Rabbits love food and tend to graze throughout the day to sustain their appetite; getting the right balance for your pet’s diet is important so they can maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are many misconceptions over what a rabbit can eat, and feeding your pet the right diet is essential to keeping your rabbit healthy.
How much does a rabbit eat?
The bulk of a rabbit’s natural diet should consist of good quality hay or grass (but not fresh lawn clippings as they can ferment quickly) measured to the equivalent of their body size. Fresh hay is an essential part of a rabbit’s diet, and you need to provide a constant supply of enough hay for your rabbit to graze on. Chewing hay is good for a rabbit’s teeth, which keep growing throughout their life and need to be worn down naturally.
Typically we recommend a bundle of fresh hay at least the size of the rabbit. This type of food helps to maintain your rabbit’s general health, with hay providing support to wear your pet’s teeth down as they continuously grow, and to give them the right amount of fibre required for their digestive health.
There are a number of different varieties of hay available, and the right choice will depend on your rabbit’s age, health and size. For example, alfalfa hay can be a good choice for younger rabbits, but shouldn’t be fed to adult rabbits due to its high calcium and carbohydrate content.
The rest of their diet can be made up of fresh leafy greens which should be provided every morning and evening. Rabbits eat a variety of vegetables and greens, and we recommend around one handful (adult-sized) per day. Rabbits enjoy spending time foraging, so they enjoy a mix of this kind of food daily which can help prevent boredom, keep them engaged and make their habitat more interesting.
Hay is extremely versatile and perfect for entertaining your rabbit as you can also hide treats and other leafy greens within it for them to rustle out. In addition to their main daily food supply, rabbits are also allowed a treat no larger than one to two tablespoons of rabbit pellets or nuggets a day. It’s also extremely important to give your rabbit fresh water to keep them hydrated at all times.
It’s important to feed domestic rabbits the right amount of food for their body weight.
The best foods for a rabbit
Once your rabbit has been provided with the bulk of their diet (hay), choose from a range of fresh greens from the list of vegetables below. It’s important to provide your pet with a variety of safe greens to make sure they have a balanced diet.
Foods you should never feed your rabbit
One of the most common misconceptions about a rabbit’s diet is that they should be fed muesli-style foods. Unfortunately, muesli is high in sugar and starch which are difficult for rabbits to digest and can cause health problems. If your rabbit is fed a high sugar diet this can lead them to gain weight and develop other health problems.
Foods to feed your rabbit as a treat
Because of the high sugar content, there are also some fresh vegetables and fruits which should be fed as a treat in small portions. As with most pets, always remove the pips and seeds first:
If you’re making a change to your rabbit’s diet, it’s best to gradually introduce new foods to see how they react. Your pet may either not like them or they can upset their stomach, which you will be able to tell based on their stool. If you’re ever in doubt as to what foods are safe for your pet, it’s safest to not feed it to them at all.