There’s no denying that thanks to popular cartoons, most of us assume that rabbits only eat carrots. In reality, how many of us can say that we’ve actually seen rabbits eat carrots? According to experts, they can eat carrots, but not too frequently. In fact, a rabbit’s diet is mostly a lot of leafy green vegetables, grass pellets, and hay. If a rabbit were to have a diet of only carrots, it could actually lead to obesity or even be fatal. Surprising, isn’t it? Contrary to popular belief, a regular domesticated rabbit’s diet looks like green veggies, pellets, hay, and even their own poop!
If you’re a new owner or are planning to get a pet rabbit, it’s vital you know the key basics of what you should feed them. Rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems, so it’s key to play by the book. It may sound complicated and high maintenance, but in actuality, it’s very simple and basic. If you want to learn more about feeding rabbits the right foods, keep on reading.
Did you know that almost 85 percent of a rabbit’s diet consists of hay? That’s right, hay isn’t just for bedding — our fur friends absolutely love munching on these fiber-rich strands. Fiber is so essential in a rabbit’s diet because it forms a protective layer in their intestines, reduces excessive bacteria growth, and hairballs. Additionally, the motion of chewing hay keeps a rabbit’s teeth healthy and strong. Through constant wear from chewing hay, it keeps their teeth at an optimal length and prevents sores and oral infections.
Plus, it’s easily purchasable at any pet store too. You’ll most likely find orchard or timothy grass types of hay because they’re more common. However, if you’re taking care of younger or lactating rabbits, it’s recommended to get Alfalfa Hay. This type of hay is rich in calcium and protein, which is essential for the aforementioned type of rabbits and can provide them the nutrients and vitamins they need.
Portion the Pellets
No matter the quality of the grass pellets you get, too much of something is never good. They may have the nutrients that both hay and leafy greens lack, but they can cause obesity in rabbits if fed excessively. In some cases, excessive pellet intake can cause your fur friend to stop eating hay, which will impact their general health largely. And that’s something we all want to avoid. Vets recommend keeping it to at least ⅛ cups of pellets per day.
There are many appealing brands of pellets out in the market, but here is what you should avoid. Pellets that consist of fruit, nuts, seeds, or anything colored, should be avoided at all costs as they can cause issues during a rabbit’s digestion. As a guideline, an ideal pellet for rabbits would have a minimum of 22 percent fiber and a maximum of 14 percent protein. Try to keep it as simplified as possible in order not to upset your pet’s stomach.
With a Non-GMO formula, this pack features three varieties of grass hay to support your rabbits’ diet; giving them well-balanced meals. It contains ingredients like Timothy, Oat, and Orchard Grass.
A scientifically formulated complete and balanced meal that is perfect for rabbits who have just gone through surgery, illness or have poor nutrition. It is packed with digestive enzymes and herbs.
A 10 tine fork that is made with Steel Ferrule and has a 30” precision lath turned hardwood, it is ideal for dealing with hay whenever you need to give your rabbits fresh new hay or get rid of old ones.
Don’t Skip Your Greens
To add to the dry food, having a fresh portion of leafy greens is good for your rabbit too. After all, in the wild, rabbits eat plants. Not only does it provide rabbits with essential nutrients, but it also provides water for hydration. A good amount of greens per rabbit is about greens loosely gathered to fit at least half the size of its body. This will give it the fiber it needs to keep going. All you have to do is toss it in with the pellets like a salad. For a healthy variation, having three types of leafy greens is optimal.
Hydration is Key
Just like us, rabbits require a lot of water to stay energized and hydrated. Although feeding it through a bottle works fine, research has shown that rabbits tend to prefer drinking from a bowl or dish instead. To prevent your fur friend from constantly knocking over their water dishes, choose a heavy one or one that is fixated to their enclosure. Ensure that your bunny has access to clean and fresh water every day.
Treats are good every once in a while, but they’re called treats for a reason. The best type of treats you can give your pet rabbits are fruits that are high in fiber. There may be rabbit treats at the pet store, but vets highly recommend sticking to fresh fruit. However, do monitor the number of treats you give your pet, as excessive sugar can cause obesity and throw off the digestive system’s equilibrium.
A H-D impact-resistant double dish pan, it is made with recycled low density polyethylene materials. It is non-reactive to most chemicals, heat/cold and UV resistant as well as won’t discolor at all.
A nutritious treat that does more than provide natural high fiber, this will condition your rabbits’ teeth as well. Plus, it contains no artificial colors or flavors; making it a perfect training aid.
In some instances, you may catch your pet rabbit consuming its own poop. Fret not, your rabbit isn’t unwell! Rabbits have the ability to produce nutrient-rich pellets called cecotrope, which is good for them. These pellets are mostly green in color and consist of small balls covered in mucus. They usually eat it directly, but if you do find their enclosure full of these pellets, book an appointment with your pet’s vet to check up on your buddy. Sometimes it may just be due to an excessive diet, but it’s always safer to see a specialist in case it’s a health-related issue.
Keeping a close eye on their eating habits is also very important. For example, if they stop eating and defecating for a period of time, they may have a fatal intestinal condition that requires immediate professional attention. Experts say that as long as they haven’t eaten or defecated in 12 hours, it could be a case of gastrointestinal stasis. This refers to a situation where your poor fur friend’s intestines just stop functioning and can cause harmful or fatal effects to it.
But don’t worry — as long as you stick to our basic tips, we’re sure you and your fur friend will have a blast. Make sure to have regular appointments with your rabbit’s vet to ensure you have a close eye on their health too. We hope this article has helped you in your preparation to become a new rabbit owner, or at least helped you in understanding what to feed rabbits.
|1||Oxbow Garden Select Adult Rabbit Food|
With a Non-GMO formula, this pack features three varieties of grass hay to support your rabbits’ diet; giving them well-balanced meals.
|2||Sherwood Pet Health Timothy Recovery Food|
A scientifically formulated complete meal that is perfect for rabbits who have just gone through surgery or have poor nutrition.
A 10 tine fork that is made with Steel Ferrule and has a 30” precision lath turned hardwood, it is ideal for dealing with hay.
|4||Double Dish Feed Pan|
A H-D impact-resistant dish pan, it is made with recycled low density polyethylene materials; and non-reactive to most chemicals.
|5||Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Carrot Treat|
A nutritious, flacor-free treat that does more than provide natural high fiber, this will condition your rabbits’ teeth as well.