Feeding Feathers and Fur
By Jo Butson
In the carnivore kingdom, fur and feathers are the main source of fibre in their diet.
Fibre in the diet aids in good digestive health. While the fibre doesn’t fully break down in the digestive process, this will then cleanse the digestive tract from mouth to anus. There are many advantages to feeding fibre to your carnivorous pet.
1. By brushing its way through the digestive tract, it clears away any food residue which can build up over time. This build up of food residue can cause a sluggish digestive system, which can over time cause discomfort and becoming a breeding ground for yeasts and other fungi. In turn removing the build-up of food residue may directly help prevent cancers and some other physiological processes that may involve impaction of the gut.
2. Cleansing the digestive tract aids the body in absorbing all/most of the nutrients being ingested. The cell wall of the digestive tract absorbs nutrients. When the digestive tract is clear, this helps to absorb as much nutrients as possible by providing a larger surface area of absorbent ready cells.
3. Keeping a clean digestive system prevents interference with signals from the immune system. This aids in the response time in attacking any specific invader organisms. A large portion of the immune system resides in the gut.
4. The brushing action of the fibre also acts as a natural protection against worms by brushing away worms and eggs in the digestive system. To achieve optimum protection, it’s advised to feed regularly. This also aids in the cleaning of their teeth as it rubs (not scrubs) a little of the surface debris off the gums and between the teeth.
5. Fibre is great for bulking up poo. To naturally express the anal glands, poo needs to be firm enough to press against the anal glands as it passes through.
6. When feeding fibre as part of the meal, this can also help cushion around bone as it passes, as bone takes a bit longer than meats to digest.
Even though there are no nutritional benefits to feeding fur and feathers (due to the lack of break down), there is clearly a benefit to keeping on top of digestive health.
If feeding whole prey is not for you, then you can still feed minces with fur or feathers, or animal parts. For example, rabbit ears.
It’s good to try and put this in your dog/cat’s diet as often as is possible to maintain good digestive health.
NOTE: We do not recommend other forms of fibre such as fruits, veggies or grains