What’s the most unusual food that an animal at the farm eats?

Each month, we ask you to share your questions about farming, food or Sacrewell with us on Facebook. The person who writes the best question wins a free family admission pass for a day at the farm, as well as having their question answered on our website. This question came from Rebecca Bennett.

Rabbits eat their own poo. This may seem quite unusual, but it’s actually a very important part of their digestive process.

Rabbits are herbivores and their natural diet of grass, plants and weeds is high in fibre and cellulose which makes it tough to digest.

The digestive process starts with the rabbit physically breaking the food down by chewing, before passing the food into their stomach and on to the intestines. Their small intestine works hard to get as many nutrients as possible out, but at this point in the digestive process the food hasn’t been fully broken down. After the small intestine, the food passes into the caecum, where bacteria break it down further and release more nutrients. However, the food can’t move back up the digestive process, so although it is full of nutrients, it then leaves the body as a special type of poo called a cecotroph. The rabbit can then eat the cecotroph and get even more nutrients out of it as it goes through the digestive process for a second time.

Cecotrophs are darker in colour and more squidgy than the other pellets that rabbits produce. It’s important for the rabbits to be able to eat them as they provide them with nutrients and vitamins that they need to stay healthy. Why not see if you can spot any in the rabbit cages on your next visit to the farm?