When you want a rabbit for a pet, it’s necessary to know what to include in its diet. Should you feed it with rabbit food or with vegetables? The simplest answer to this is to prepare a combination of rabbit food, vegetables, and hay. Even fresh water must be added to make it happy and healthy.
What to Feed Your Pet Rabbit
Video Credits: Lennon the Bunny
Always keep in mind that rabbits must eat more and not just stick with lettuce and carrots. They also have sensitive digestive systems. As you introduce them to new vegetables or fruits from pellets or hay, just do it gradually so that its system will adjust.
Hay− Staple of a Rabbit’s Diet
In the bottom part of the food pyramid of rabbits, it’s none other than the long-stem fiber. It should always be hay that makes up eighty percent to ninety percent of its diet. It must have an abundant supply of hay daily.
For an adult rabbit, let it eat grass, timothy, and oat hays. For a younger rabbit, it just as well is fed with alfalfa. However, the latter must not be introduced to an adult rabbit due to its higher sugar and protein content.
Hay is indeed essential for rabbits providing the needed fiber. That now promotes good digestive health. It also wears down its teeth for improved dental health. Place some hay at the other end of a litter box. This will best encourage using a litter box. This is due to the reason that a rabbit tends to poop and eat hay all at once.
When you choose for hay, it should then smell and look fresh. Never choose hay, which only looks moldy or brownish. It should not smell like freshly-cut grass. Better to store it in a dry place inside a container. This will allow the air to flow and avoid it from getting moldy. Buy it in bulk from the local framer. This is an even more economical decision as compared to buying hay in bags.
Also, know that it is okay to feed them with just a single type or a mixture of various grass hays. Get only the freshest hay, but check if there is dust or a mold there. This will only make your pet rabbit sick.
Pellets− Only Should Be In Small Quantities
Pellets like the timothy hay must be introduced to bunnies in just small quantities. A six to ten-pound adult rabbit will just need 1-quarter of a cup of pellets on a daily basis. Now, if your pet falls below this weight, just feed it 1/8 a cup of pellets. For a rabbit that is bigger than ten pounds, it does not more than a quarter of a cup.
A rabbit that falls below one year of age should be fed with alfalfa pellets. Feed it grass hay instead of an alfalfa pellet. Also, look for some pellets having a higher content of fiber. When it’s a lot higher, it is then a lot better. Never buy pellets having dried nuts, seeds, and cord. These foods can also potentially bring harm to a rabbit.
One tip to keep in mind is that pellets must be purchased as fresh. Or else, a rabbit will just turn its nose up a stale pellet. Only those that are low in protein and high in fiber must then be considered. However, limit its pellet intake the moment it grows old. These still are known for high protein leading to health and obesity issues. Never give it mixed treats like dried corn and more. This is also due to the reason that additives do not mean good health for rabbits. They may only bring about digestive issues to them.
Vegetables – The Favorite Foods of Rabbits
Rabbits consider herbs and vegetables as their favorite kinds of foods. The majority of green veggies can be found in the supermarket. And these are so far proven safe for them. But, of course, they each come with few exceptions and limitations.
Owners should just give 2 cups of fresh vegetables for adult rabbits. The dwarf rabbits and breeds below 5-pounds must get only one cup of fresh vegetables every day. It’s also ideal to have a variety of 2 to 3 vegetables. Add one vegetable at a time. Watch for possible signs of diarrhea or loose stool. This is, as mentioned, bunnies have sensitive digestive systems. Only some specific vegetables must be given a day. Other vegetable choices must be fed 1 or 2 times a week.
Never feed them corn, seeds, nuts, beans, and rabbit potatoes. These are just somehow difficult to digest on the part of the rabbits. These will also potentially cause digestive issues.
Better yet, include these vegetables to satisfy their hunger:
- Brussels sprouts
- Bell peppers
- Carrot tops
- Bok Choy
- Radish Tops
- Sprouts of Radish, clover, and alfalfa
- Okra Leaves
- Herbs of mint, dill, cilantro, basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage, and more
- Lettuce of green leaf, romaine, Boston bibb, butter, and arugula
The plants and vegetables to give a rabbit 1 to 2 times a week are as follow:
- Broccoli (leaves and stems only)
- Collard Greens
- Flowers of chamomile, calendula, dianthus, daylily, hibiscus, English daisy, marigold, honeysuckle, pansy, rose, and nasturtium
- Dandelion greens that are pesticide-free
One Cup of Greens for Two-Pounds of Rabbit
Feed a rabbit one cup of greens for the two-pound weight of a rabbit. This must be done every day or be divided into several feedings every day. There are plants that contain alkaloids being a mild toxin. This best protect the plants in the wild. As per the most-talked-about plant, it’s one that has oxalic acid. It is then completely harmless, provided that it is consumed only in small amounts.
