Is Soy Safe for Rabbits?

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Manna Pro Rabbit Feed for Milking Doe and LitterFor several months, we've been noticing more and more forum posts, online chats, and Facebook inquiries about whether it's safe to feed soybeans (in any form) to rabbits.  While we're not sure what has brought this question to the forefront recently, it seems to be on the minds of many rabbit breeders, homesteaders, and show enthusiasts, so it's certainly worth exploring.

The basis for the concerns lie in the fact that some of soy's natural compounds have estrogenic properties.  What's an estrogenic property, you ask? Great question.  As most of us know, estrogen and testosterone are hormones that are important to many biological processes, including gender differentiation and reproduction. Some studies have indicated that synthetic and naturally occuring chemicals that mimic estrogen (estrogenic) and testosterone (androgenic) can interfere with these processes.

Manna Pro Rabbit Feed for Show RabbitsObviously, for rabbit breeders and other rabbit owners and enthusiasts concerned with reproduction and the general health and welfare of their animals, the suggestion that a feed ingredient could have estrogenic activity is potentially concerning.  We asked Manna Pro's own Vice President of Nutrition, Dr. Rob McCoy, Ph.D. about these concerns and he shared his thoughts with us.

First, Dr. Rob looked at several controlled studies to find that results were mixed, with several that specifically dealt with reproduction in lab animals (mice, rats, and rabbits) showing no significant effects.

Dr. Rob went on to share some common sense wisdom that is worth passing on.  He pointed out that for decades, soybean meal has been a primary source of protein in animal feeds (not just for rabbits) in the U.S. "If soy had a pronounced and consistent negative effect on reproduction, it is my belief that it would not be so widely used."

Manna Pro Rabbit FeedA quick check of the largest producers of commercial rabbit feed, includingmannapro calfmanna productbag our own Select Series Feeds, Calf-Manna (long used as a supplement for rabbits including lactating does), Purina Rabbit Feeds, Heinhold, and others, confirms that most list soybean meal and/or soybean hulls in their ingredients.

We're curious about what YOU think? Leave a brief comment on this blog post and tell us if you've ever had a negative experience, have a different belief, or have read something from a trusted source that you think the rest of the community should know about.

We'd love for you to try Manna Pro Select Series Rabbit Feed, and as a thanks for reading our blog, you can download a coupon today to save $1.00 on your next bag.  Not sure where to find it? Enter your zip code in our dealer locator to find a Manna Pro retailer near you!

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