New grain-free food from Rosewood!

Rosewood Naturals Meadow Menu grain-free foodAn exciting and brand-new range of small animal foods has been launched by Rosewood Pet Products. With products intended for rabbits, guinea pigs, degus and chinchillas, Naturals Meadow Menu consists entirely of natural ingredients.

Difference in appearance

The first thing you will notice is the highly unusual design of the pellets themselves, which are in the shape of quad-shaped pieces. They are made up of over 70% meadow grasses and herbs, such as timothy grass, smooth meadow grass and other plants including dandelion, tufted vetch and sorrel.

These plants are low in energy, but high in fibre, being a rich and varied source of plant-based micronutrients that will benefit your pet, including flavonoids, antioxidants and vitamins.

Grass versus grain

Rabbit eating hayDean Barratt of Rosewood explains the thinking behind these new foods. “The digestive Dandelions are part of Naturals Meadow Menu ingredientssystem of rabbits and other fibrevores has evolved to work incredibly efficiently at extracting nutrients from low energy, high fibre foods. Grain, especially in excess and when pre-processed, can allow pets to meet their energy requirements too easily. 

“This can then lead to digestive issues, obesity and poor dental health, especially if they prefer to eat grain-based foods and then ignore hay, vegetables and other edible plants.

"Our Naturals treats were really well received when we launched them nine years ago and with their continued success, we knew that we should launch a range of main diets, but they had to be the right foods: ones that were great quality, unique and fitted into the Naturals ethos.”

Natural balance

There are other natural ingredients present as well, such as black cumin, linseed and fennel, which serve as sources of essential trace elements and unsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3. Parsnip has health benefitsAnother significant vegetable component is parsnip, which serves as a source of inulin. This chemical is a natural prebiotic, meaning that it assists and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract.

In total, there are more than 40 different meadow plants, grasses, vegetables and seeds in these foods. What you won’t find in the Naturals Meadow Menu range, however, are grain, added sugar or genetically modified components such as soya. Nor are there any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Degus will benefit from Rosewood Naturals Meadow MenuEven the manufacturing process has been carefully planned to maximise the nutritional value of the ingredients. Unlike extruded foods that are produced by using heat as part of the manufacturing process, thus destroying some of the nutrients as a result, so the distinctive quad pellets in Meadow Menu are cold-pressed.

This helps to preserve the nutrients that were present in the ingredients at the outset. It also means the ingredients are less processed so your pet’s digestive system has to work harder at processing the food, just as it is designed to do.

By providing a balanced food in the form of standardised pellets, this avoids the possibility of your pet engaging in selective feeding, and only eating certain items in a mix. This behaviour can leave rabbits and rodents potentially at risk of nutritional deficiencies, which simply cannot happen in this case with these pellets.

Using these foods

It is recommended that Naturals Meadow Menu foods should make up approximately 30% of your pet’s food, with the remainder being comprised of hay. Obviously though, pregnant or lactating animals, as well as youngsters, will need to be given more food.

Range of Naturals Meadow Menu from RosewoodAlso, you should swap over to this food gradually, as with any new addition to the diet of rabbits and rodents. This provides time for their specialised digestive systems to adjust to the new food. In addition, fresh drinking water must always be available as normal.

Allow about 10 days to complete the transfer, gradually increasing the amount of the Naturals Meadow Menu food being offered, while cutting back on the existing food that you are offering. This food is supplied in convenient 2kg (4.4lb) packs. This will last a 2kg (4.4lb) rabbit or two guinea pigs for about a month, and one chinchilla or two degus for three months.

Provision of hay

The other key component of your pet’s diet must be hay, and you can team the Naturals Meadow Menu with Naturals Meadow Hay Cookies for this purpose. But is this better than ordinary hay?

“It’s important to remember that not all hays are created equally!” explains Rosewood’s Dean Barratt. “Our meadow hay is grown, dried and packed on a single family farm in Bavaria. It is cut from managed meadows that are home to over 20 different types of grass and edible meadow plants.

Cheeky chinchilla. Rosewood's Natural Meadow Hay cookies will benefit these rodents.“It’s also worth considering that our hay cookies offer the required calcium levels and the lower protein that is advised for the long-term feeding of small furry pets, and particularly rabbits. It is processed in a traditional way, being barn-dried, to minimise loss of essential ingredients such as beta-carotene and vitamin E,” adds Dean.

“In addition, we also dry the hay using warm air, and use dust extraction to help with removing mould spores and prevent respiratory issues for you and your pet.”

Availability and cost

These foods will be widely available from pet shops in the UK, with 2kg (4.4lb) packs of Naturals Meadow Menu for Rabbits having a suggested retail of £6.99 (Guinea Pig £7.99, Chinchilla and Degu £8.99). The 1kg (2.2lb) Naturals Meadow Hay Cookies have a suggested price of £4.99.