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I recently read a report on the 2016 corn crop in the USA that has me greatly concerned. Mycotoxins, which are fungal pathogens that can be found in any type of grain, but are most common in corn, are, to be frank, skyrocketing in prevalence. There isn't much research on them (perhaps Alfatoxin is the most studied, but there are so many different types of mycotoxin).
Further bad news, there has been evidence that even small amounts of mycotoxin which would be harmless alone can become much more harmful if more than one type is present at once!
I really don't want to sound the alarm here, but rabbits and swine are probably the two most sensitive animals to mycotoxins, babies even more so. And I read so many reports lately of feed causing trouble in rabbits, I'm starting to wonder if there is a connection here, that goes beyond feed brand. This really is a batch by batch type issue, and even a corn free feed like Purina can still have mycotoxins from grains like wheat...
Here is the report I read:
http://www.biomin.net/en/press-releases ... in-survey/
2016 US corn highlights:
Deoxynivalenol saw slightly higher occurrence at 75% (72% in 2015) and average contamination levels at 1670 ppb (691 ppb in 2015).
Fumonisins’ prevalence reached 72% (52% in 2015) with an average contamination level of 4424 ppb.
Zearalenone became much more prevalent at 42% (17% in 2015) while the average contamination also made a jump to 412 ppb from 247 ppb in 2015.
“All three major toxins (DON, FUM, and ZEN) have an increased prevalence in US corn harvested in 2016 in comparison to 2015,” said Dr Erika Hendel, Swine Technical Manager at BIOMIN.
Also it is noted that this could be a problem because of a wet year, after a drought but still I think it is important to consider.
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/fee ... 909?chap=1
Table 1 here shows acceptable levels of mycotoxin by regulations in Canada and the USA (rabbits are going to be somewhere near swine levels, but I think they are more sensitive than swine-- again rabbits sadly aren't a huge research focus).
Anyone have any thoughts on this topic?? I know I've seen people send away feed samples after rabbit deaths, that would be helpful. I really don't want to be ringing an alarm bell pointlessly, my rabbits are currently doing great on their corn filled food and have for the past 2 years, but I have darned expensive rabbits so I've been considering switching to one of those grain free *pet* brands and seriously cutting portions for pellets (maybe once or twice a week) and just feeding other stuff instead.
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In the past year, the materials I've tested have always has low enough levels for the toxins to be a non-issue.
(Purina complete and show sold here do have corn, I think.)
If people are buying from a company that has a consistent toxin testing program, the only real worry should be an increase in price, since contaminated ingredients would have to be replaced.
I personally believe Purina mills probably do good job with that, as I have had virtually no issue at all with kits on it for the past couple years. One mill may be better at following procedure than another though.
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it is good to buy your feed from a trusted manufacturer, [ie; feed mill] even "trusted brands" can have individual feed mills with problems...
always look at the manufacture date, old feed is usually bad feed - almost no warehouse , or retailer stores feed in a "dry, cold" environment that will preserve quality for more than 90 days, in the south i would be suspicious of feed more than 60 days old... .
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