Feeding your rabbit
Feeding your rabbit a balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do for them. A huge amount of the problems we see in rabbits are related to a poor diet. Here we explain the principles of a balanced diet and how this will help your pet.
This diagram shows the correct proportions of food your rabbit should be receiving. The most common mistake people make is feeding too much of the pelleted diets and not enough hay.
- This is the most important part of a rabbit’s diet and should be about 80% of everything they eat.
- The rabbit is a grazing animal and its digestive system is designed to have food trickling though it all the time, and also to digest tough stems of vegetation like hay.
- As a rough guide your rabbit should eat a portion of hay as big as they are every day and they should always have hay available to nibble on.
- Good quality hay should smell sweet and not be dusty, it is readily available from pet shops and your vet
- Having hay available at all times also helps to reduce boredom in rabbits, which can help prevent behavioural problems
- Hay is also vital for dental care. Rabbits’ teeth grow continually and hay helps them to be kept ground down correctly. Click here to learn more about dental problems in rabbits
Hay and grass should form the majority of your rabbit’s diet
- Every day your rabbit should have a portion of fresh vegetables. More or less anything is suitable; carrots, broccoli, lettuce etc.
- Ensure that you introduce any new foods slowly, this will help you rabbits digestive system get used to them and reduce the chances of them developing diarrhoea.
- People are often advised not to give young rabbits fresh food. We think it is fine to feed fresh food from any age, after all that is what they would eat in the wild! Just remember to introduce new things slowly.
- Only give your rabbit enough fresh food so that is it always finished every day. This will mean it is not left sitting in the cage going rotten. Also he will not be able to gorge on it and ignore the rest of his diet, such as hay.
- Take care not to give too much fruit, it contains fruit sugars which can make your rabbit gain weight.
- These should be fed sparingly, treat them as you would the chocolate and biscuits in your own diet
- These diets are good to ensure your rabbit is getting all the vitamins and minerals he needs, so we would always reccomend them in their diet, but if they eat too much they run the risk of becoming too fat. Click here to learn more about the problems of obesity in rabbits
- It is best to only allow your rabbit access to these foods for only a few hours a day. This means he will not be able to overeat the hard food, or eat it in preference to the hay, which is so important.
- We do not advise that you feed the mixer diets that are often found in the supermarket and pet stores. Rabbits are intelligent creatures and will tend to eat only the bits they like the best, such as the peas or the rolled oats, and will often leave the brightly coloured blocks which contain the majority of the vitamins and minerals. This means they would have a very unbalanced diet and be at risk from various health problems.
- We recommend the pelleted diets for rabbits They may not look as appetizing but they are just as tasty for your rabbit and much better for him!
This is an example of a mixer diet for rabbits We DO NOT recommend these as it allows your rabbit to feed selectively. This is an example of a pelleted diet. These are best for your rabbit as they are a complete diet and means he gets all the vitamins and minerals he needs.
Please note, this is an advice only website. If you have any specific queries about your pet, you should contact your vet.