Since this is my first post, I will first thank all the people here who provide such useful information regarding rabbits and their care. You guys are great!
I recently adopted 2 bunnies and researched everything I could find extensively, as an attempt to provide the very best for my bunnies.
In terms of feed ingredients, I was very concerned with molasses being one of the first ingredients for most rabbit feeds. Even most industrial feeds use molasses. I read it serves two purposes: a binder to reduce dust and respiratory issues, and as a marketing scheme. If a rabbit loves their new food, we rarely question why. We are just glad they will eat it. Turns out, the sweet goodness of molasses is not necessarily healthy for our bunnies teeth, or weight.
However, my latest and greatest concern is not that of ridiculous amounts of protein from alfalfa-based pellets or over-weight bunnies from hidden sugars. I am concerned with a particular binder called sodium lignosulphonate/lignosulfonate. I found it in the ingredients listing of what appeared to be a promising feed for my rabbit from American Pet Diner. The ingredient seemed odd to me since I had not spotted it after months of researching feeds, until now. I contacted them after reading that sodium lignosulphonate may cause organ failure after prolonged use. Feeding a rabbit this ingredient daily constitutes as prolonged use. Their nutritionist stated it was for the purpose of reducing dust and helps reduce future respiratory issues. When I Googled "sodium lignosulphonate uses," I found a very horrifying National Institute of Health Progress Report
I emailed American Pet Diner regarding my findings and concerns and asked them to reconsider replacing this ingredient with a safer alternative. Does anyone know why such a horrid ingredient is in a rabbit feed at all? From what I found, this is originally used to reduce dust for building roads. There are plenty of alternative feed binders out there. Are there any safe binders that can be used cost-efficiently and do not harm my pet's health?
I searched for months for a healthy feed. In the end, I only found one that meets the health requirements for an adult rabbit. It is a grass-based pellet so if you are thinking about switching over, just remember to keep that late bloom timothy hay coming!!! It is Oxbow's Organic Bene Terra, Organic Rabbit Feed. Oxbow uses sodium bentonite as a binder which appears to be safe. Unfortunately, Oxbow's regular line of rabbit feeds use molasses. My guess is, molasses is cheaper. Organic Rabbit only comes in 3 lb. bags and the cheapest I can get it is $8.50 USD. I ordered 3 bags.
Am I the only one wondering why so few timothy-based pellets are out there? And even fewer that do not use molasses as a binder? I do not want my house rabbits to be obese, to have tooth decay, and have bowel ulcerations or suffer death from a binder. What is the healthiest binder for pet feed out there? Is it sodium bentonite? Is the reason why it is not used more by feed companies because of cost? Because personally, I would rather pay more for rabbit feed than to have them prematurely die because I essentially poisoned them on a daily basis. Since I am new to this forum, I want to find out what your thoughts are. Thanks!