The receptors at the front of a rabbit’s tongue, the first bit that comes into contact with food, are only able to detect bitterness and saltiness (Limpkin and Sidestroker, 2011 This study will be conducted to find out if rabbits do have a preference in food. In White et el al (1982) study on 15 pigmy rabbits, housed individually, it was reported that there was no preference in the two types of sagebrush, Artemisia detrimental SSP. Pasadena and SSP. Trident received every other day.White et el al (1982) concluded their study by clarifying that was no significant correlation between nonintervention content and dietary preference of pigmy rabbits. Limpkin and Limpkin Sidestroker (2011) however found that rabbits did eave a preference in flavors and that the rabbits in his study enjoyed the taste of sucrose and various types of sodium yet disliked the taste of quinine and hydrochloric acids.
A preference of potassium sodium to chloride sodium was also discovered.Coinciding with Limpkin and Sidestroker (2011) findings, Probable and Meredith (2014) also found that rabbits did have a preference in food. In the study of 32 Dutch rabbits fed four different pet food diets; nuggets with hay, muesli with hay, hay only and muesli only, it was found selective feeding was in all the rabbits fed muesli, with pellets being rejected, and grains ND extrudes selected. In addition to this, hay intake and water intake were much lower when muesli was available.
Harcourt-Brown (1996) found that pet rabbits offered muesli type food would consume flaked peas and maize which are high in starch and low in calcium and fiber. Hypothesis Based on previous research, it is predicted in this study that when the subjects are faced with a fruit flavored treat and a vegetable treat, the vegetable flavor will be consumed more as it is higher in starch and using the findings of Probable (2014) and Harcourt-Brown (1996) foods higher in starch were preferred.Although Limpkin and Sidestroker (2011) found that sucrose was enjoyed by rabbits, he also found that they discriminated in the types of sugars they consumed and they preferred sugars that were a breakdown of starch such a maltose Methodology The study was carried out at Leeds City College in the inside and outside of the animal unit. It was conducted on the Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th March 2014 and took place between the times of 1 pm to pm. The weather condition on both days had rain and wind.
Tuesday was 140 and Wednesday was 170. There were five rabbits involved in this experiment.Two of the rabbits were housed inside and three outside. All five rabbits were housed in individual enclosures. The rabbits were fed pellets and water but these were taken out during the duration of the experiment. The materials needed for this experiment is a pen, paper, ideogram, fruit Oversee crispy stick treat, Vegetable Oversee crispy stick treat and a stopwatch. Two different flavored Oversee crispy stick treats, one fruit and one Vegetable, were weighed prior to being placed into the enclosures.
The treats were placed at the far end of the enclosure (opposite the sleeping rear) and CACM apart.For each rabbit, there were two people observing. An ideogram of behaviors were used to assess the preference of the treats.
Using instantaneous time sampling, every 5 minutes, using the ideogram, the behavior the rabbit is performing should be recorded. If the rabbit is consuming a treat, it should be recorded which flavor. This should be carried out for two 30 minute session on two days. Once the session is over, the treats should be removed and weighed to find out how much of each treat has been consumed to find out what flavor is preferred. ResultsTable one shows the weights before and after on both days for fruit and table 2 for vegetable.
This study found that 4 out of 5 subjects consumed more of the vegetable flavored treat than the fruit flavored treat. The only subject who did not prefer the vegetable treat did not have a preference and did not consume either of the treats in the duration of the study. G of fruit was consumed on a Tuesday and egg for vegetable. Only leg of fruit was consumed on the Wednesday whereas vegetable was increasingly higher with egg consumed. Fruit flavored treat Name of rabbit Pepper TigerFrill Buzz Thump Tuesday Weight before egg egg egg Tuesday Weight after egg egg egg egg Wednesday Weight before Wednesday Weight after log Table 1: The table of results shows the weight of the fruit treat before being consumed by each subject and the weight after Vegetable flavored treat Tuesday weight before egg egg Bog egg Tuesday weight after egg egg Wednesday weight before egg Wednesday weight after egg egg egg Table 1: The table of results shows the weight of the vegetable treat before being Discussion Coinciding with the hypothesis, the vegetable treat was consumed increasingly ore with a combined total of 51 g in comparison to the fruit treat where only egg was consumed. The treats contained the same ingredients; cereal, seeds, honey, sugar with the only difference in the ingredients between the two treats were the vegetables sticks contained 2% carrot, peas, leek, and cabbage and the fruit treat 1% elderberry, cranberry and rose hip.
With the only significant difference between the two was one contained fruit and the other vegetable, It is perhaps that the preference for the vegetable treat was higher due to the rabbit’s natural instinct of consuming vegetables in the wild. The natural diet as stated by House Rabbit Society, 2012, is made up of 90% of vegetables and only 10% fruit. In the wild, rabbits would not normally consume fruits as these can only be obtained at certain times of the years. Salt is an essential nutritional element and in the wild, rabbits will lick rocks for salt as this provides minerals that are necessary for bone development (Livestock Research for Rural Development, 2000).
Halls, 2010, explains that a rabbit’s taste for salt is generally related to mineral intake and the vegetable treat was the only one out of the two to contain this. It did however not have a high salt content due to the vegetables available in the treat only making up 2% as well as being low in sodium. The fruit in the treat were sodium free and it could be the reason why the vegetable treat appealed more to the rabbits was due the slightly salty taste they would obtain from it and naturally crave.
This experiment cannot guarantee that the reason why the vegetable treat was consumed increasingly more was due to the reason as stated above as it consisted of many factors that could cause the results to be flawed.The weather intuitions on both days were recorded of having rain and wind and this could have an effect on the rabbit’s behaviors who were outside as the treats were placed on the outside runs of the enclosures and as of this, many of the rabbits would stay in their hutch to shelter themselves from the rain. The rabbit, Frill, was not recorded eating anything during the study, was housed inside the animal unit. During the duration of both sessions Frill stayed out of sight in the house provided in the cage and was not recorded doing any other behavior. It is assumed that the presence of humans observing effected the abbot’s behavior making it feel threatened and the outcome may have been different if the observers were out of sight. It should also be acknowledge that the results of the study cannot justify the overall subject of ‘if rabbits have a preference on either flavor of the treats’ due to the lack research on the subject.
There has been no previous studies on this topic that can help to strengthen if these results provide any useful evidence. Another factor that should be consider is the lack of time this study was conducted for and if a total of one hour can really justify the findings. The endings of this study could have been strengthened by conducting the study for a longer duration amount of time as a longer study duration provides larger data therefore making it easier to spot anomalies, making the outcome more reliable and accurate. Other than undertaking the study for a longer period of time, the study could be improved by conducting it under various weather conditions to find out if the rain did have an effect on the results.Others factors that could be improved on is the presence of observers. It is advised that observers stand out of sight of the subjects so that they do not feel threatened.
Standing 6 meters away from the enclosure may help to improve the findings as the rabbit may not feel threatened. Conclusion To conclude, there has not been enough study on this particular subject to give a definite answer on if rabbits do have a preference between vegetable and fruit treats and therefore would need more investigating to find out if so. However, from this study and from studies of a similar nature it can be said that rabbits do have a preference when it comes to food and will pick one flavor over another. F. M.