Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot more to a rabbit’s diet than carrots. And, if you are a rabbit keeper, you should know that rabbits are only as good as the foods that they eat. If you think about it, this comes from the fact that rabbit nutrition is very important as these cute and cuddly creatures eat a lot.
Choosing rabbit food can be very different as their daily nutritional requirement over a variety of food items that is perfect and appropriate for them. In this article, these are the best food options that your rabbits will enjoy while proving them the best nutritional value.
Hay is the food item that is the staple to a rabbit’s diet. This is the item that is the most important for rabbits as this contains long-stemmed fiber. In an ideal situation, hay must comprise 80 to 90 percent of the rabbit’s diet. For this matter, grazing animals like rabbits must be provided an unlimited supply of fresh hay every day.
The best type of hay that you can provide rabbits is rabbit grass hays. You can choose from oat hay, brome, orchard grass, and timothy. You can rotate among these options, go for one type, or go for a mixture, depending on availability and preference. The best option will always be to purchase the freshest hay available, and always check for dust or mold before serving to your rabbit as this can make your pet feel sick.
Despite being commonly advised, alfalfa hay is not good for mature rabbits for their regular meals. This is not grass hay, but a legume and this is too rich to be a part of a rabbit’s regular diet. If you want, alfalfa can occasionally be given to rabbits as a treat only.
- Rabbit Pellets
In small quantities, bunnies will enjoy eating timothy hay pellets. Perhaps you have 6 to 10 pounds adult rabbit; it will love being given ¼ cup of pellets every day. If your pet’s weight is less than five pounds, about 1/8 of a cup will be more than enough. If your rabbit is much heavier than 10 pounds, ¼ of a cup is still enough as pellets are not a crucial part of the diet of rabbits anyway.
For rabbits that are younger than 1 year old, you can go for pellets that are made from alfalfa. You must make sure that you counter alfalfa pellets with grass hay for a balanced diet. You should also consider providing your pet pellets that are created with high fiber content. Never buy pellets that have seeds, nuts, and dried corn as additional ingredients. These three foods do not have nutritional value for rabbits and can potentially be harmful to their lives.
- Romaine Lettuce, Green Leaf Lettuce & Red Leaf Lettuce
For thousands of years, lettuce has been cultivated as more than a vegetable. It was believed by ancient people to serve some medicinal purposes. For rabbits, it is important to note that not all types of lettuce are safe and appropriate for them.
The best options for lambs are romaine lettuce and lamb’s lettuce. For lettuce, the rule of thumb is that the darker the leaves, the healthier it will be for your pet. Butterhead lettuce can be fine for rabbits, but these must be taken sparingly because this type is high in acids. Do not go for iceberg lettuce because it can bring harm to your pet rabbit. Iceberg lettuce contains lots of excessive amounts of lactucarium, which can be toxic in high doses.
Lettuce can be fed to rabbits, but only in moderation. Once or twice a week is more than enough for your rabbits already. Be careful because rabbits can enjoy these treats a little too much.
- Bok Choy
Rabbits can eat bok choy, which is a leafy vegetable that all rabbits can eat without any type of major health issue. What you need to do is to make sure that your rabbit will be able to tolerate and eat it. You can test this by giving your rabbit a small piece, wait for about 24 hours, and check if there are signs of soft stools and gas in your pet.
You can feed your rabbit with 1 cup of greens for 2 pounds of rabbit body weight. Bok choy will not be toxic for your pet rabbit, but make sure that they will only consume this moderately.
- Bell Peppers
Peppers are one of the most flavorsome vegetables around, which means that bunnies will surely appreciate eating them. Though rabbits cannot eat jalapeno rabbits, they can eat red, yellow, and green bell peppers. They are filling a long list of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
As these veggies cannot meet all the nutritional needs of a rabbit, a keeper must give their bunnies these colorful peppers in very small amounts and concentrated measurements. Just make sure, but before you give them these peppers, you remove all the seeds and the core part of the pepper.
- Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts look like miniature cabbages that are packed with lots of important nutrients. Rabbits can partake a little bit of these yummy veggies, and they are surely safe for your cuddly friends. However, Brussels sprouts are very likely to cause some gas, and excessive gas can be quite painful for your pet bunnies.
Before feeding your pet with rabbits, you should consider this: only provide your pet with plain and raw Brussels sprouts. This is important because this is how rabbits will basically consume this when they are in the wild. Cooking can reduce the nutritional content, and rabbits do not need the extra salt that comes with cooking anyway.
Rabbits can eat spinach, but make sure that you limit this to no more than twice a week because they contain oxalates. There are basically three types of spinach: first, savory spinach, which is dark and crinkly; second, flat-leaf spinach, which has spade-shaped leaves; and third, semi-savoy spinach, which has curly and crinkly leaves.
Make sure that you only provide your pet rabbit with raw spinach. Most rabbits prefer baby spinach because they have a sweeter taste. Spinach is fibrous and it will help rabbits in their digestive process. The stalks and stems are the most fibrous parts, so you should just cut off the roots and feed them with these instead. It is also high in the water that will help the rabbits stay hydrated.
- Fruits (Only As Treats)
Rabbits also deserve treats every once in a while. But, make sure that you should make fruits not a part of 10 percent of a rabbit’s diet. Approximately one to two tablespoons would be the best estimate of fruit supply for your rabbit per day.
In moderation, you can provide your rabbit with the following fruits: apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, kiwi fruits, mangoes, melons, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Now that you know the best foods for your pet rabbit stick to them and your rabbit will always be at tip-top shape. Familiarize yourself with the nutritional needs of your pet, so that your pet can be protected against malnutrition or eating toxic food.