What should I feed my rabbit?

                 

What are the basics of a good rabbit diet?

A rabbit's diet should compose of the following: 80% hay/grass, 15% leafy greens and < 5% pellets. Hay or grass should be in constant supply along with 5-6 different leafy greens and a small number of pellets.

 Why is hay/grass so important?

Hay/grass is very high in long-strand fibre which is closest to the rabbit's natural diet in the wild. There are three reasons why this type of fibre is so important:

  1. Rabbits have constantly growing teeth. They action of chewing the abrasive hay and grass keeps all the teeth worn down and prevent dental issues.
  2.  Lack of fibre stops the gut moving leading to a serious and painful condition known as gut stasis.
  3.  Fibre also helps reduce boredom and prevents behavioural issues.

What veggies should I feed my rabbit and how much?

5-6 greens / vegetables a day is enough. Feed leafy greens like romaine lettuce, rocket, carrot tops, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, rocket and herbs like parsley, basil and mint. Plants from the garden like dandelion, sow thistle, chickweed, lavender. and clover are also good. An average rabbit should get 1.5-2.5 cups fresh greens daily

What makes a good pellet?

High quality extruded pellets are best as they are palatable. All the nutrients needed are in each individual nugget so the rabbit simply cannot pick and choose which bits it likes. Do not feed your rabbit muesli type mix as they will selectively eat high carb maize and grain leaving the fibrous pellets behind. Long-term this causes dental problems, recurrent gut stasis and obesity. The average rabbit should not eat more than 1-2 egg cups daily.

 What treats can I feed my rabbit?

Avoid high fat and starchy like bread, cake, cereal, biscuits, honey sticks and yoghurt drops. The best treats are favourite vegetables, herbs and willow twigs. Small piece of apple or carrot can also be given. No more than 1-2 tablespoons of fruit a day should be given as they are high in sugar and can lead to weight issues.

What food should I avoid?

There are numerous plants that are poisonous to rabbits. Some of these include: bracken, foxglove, poppies, ragwort, rhubarb leaves and any plant grown from a bulb. Never give your rabbit grass clippings as they can ferment in their stomach and cause bloat.

 How much water and bottle or bowl?

Rabbits should have free access to water at all times. Rabbits eating a lot of vegetables may not drink a lot as they may get most of their water requirement from vegetables. Those eating mostly hay and pellets can however often drink as much as a small dog. Rabbit prefer to drink from a bowl but offer a water bottle too in case it gets knocked over.