Rabbits should have a diet of fresh hay, fresh vegetable, high fiber pellets, and water. Everything else you give your rabbit to eat should be considered a treat and only given in small amounts.
What should I feed my rabbit daily?
- Rabbits should have a bundle of hay every day. The size of the bundle should be about the size of your rabbit and nice and fresh
- Hay should make up roughly 85% of a rabbit’s diet
- Rabbits also need a handful of washed leafy green vegetables, herbs, and weeds daily. It’s best to provide a variety of about 5 different types of greens daily such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, mint, or parsley
- Your rabbit must always have access to fresh clean water
Hay provides roughage, which is a fancy term for fiber and is essential to a rabbit’s diet. It can also help reduce the risk of your pet developing hairballs.
If you were to ask anybody what does a rabbit eat, the first thing that would come into people’s heads would be carrots. But that’s not correct, hay is the most important part of a rabbits diet and not only as food. It is important for many things such as wearing down her teeth, which are constantly growing, giving her the fiber she needs for a healthy digestive tract and keeping her busy as rabbits like to rearrange things. It can also help to teach better litterbox habits.
Hay and grass daily
Hay should make up roughly 85% of a rabbit’s diet
Rabbits should have a bundle of hay every day. The size of the bundle should be about the size of your rabbit and nice and fresh. Remember not to feed her lawnmower clippings as that could make her unwell.
Most Popular Types Of Hay
Timothy hay – Is made from dried timothy-grass.
Orchard hay – made from dried orchard grass, otherwise known as cat grass. It has similar nutritional values as timothy hay.
Meadow hay – Is the generic term for a blend of different grass hays. It will vary in nutritional value, and often be worse in quality, but is still safe to feed rabbits. Rabbits can also feed on oat, barley, and wheat hay. Alfalfa hay should be avoided if your rabbit is older than 6 months.
Leafy greens daily
Rabbits also need a handful of washed leafy green vegetables, herbs, and weeds daily. It’s best to provide a variety of about 5 different types of greens daily such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, mint, or parsley. If you’re introducing new types of green to your rabbit’s diet, it should be done in small amounts to avoid the rabbit developing a stomach upset.
Fresh clean water
Your rabbit must always have access to fresh clean water. Always consider the weather conditions, such as cold weather that could freeze the water and also keep a lookout for blockages in her drip feed bottle, etc.
Should I Feed My Rabbit Pellets?
Rabbits can happily live on only hay and vegetable, however, some rabbits just will not eat enough hay. In this case, you could use rabbit food pellets to supplement her diet and provide the fiber she needs.
Try to buy the best quality pellets you can, made from timothy grass. Check they don’t contain animal fat or over 14% protein. Try to avoid pellets that contain, seeds, nuts, corn, or colored pieces mixed in.
Rabbit food Pellets should have a relatively high amount of fiber in them, about 18% minimum. Pellets should be fresh, so it’s best not to buy more than a six week supply to avoid them becoming spoiled. Pellets should make up less of your rabbit’s diet as she grows older.
What Are Pellets Made From?
Pellets are made from dried and processed hay that is compacted into small pellets for your rabbit to eat.
How Many Pellets To Feed My Rabbit?
5-7lb rabbit – you should give them a ¼ cup of pellets per day.
8-10lb rabbit – can have a ½ cup
11-15lb rabbit – can tolerate ¾ cup daily.
Giving your rabbit more than this may result in health problems such as obesity.
What about ‘muesli-style’ mixes?
Muesli style rabbit food is not the best for your bunnies health and can lead to health problems. Rabbits’ teeth can become curved if they eat muesli mixes too often. They will tend to pick out and eat the less healthy pieces of the mix, overlooking the bits that contain more fiber, which can lead to problems in the gut.
Changing your rabbits’ diet
If you’re in the process of or going to change your rabbit’s feeding habits, it’s important not to do it suddenly as this could upset their digestive system.
Adjusting your rabbit’s diet should be done slowly over two to four weeks. Start by introducing small amounts of the new food into her normal food and gradually increase the amount of new food, while reducing her old food. Do this day by day until your rabbit has adjusted to her new diet.
It can be difficult to get your rabbit to eat hay if she’s not eaten it before but is worth the effort as it’s best for your rabbit’s health.
If your rabbit has not taken to eaten hay, try offering them different types every day to try and tempt her. Make sure the hay is fresh.
If you are not sure how to change your rabbit’s diet or what to feed them, it’s best to ask a vet for some advice.
If you’re not sure how to change your rabbit’s diet, it is best to ask your vet or vet nurse, they’ll always be happy to help.
Why Rabbits Need Fiber
Wild bunnies eat the grass they find growing all around them. This is why hay should make up most of a rabbits diet, it’s similar to what they eat in the wild.
Bunnies groom themselves by licking their fur the same way cats do. But while cats spit up their hairballs, rabbits can’t. Her system is a one-way system so having a high fiber diet is important to keep the digestive tract in good shape. And hey provides good amounts of fiber to help keep things moving right on through.
Chewing motions are different for different foods
Bunnies have different chewing motions for different types of food. Some have a side to side motion and some up and down. So adding hey into your rabbit’s diet along with pellets and vegetables will help keep her teeth healthy and evenly trimmed.
As rabbit’s teeth grow constantly, grazing on hay helps to keep them short. If your rabbit doesn’t eat enough hay, they will probably need to have their teeth filed down by a vet
What foods are bad for rabbits?
Rabbits have a specialized digestive system that helps the process fiber and nutrients. This makes them adaptable to many various environments but also means some foods can be disruptive to their digestion. There are some foods that can even be potentially poisonous.
Heres Some foods you shouldn’t feed your rabbit.
Iceberg lettuce contains the chemical lactucarium which can be harmful to rabbits when ingested. Iceberg lettuce also provides little nutritional value as it mostly contains water.
Chocolate is bad for bunnies and can be poisonous.
According to Rabbit.org, yogurt drops may contribute to lethal cases of enterotoxemia which is an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Bread, Pasta, Cookies, and Crackers
Things such as bread pasta crackers and cookies are all foods high in sugar that can cause your rabbit to get stomach issues. They could possibly lead to enterotoxemia, so best avoid these sugary foods.
One of the more surprising foods on the list of foods not to feed rabbits, the cauliflower can cause bloating and lead to gas.
Avocados contain persin, which is considered highly toxic to rabbits. If your rabbit were to ingest a substantial amount, the toxin can cause breathing difficulties, congestive heart failure and can even lead to death.
The chemical persin is in all parts of avocado so you should take care when disposing of your leftovers.
Cereal can cause tooth and tummy problems
Another leafy green vegetable that you shouldn’t feed your rabbit. The silverbeet could cause your rabbit to suffer from colic and bloating.
Although rare, if a rabbit were to ingest raw rhubarb, it could possibly die.
Walnuts have little fiber and are high in fats which can cause your rabbit to indigestion
Potatoes are high in both carbohydrates and starch which can lead to problems for your bunnies digestive system.
Meat is an obvious one but we thought we would put it in the list for good measure.
The information in this post is informational and as always, you should consult a vet if you have any serious questions that need to be answered.