A healthy, balanced diet is the key to a healthy, happy rabbit.
A rabbit’s diet is made up of 4 main staples: Hay, pellets, fresh vegetables, and water. Anything outside of this is considered a treat, and should be given in limited quantities.
Hay is essential to rabbit health, as it aids in digestion and provides roughage to help prevent hairballs and other blockages. Timothy hay should be given at all times. Grass hay and oat hay can also be given. You may also include apple tree twigs along with hay as an extra source of roughage.
Pellets should be fresh, and high in fiber (18% is recommended.) Pellets should make up less of a rabbit’s diet as it grows older. A good way to portion pellets for your adult rabbit is 1/4-1/2 cup of pellets per 5 lbs of body weight per day.
(Pellet amounts can be increased for older or sickly rabbits that have trouble maintaining a healthy weight)
Avoid pellet mixes that include brightly colored treats, corn, or seeds. These can be difficult for rabbits to digest. Recommended pellet brands include Oxbow, Purina Rabbit Chow, American Pet Diner, and Nutriphase. Pellets should be kept in a dry location, and no more than about 6 weeks worth of pellets should be bought at a time to avoid spoilage.
Fresh vegetables are also a vital part of a rabbit’s diet as they provide essential vitamins and nutrients. Offer at least 3 different vegetables daily, but only introduce one new vegetable at a time. If the new vegetable causes soft stool or diarrhea, discontinue feeding that vegetable. Fresh vegetables should be given in a portion of 2 cups per 5 pounds of body weight per day.
Acceptable vegetables include:
- Romaine lettuce(avoid iceberg lettuce as it is mostly water)
- Basil, Cilantro, Parsley , Mint
- Spinach(in small amounts)
- Dandelion greens and flowers
- Green pepper
- Mustard Greens, Collard Greens
- Radish tops
- Brussels Sprouts
- Bok Choy
To view a list of poisonous plants: http://www.adoptarabbit.com/articles/toxic.html
Clean fresh water should be made available at all times. Rabbits can drink both out of a bottle or a bowl. Whichever you choose, make sure to clean the water container regularly.
Rabbits like any other companion animal love treats. However treats should be given sparingly to avoid weight management issues. Rabbits have a sweet tooth and will choose to eat sugary foods over healthy ones.
Acceptable treats include:
- Carrots and carrot tops
- Apples(no seeds)
- Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries
- Pear(no seeds)
- Peach(no pit)
- Melon(avoid watermelon)
- Orange(without the peel)
- Pineapple(no rind)
- Plums(no pit)
- Banana(no peel)