Feeding is one of the most important aspects of taking care of pets. Animals need to be fed daily, and you need to provide them with adequate nutrition.
Rabbits also need nutritious food in their diet. So, what exactly is suitable for rabbits to eat? The first thing you remember when speaking of rabbits is carrots. Well, carrots are not the only type of food rabbits eat.
Rabbits need to eat way more than just carrots. Read on to learn more about the best types of food to feed your rabbit and what food you should keep away from it.
The Most Vital Food For Rabbits: Hay
Most parts of a rabbit’s diet should consist of hay or grass. To be precise, it takes up to 80 to 90 percent of their diets. However, you should avoid fresh lawn clipping as they can ferment very fast. Fresh hay is the best for rabbits, and chewing hay is good for rabbits’ teeth.
Grass hay has adequate amounts of vitamin A and D along with calcium. These nutrients also have a positive impact on the rabbit’s gastrointestinal tract.
The Best Type Of Hay For Rabbits
Just because hay is good for rabbits does not mean that you can feed about any hay. There are so many varieties of hay available, and it is vital that you only give your bunny the ones that are good for them.
Good types of grass hay to feed rabbits are orchard grass, timothy, brome, and oat hay. You can feed just one of these types of hay or provide a mixture of different types.
Ensure that the hay you feed your rabbit is fresh. It should not contain dust or mold that can make your bunny sick.
Alfalfa hay is not suitable to be fed to adult rabbits. This type of hay contains way too much protein and calories that is more than the average amount a rabbit needs. Alfalfa hay should be given only as treats to rabbits, which is once in a while.
You can feed alfalfa hay to rabbits younger than one year of age. However, remember to switch the type of hay once they grow older.
The Best Vegetables To Feed Rabbits
Apart from hay, you can also feed your rabbit various vegetables. A variety of safe greens ensures that your rabbit has a healthy and balanced diet.
The best type of vegetables for rabbits are easy to digest and provide a lot of nutrients. The majority of the vegetables should be leafy greens, whereas you can also feed them a small amount of non-leafy vegetables.
Here is a list of leafy vegetables that you can feed your bunny.
- Beet greens
- Mustard greens
- Radish tops
- Swiss chard
- Carrot tops
- Cucumber leaves
- All types of Kale
- Red or green lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Mint (any variety)
- Basil (any variety)
- Spring greens
- Turnip greens
- Dandelion greens
- Bok Choy
- Yu choy
- Raspberry leaves
- Borage leaves
- Dill leaves
- Fennel (base and the leafy tops)
Here is a list of non-leafy vegetables which you can also include in small amounts in your rabbit’s diet.
- Broccoli (leaves and stems)
- Rose flower
- Hibiscus flower
- Bell peppers
- Chinese pea pods
- Brussel sprouts
- Summer squash
The Best Fruits For Rabbits
A rabbit’s diet should include fruits. However, fruits should be given with much more caution than vegetables. Fruits contain high levels of sugar, and therefore you should not feed your rabbit fruits more than twice a week.
As long as you’re careful with feeding fruits, there is nothing to worry about. Rabbits love to eat fruits, and they provide adequate nutrition when given moderately. Therefore, you don’t have to eliminate fruits from your bunny’s diet.
The skin of the food provides nutrition, so it’s better to leave it unless you fear it has been sprayed with chemicals. However, remember to remove the seeds, pits, cores, leaves, and stems from the fruit before feeding it to your bunny.
Here is a list of fruits that you can safely feed your rabbit.
- Apple (any variety)
- Plum (without the pits)
- Cherries (any variety)
- Berries (any type)
- Berries (uncooked)
- Banana (remove peel)
- Pineapple (remove skin)
- Melons (can include peel and seeds)
- Star Fruit
Feeding Treats To A Rabbit
Just like we have cheat days and days for treats, rabbits should also be allowed this freedom. It is completely alright to give occasional treats to your rabbits. What you should remember is not to go overboard with any treats.
Rabbits have a sweet tooth. So adequate amounts of treats given once in a while can help keep your bunny happy and healthy.