As to the quantity of oxalic acid for every plant, it varies significantly with the several factors that include the soil composition. These factors will include fresh vegetables fed to rabbits having a zero to a low level of the acid.
Nevertheless, spinach and mustard greens have known high levels known. The toxicity from the acid will only arise when these foods are fed to rabbits in large quantities. This will result in the kidney and mouth damage, skin tingling and sensation, and more. These greens and spinach are so far nutritious. They just need to be fed appropriately.
It is recommended to feed just a minimum of three-types of leafy green vegetables every day. Never feed them the same greens from one week to another. Just possibly do some mixing of them. When you feed it parsley for this week, use another veggie portion for the coming week. Rotate the greens to give it a variety in texture, taste, and nutrition.
Other rabbit owners are also concerned about the rabbit acquiring a huge amount of vitamin A coming from veggies. Kale is also fortified with Vitamin A just the same as the leaf lettuce. So far, rabbits also make their Vitamin C just within their bodies. They are not the same as us humans who only can obtain this vitamin from a diet. Red peppers and green leafy veggies contain more Vitamin C than the citrus fruits.
You may as well be concerned about feeding foods like broccoli to a rabbit that could only cause (GI) gas. This has not got something to harm your pet. Other common food types that can bring havoc in its GI tract are those veggies rich in sugars and starch. They will bring a change in the pH level of the cecum. They can then throw the entire system off. That’s when the result is none other than the GI disease.
Some of the notorious foods that can cause GI problems to rabbits include legumes like peas, beans, and more. Fruits and starchy-root veggies are high in starch and sugars. They can cause an issue that only they should come in a small quantity of the diet.
Flowers or root vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are also higher in sugars or starch. They should be offered in just a lesser amount as compared to the leafy greens. Avoid them at all costs for your rabbit. Even chives, onions, and leeks must be avoided for certain blood abnormalities caused. Feed the rabbit one-tablespoon for every two-pound body weight every day in just a meal. Better yet, divide it into 2 or even more.
Fruits Given Once or Even Twice in a Week
Give fruits once or even twice in a week. As per the right serving, it should fall to 1 to 2 tablespoons of fruit. One kind of fruit or even a mixture of fruits must be introduced for every 5-pound of weight. Also, introduce fruit to it slowly.
The fruit varieties that you can feed on your rabbit include the following: banana, apple, cherries, grapes, melon, berries like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries, melon, orange, nectarine, peach, pear, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, plum, kiwi, star fruit, apricot, currants, banana and more.
Treats− Be Fed to Sparingly
Rabbits are the same as humans having such a sweet tooth. That is when you should offer them some treats. There are healthy treats like a freeze or dried fruit and unprocessed and natural mixes. These mixes can include dried flowers and hay. But only those flowers that have been approved must be highly-prioritized. Also, include the Oxbow brand treats perfect for them all.
Read on the list of ingredients that come with those treats to buy from a store. Some of them are not proven safe for rabbits. Do not include in your shopping list artificial coloring, added sugar, and preservatives.
Avoid giving treats that are rich in carbohydrates such as crackers, pieces of bread, cookies, pretzels, chips, cereal, and pasta. Even treats rich in sugar and fats sold commercially be avoided as well. That also includes yogurt chips that must not be given. Do not give chocolate because it may as well be toxic to them.
It’s also a lot better to have fruit as a treat. But still, give this in a small amount due to its sugar content. Better to include only organic treats that can be free from pesticides. And just the same with vegetables, they must be completely washed.
Foods to be Avoided for Rabbits
There are foods that must be avoided when introduced to rabbits. They will only make them sick. These can include the following: cabbage, beans, human treats, cauliflower, cereal, beet greens, legumes, pasta, nuts, mustard greens, crackers, corn-cob, or corn, potatoes, peas, yogurt, turnip greens, seeds, sugar, rhubarb, and many more.
Other food items to avoid include meat, eggs, dairy, junk foods, carrots, iceberg lettuce, avocado, nightshade plants, cauliflower, and apple seeds. Although you believe making a good treat at occasional times, they should be avoided at all costs.
Foods to be Fed to a Rabbit
The everyday food options to introduce a rabbit are asparagus, squash, kale, carrot tops, dark leaf lettuce or romaine, cucumbers, celery leaves, and celery, mustard greens, herbs such as mint, dill, cilantro, basil, watercress, and parsley.
Fresh Water−At Such an Unlimited Supply
Rabbits should stay hydrated as much as possible. They must be provided with a vast source of freshwater. This must then be changed regularly. Clean the container of the water with water and soap every after few days. The water bottles may not be easy for you to clean. They may also be difficult for them to use. That is when bowls seem an even better option to consider. It’s also ideal to have a ceramic bowl. This does not tip over as its good point.
Now, you just have learned more about the significant facts that relate to feeding your rabbit. And you now understood if you will feed your rabbit with rabbit food or with vegetables!