Who doesn’t want food? Like humans, rabbits enjoy a delicious meal. A good combination of veggies, hay, pellets, and fresh, clean water will make them happy and healthy.
So, you have to be responsible enough when feeding your pet. You have to know the dos and don’ts in feeding a rabbit. Whatever breed of rabbit you might be keeping, this guide will help you in taking good care of your pet.
Rabbit Diet – What Should You Feed Your Pet?
Good-quality hay and clean, grass, and fresh drinking water must make up your rabbit’s daily diet. The digestive system of a rabbit requires grass or hay for proper function. Thus, you should keep a stable and abundant supply of these foods for your pet. You may supplement it with the leafy greens and some pellets.
Root veggies like fruits or carrots must be given only in small amounts. They are ideal to be given as treats because bunnies do not commonly eat them. Muesli-type of food should be avoided as they can be unhealthy for bunnies. Worst, they can cause several health problems.
Feeding Rabbits with Pellets
You can feed your pet with pellets, but it should be in limitations. Timothy hay pellets could be given to rabbits in small amounts. An average-sized adult rabbit is weighing 6 to 10 lbs. requires a 1-quarter cup of fresh pellets every day. When your bunny is below 5 lbs., you must feed it with 1/8 cup of fresh pellets.
Bunnies that are heavier than 10 lbs. don’t require more than 1 quarter of a cup since it is not a critical part of a rabbit’s diet. Rabbits that are below 1 year old can be fed with alfalfa pellets. For a young bunny, make sure you feed it with grass hay instead of alfalfa.
Find pellets enriched with fiber. The higher the fiber content, the better. Don’t buy pellets mixed with nuts, dried corn, and seeds as they can be extremely harmful to your pet.
Feeding Your Bunny with Hay
Don’t you know hay is your pet’s favorite food? It is a staple of a bunny’s diet. The base of a bunny food pyramid will entail long-stemmed fiber like hay that should make up 80-90% of your pet’s diet. Your bunny is a grazing animal, so it needs an unlimited amount of fresh, quality hay that should be offered every day.
Good kinds of grass hay for rabbits include orchard grass, timothy, oat hay, and brome. You may feed your pet with just one kind or a combination of 3 or more grass hay types. Whatever you choose, go for the freshest hay grasses. Likewise, check them for the presence of dust and mold that can be detrimental to your pet.
Don’t feed an adult rabbit with alfalfa hay. It is a legume and not a grass, so it can be bad to be given every day. Alfalfa can be provided to rabbits only for some cases. Giving it as an occasional treat will be okay.
Rabbits that are below 1 year old can be provided with alfalfa hay. However, as they age, you should switch to grass hay. It would be a must, especially if you used to feed your pet with alfalfa pellets.
Feeding Your Bunny with Vegetables
Bunnies are happy with herbs and veggies. They consider them as their favorites, too. The greens available in the supermarkets are good and healthy for bunnies. However, you should give these veggies to your pet with exceptions and limitations.
Feed your adult bunny no more than 2 cups of fresh veggies every day. A dwarf rabbit and those weighing below 5 lbs. must be given with a cup of fresh veggies every day.
You can offer a variety. 2 to 3 veggies are enough. When feeding your pet with vegetables, remember to add a new kind at a time. Also, watch out for any symptoms of diarrhea or loose stools. Remember, your pet’s digestive tract is quite sensitive.
Some vegetables can be offered daily, while others must be offered sparingly. Feed your pet with veggies once to twice per week.
Avoid potatoes, beans, corn, nuts, and seeds. Those foods are tricky for bunnies to digest. Besides, they may trigger severe digestive issues. Here are some of the veggies that you can offer to your pet:
- Carrot tops
- Brussel sprouts
- Herbs like cilantro, basil, mint, parsley, and rosemary
- Radish tops
- Okay leaves
The following are the veggies and herbs that should be offered as treats. You can give them to your pet once or twice a week:
- Dandelion greens
- Flowers like chamomile, dianthus, daylily, hibiscus, and honeysuckle
Feeding Your Bunny with Fruits
Fruits must be provided to your pet once to twice per week. The correct serving is 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fruit of one kind or a combination per 5 lbs. of the rabbit’s body weight. Like veggies, fruits must be slowly introduced. Stick to just one fruit at a time. Fruits that are suitable for your pet are:
- Seedless apple
- Any kind of berries (blueberries, cranberries, or raspberries)
- Seedless cherries
Foods are Incomplete Without Water
Your rabbit has to remain hydrated. So, don’t forget to provide it with more water every day. Get a large bowl and fill it with clean drinking water. Also, you need to change the water every day.
Empty the water bowl and clean it with soap and water before refilling. Do it every other day. Don’t use a water bottle as they can hard to clean. Likewise, they can be tricky to use. Bowls are much better. You can use a bulky bowl made of ceramic. This is much safer as it won’t tip up easily.
Rewarding Your Bunnies with Treats
Treats will make your pet happy, but these should be offered to them sparingly. Like other people, most rabbits have the so-called “sweet tooth.”
Like humans, treats are on the top of the rabbit’s food pyramid. Hence, you must offer them to your pet only for some time. Healthy treats for your pet will include tiny pieces of freeze-dried or fresh fruits, natural and unprocessed mixes including dried flowers and hay.
When offering treats to your pets, do not forget to read the list of ingredients for store-bought treats. Not all of these are good for rabbits. Do not buy treats that contain sugar, artificial coloring, and preservatives. Also, never try giving human treats to your pet.
Foods You Should Never Include in Your Bunny’s Daily Diet
Some foods out there are best to avoid when feeding your bunny. These foods are extremely harmful as they make a rabbit extremely sick. When creating a weekly meal plan for your rabbit, avoid including the following:
- Human treats (candies and junk food)
- Beet greens
- Chocolate bars
- Corn and corn-cob
- Iceberg lettuce
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
You must be extra careful when feeding a rabbit. Despite being delicious, some foods are just doing no good for this animal. You, as the owner, are fully responsible for ensuring a healthy and well-balanced diet for your bunny to keep it good shape and health. So, choose your pet’s food wisely.