You can feed your rabbit freeze-dried fruits and natural and unprocessed mixtures that include hay and dried flowers as ingredients. These should be given to your rabbit now and then.
When purchasing treats from the store, remember to read the list of ingredients. Avoid buying products that contain added sugar, artificial coloring, and preservatives harmful to your bunny.
Foods To Avoid Giving A Rabbit
You should avoid giving certain types of food to your rabbit, which can make them sick. Here is a list of foods you should never feed your bunny under any circumstances.
- All types of human treats
- Dairy products
- Tomato leaves
- Iceberg lettuce
- Turnip greens
- Mustard greens
Water Requirements For A Rabbit
Water is an essential part of a rabbit’s diet. Rabbits must have access to enough freshwater to digest the vegetables and fruits they eat. If your rabbit prefers to sip water from a bowl, ensure that the bowl is always clean, as scraps of food could fall into it.
A heavy bowl, preferably made of ceramic, is ideal as it prevents the bowl from tipping over and spilling water.
Apart from that, you can also feed your bunny water with a water bottle sipper, which can be attached to the side of its cage.
How Much Of Food To Feed A Rabbit
As much as you should provide nutritious food to your rabbit, you should ensure to feed the adequate amounts of each type of food.
Here’s a guide on how much of each kind of food you should feed your rabbit.
- Fresh hay: daily; a bundle at least the size of the rabbit
- Leafy greens: every morning and evening; one handful
- Non-leafy greens: daily; 1 tablespoon per 2 pounds of body weight
- Fruits: 1 to 2 times a week; 1 to 2 tablespoons per 5 pounds of body weight
- Treats: once or twice a week; 1 to 2 tablespoons per serving
- Water: daily; unlimited supply
Tips On Feeding A Rabbit
Here are a few general tips to keep in mind when feeding your rabbit.
- Don’t feed grass trimmings found in your yard.
- Don’t feed alfalfa hay to adult rabbits. Don’t feed alfalfa hay in large quantities to young rabbits.
- Give access to an unlimited water supply.
- Don’t go overboard with treats.
Like any other animal, rabbits need adequate food to keep them healthy and happy. So if you have a bunny as a pet, remember to feed them a combination of hay and vegetables with the occasional treats.
Pet care requires you to have adequate knowledge of the types of food and feeding patterns of different pets. If your pet is not fed correctly, it will not respond to you or be active, for that matter. Check out ipetguides.com for a comprehensive guide on how to take the best care of your pet.
Feeding your rabbit nutritious food is not difficult at all. Remember to be generous with the grass hay while providing adequate amounts of vegetables.
With the right amount of nutrition, your rabbit will be healthy and happy, which is precisely what you want. Be mindful when buying ready-made food from the store. They could contain preservatives and artificial coloring that you don’t want to feed your rabbit.
Follow these tips, and you’ll find it easy to fix a healthy diet for your rabbit.
Can I Feed Cheese To My Rabbit?
You should not feed cheese to your rabbit as it is a dairy product that contains lactose which rabbits cannot digest. Cheese is also high in fats and does not contain any fiber, which is certainly not suitable for their digestive systems.
Can My Rabbit Eat Pellets?
Yes, you can feed your rabbit pellets which are made from hay. Providing pellet food, apart from vegetables, ensures a balanced diet for your rabbit.
How Often Should I Feed My Rabbit?
A rabbit should eat twice a day. In addition, they should eat hay and a combination of vegetables daily.
How Often Should I Change My Rabbit’s Food?
You should change the hay once a week if your rabbit uses a litter box. If not, you should change hay every two to three days. Hay should be added daily to ensure there is enough for rabbits to consume.
Maria Schultz is a talented writer and a passionate animal lover who brings her expertise in the pet industry to the Petcosset team. With a degree in English and years of experience writing for various pet-related publications, Maria deeply understands the latest news and products in the pet industry. She is dedicated to providing pet owners with the most accurate and up-to-date information to help them take the best possible care of their small friends. When she’s not writing about pets, Maria can often spend time with her beloved pets, including a rescue dog and several cats.