What to feed my rabbit?
Simplifying bunny nutrition
Feeling overwhelmed by the number of different foods in the rabbit aisle of the pet store? It can be tricky to know what’s right, but getting it right is really important in bunnies! We’ve simplified it here to bust myths and maximise your rabbit’s health.
It’s always worth checking with your vet on specific issues, but this guide will be a great place to start. We’ve also included some practical tips and interesting information about these amazing animals.
Rabbits teeth never stop growing and they need to chew things like wood and cardboard in order to wear them down. If their teeth don’t get what they need, it can lead to dental disease which is very serious.
How are rabbits different?
- Rabbits teeth never stop growing and they need to chew things like wood and cardboard in order to wear them down. If their teeth don’t get what they need, it can lead to dental disease which is very serious.
- They eat a lot! Most rabbits will eat for 6-8 hours a day. It’s crucial that a rabbit’s bowels are constantly moving.
- They eat their own poo! Don’t be alarmed if you see them doing this. In fact, be encouraged! It’s all part of keeping their gut flora healthy.
What should my rabbit eat?
Rabbit diets are usually made up of 80% hay, 10% vegetables and 10% pellets. The selection is amazing in the pet store, but it can make choosing a little confusing. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your rabbit gets everything he needs without overdoing the treats!
- HAY, HAY, HAY! This is where a lot of bunny owners come unstuck. A good quality hay should make up 80% of what your rabbit eats, and it should be always available to them. This will wear down those ever-growing teeth, keep the bowels moving, and maintain a healthy population of bugs in the gastro-intestinal tract. We recommend the timothy hay from Oxbow or the western timothy hay blend instead.
One of the great benefits of hay is that it’s actually a natural treat, just give them as much as they want! If you are looking to give your rabbit treats occasionally though there are some safe options. Vegetables are an excellent source of nutrients but they have lots of fibre too.Veggies and herbs: this is also good for bunnies, and should make up the other 20% of their diet.
- Veggies: broccoli, leafy greens, cabbage, celery, spinach, bok choy.
- Herbs: dill, parsley, coriander
- Treats – these can be fed 2-3 times per week in small quantities, chopped finely: fruits including apple/pear, carrots, capsicum
What about pellets?
Unfortunately, most available pellets are not nutritionally balanced and should NEVER be the only thing your bunny is fed! If you do want to feed pellets, or your rabbit enjoys them, they should be considered treats (see above).
Lastly, ensure your rabbit always has access to fresh, clean water. This keeps them hydrated and keeps the food moving through. Bowls and drippers are both great! Your rabbit should always have clean water to drink. Water dispensers should be rabbit proofed to ensure your rabbit does not chew on the water holder. This one can be attached to your rabbit’s cage and is leakproof, so your rabbit has water that is enclosed.
If you are wanting a larger water dispenser, this one will keep your rabbit’s hutch clean and also provide them with plenty of water.
It’s important to keep your rabbit’s cage clean. Some rabbits like to make a mess when eating their hay. To keep your rabbit’s cage clean we recommend hay feeders that are attached to the cage, and keep your cage tidy, but also allow your rabbit to eat as much as they desire.
In conclusion, rabbits are herbivores and need nutritious rabbit food to stay happy and healthy. Rabbit food should contain fibre which helps their digestion, rabbit hay are usually high in fibre and also helps your rabbit’s continuously growing teeth.
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