No single small animal food can be classed as “complete”. Small animals, often referred to as fibrevores, have a complex digestive system which requires two types of fibre; digestible and indigestible, and to help owners incorporate this fibre into their pet’s daily diet Burgess Pet Care created the Burgess Excel Five Step Feeding Plan.

The Burgess Excel Five Step Feeding Plan is the UK’s Number One vet recommended food for fibrevores and provides them with the perfect daily balance of fibre and nutrients.

Step 1 – Burgess Excel Herbage and Forage

The first stage of the feeding plan is Timothy Hay; this is the most important element of your pets’ diet as they need the fibre to maintain their dental and digestive health. Good quality hay should make up the majority of your fibrevores’ diet and should be available at all times.

Burgess Excel Herbage is a sweet smelling Timothy Hay with Dandelion and Marigold and Chamomile flavour variants, high in beneficial fibre. Also in the range is Burgess Excel Forage; a delicious, complementary food made from barn-dried grass harvested straight from the field. Both Excel Forage and Herbage are an excellent source of good quality, long fibre, with the chewing action required helping to grind down fibrevores’ teeth.

Step 2 – Burgess Excel Nuggets

The second stage of the feeding plan is the range of Burgess Excel Nuggets. As well as being high in beneficial fibre, Burgess Excel Nuggets contain 100% natural, wholesome ingredients and include added vitamins, minerals and prebiotics. Developed for the different life stages of small animals, with variants including Mint, Cranberry & Ginseng and Oregano, Burgess Excel Nuggets are not a muesli style mix and because each nugget looks and tastes the same they do not encourage selective eating.

Step 3 – Burgess Excel Snacks

Burgess Excel Healthy Snacks are a delicious, natural and healthy snack, which are ideal for fibrevores. Encourage the natural foraging behaviour of your pets by scattering the snacks amongst the hay.

Excel Snacks can be given daily as they are packed with ‘Beneficial Fibre’ and some are designed to be fed by hand to promote bonding and interaction between pet and owner.

Step 4 – Fresh Greens

Your small animals should be offered fresh greens on a daily basis because they provide fresh nutrients and variety. Keep quantities small; a big misconception in feeding fibrevores is that all vegetables and greenery are good for rabbits – they’re not! Here's a brief guide to show which are good and which are bad:

GOOD - apple (pip-less), asparagus, banana, basil, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower leaves and stalks, celery, chicory, cucumber, dill, fennel, grapes, green pepper, kale, mint, orange (peeled), oregano, parsley, red leaf lettuce, spinach, tomato, turnip, watercress.

BAD - apple pips, potato and potato tops, rhubarb (leaves and stalks), tomato leaves, locust pods and beans, avocados, autumn crocus, begonia, black nightshade, busy lizzie, buttercup, carnation, chrysanthemum, clematis, cowslip, geranium, hemlock, laburnum, laurel, poison ivy, poppy and yucca.

Step 5 – Fresh Water

Fresh water should be made available every day. Make sure you check the water bottle and refill regularly and remember that it can freeze when cold outside.

Written by: Verity