Contrary to popular notion, rabbits eat A LOT more than just carrots and lettuce. They need a balanced diet to stay healthy. These herbivores have a complex digestive system which is extremely efficient at processing food and it allows rabbits to eat all day long.
Bunnies have very specific dietary needs. The best diet plan for you little buddy is the one which mimics their natural diet as much and as closely as possible. If you keep introducing new foods too quickly or choose inappropriate food items, you may just end up disturbing the natural digestive system of your rabbit. It can produce bacterial toxins which can cause the rabbit to become sick and eventually die.
To prevent this, we have written this guide for you. It has everything on what you should and shouldn’t feed your rabbit.
What Do Rabbits Eat?
Rabbits require a balanced diet and to provide them with a nutrition-rich diet, it is essential that you incorporate various items into it.
Hay – Most Basic Part of a Rabbit’s Diet
The major part of your rabbit’s diet is hay. As a grazing animal, your bunny should have unlimited supply of fresh hay on a daily basis.
Grass hay is a type of hay which is rich in fiber. It plays a vital role in maintaining the health of a rabbit’s digestive tract and should be fed daily.
You can choose to feed your rabbit one particular type of hay or create a mixture of different types such as timothy, orchard, brome, etc. Make sure that it is fresh and free of mold or dust.
When rabbits are young, they can eat any type of hay including Alfalfa hay. However, it is recommended that you do not feed them Alfalfa once they grow up because it is legume instead of grass. Along with this, it is too high in protein and calcium to be fed on a daily basis. Alfalfa hay can be used as a treat once in a while.
Vegetables – Your Rabbit’s Favorite Food Item
“What is the favorite food of rabbits” is a question that must have come to your mind if you are a rabbit parent. We have the answer! Rabbits consider vegetables and herbs as their favorite foods.
For an adult rabbit, two cups of fresh vegetables on a daily basis are more than enough, whereas, for a dwarf breed or a rabbit who weighs less than five pounds, one cup is enough. A mixture of two to three vegetables is perfect. Whenever you are introducing a new vegetable, make sure you do it one at a time.
As mentioned earlier, rabbits have a sensitive digestive system so introducing one vegetable at a time will help you identify if it is working for the digestive system or not.
Do not feed corn, beans, potatoes or nuts to your rabbits as they are hard to digest. Hence, they can cause digestive issues.
Carrots may be your rabbit’s favorite vegetable, but there are various other that they like, such as:
- Bell peppers
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Carrot tops
- Herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme
- Lettuces: romaine, green leaf, red leaf, Boston bibb, arugula, and butter
- Okra leaves
- Radish tops
- Sprouts: radish, clover
Following are some of the vegetables that should be fed sparingly:
- Broccoli (stems and leaves only)
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens (pesticide-free)
- Flowers: calendula, chamomile, daylily, dianthus, English daisy, hibiscus, honeysuckle, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, and rose
Pellets – Should Be Fed in Less Quantity
Bunnies should be given Timothy pellets in less quantity. An adult rabbit, who weighs 6 -10 pounds or more, only requires one-quarter cup of pellets. Whereas, if a rabbit weighs 5 pounds, it should be fed one-eighth of a cup.
Instead of Timothy pellets, young rabbits can be fed Alfalfa pellets as well. But if you do so, remember to feed them grass hay.
Pro Tip: Do not buy pellets that have nuts, dried corn or seeds as they are harmful.
Fruits – To Be Fed Once or Twice a Week
Fruits can be fed once or twice a week. Just like vegetables, they should be introduced one at a time. One to two tablespoons of fruit is an appropriate serving size per 5 pounds of body weight.
Following are some of the fruits that can be fed:
- Apple (no seeds)
- Berries: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries
- Cherries (no seeds)
Treats – Should Be Fed Sparingly
Just like humans, many rabbits also have a sweet tooth.
Treats should be at the top of the rabbit’s food pyramid which means they should be fed sparingly. Health treats can include small chunks of fresh or freeze-dried fruit or mixed natural rabbit food like hay and dried flowers.
Always read the ingredients of a store-bought product to make sure it does not have sugar, artificial coloring or preservatives. Also, do not give human treats to your rabbit.
Along with this, check with your veterinarian about the recommended types of treats because rabbits can get obese if high-calorie treats are fed in abundance.
Foods That You Should NOT Give to Your Rabbits
Following are some of the food items that you should avoid giving to your rabbits:
- All human treats
- Beet greens
- Corn or corn-cob treats
- Iceberg lettuce
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
Unlimited Supply of Fresh Water
Make sure your rabbit has an unlimited supply of water so that it stays hydrated. Change the water daily and clean the container with soap and water after every few days.
1. How much food does a rabbit need?
Rabbits should be fed and provided with water on a daily basis. Hay and water should be available at all times because as nibblers, they need it throughout the day.
2. Does my rabbit need vitamins?
No, they do not need extra vitamins. A high-fiber diet is enough.
We hope that this food guide will help you. If you are interested in buying more rabbits, visit OLX Pakistan’s website.
Do let us know if you want to read similar food guides on other pets.
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