It has no more than 32 percent crude fiber and twelve percent moisture. As a result, it is very important to keep a rabbit eating this well hydrated.

The 16 oz. bag expires in two years, which given how little Rowe likes this is likely to actually last that long. Outside our rabbit not liking the Bermuda Grass, there are other drawbacks to this product. First, the bermuda grass is very tightly clumped, so it is very difficult to get it out of the bag and often it begins to break up just to get it out of the bag. Thus, while in the cage, the Bermuda Grass often breaks into small pieces and falls down into the grates in cages that have a tray. There can be quite a bit of waste and it is wasted as the rabbit frequently urinates on it, as it is comfortable for them. To prevent that, it is recommended that one buy a hay feeder for the cage for easy distribution. The only other potential problem is that humans who have rabbits and grass allergies may find themselves allergic to the Bermuda Grass. In that case, there are shots for you; keep the rabbit, your allergies aren't their fault!

Ultimately, though, it doesn't matter how good the product is supposed to be: if our rabbit refuses to eat it, I know I'm not recommending it. That trumps every other problem with the Kaytee Bermuda Grass.

For other products for rabbits, please check out my reviews of:
Apple/Carrot Salt And Trace Mineral Lick
Cozy N Fresh Litter
Super Pets Long John Litter Pan


For other rabbit product reviews, please visit my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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