A rabbits diet is a fundamental part of their overall care and quality of life but exactly what do rabbits eat?
If you asked 100 people on the street that same question, you'd be amazed by the answers!
Most people will say... Yes you guessed it... CARROTS!!
But carrots shouldn't really be part of a rabbits eating plan at all. Carrots should only be offered as a special treat - a bit like you with a big bar of chocolate ;-)
So let's take a look at the fundamentals of a rabbits diet, break it down in to bite-sized chunks, so to speak and answer some common rabbit diet questions.
If you have a particular area of concern or interest, click the links below to jump to that section:
RSPCA Rabbits Diet Video
With the help of former rescue bunnies Buddy and Cleo and their
vet Molly, the RSPCA has put together a useful video explaining how and what,
you should include in your rabbits diet to keep them healthy and happy.
Water is a vital nutrient in a rabbits diet, they require more than any comparable species.
In one day
a 5lb pound rabbit
can drink as much water
as a 24lb dog!
Because this is so important and you may not have realized, let's just repeat that...
In one day a 5lb pound rabbit can drink
as much water as a 24lb dog!
In fact, the average rabbit consumes between 50 and 150 millilitres of water per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day.
Please bear this in mind when you put water out for your rabbits. Think of each rabbit as a mid-sized dog and you'll be about right!
A water bottle with a metal spout is the best and most rabbits pick up how to use it quite quickly.
encourage them with some jam on the end to get them started though. Make
sure you check the spout every day to make sure it's working properly.
A water bowl can be susceptible to contamination from poo or urine. Also some rabbit breeds have large dewlaps and if this is getting wet when they lean over to drink, they could get a skin infection. However, if you do use a bowl make sure it's one that's heavy and won't get knocked over.
Rabbits can't go without water for more than 24 hours (even less during hot weather) without serious health consequences.
Rabbits generally tolerate cooler weather much better than warmer temperatures.
If the temperature gets above 84 degrees Fahrenheit it's dangerous as rabbits don't sweat like we do.
The food pyramid below shows the proportions and types of food your rabbit should eat daily. It's only a rough guide but you get the picture, yes?! Hay - Hay - Hay!!
There are numerous reasons why hay is so important in a rabbits diet and why it should make up 80% or more of their overall diet. It should also be readily available at all times of the day so they can graze on it when they want to. Here's a few reasons...
Get answers to the following questions...
The answers to these questions are vital to your rabbit's health and longevity.
Look at some of the major rabbit diseases and you'll see what I mean.
Greens are important in a rabbits diet and should make up about 12% of their total daily intake of food.
You can buy all the best and most delicious herbs from supermarkets or farmers markets, which are still growing in pots and keep them on your windowsill, just break a few sprigs of each variety and mix in with your rabbit's hay!
Mmmm delicious and a great way to get your buns to eat more hay too!
Your rabbits will love eating them fresh, straight from the plant too given half the chance, so why not get some seeds and grow your own!
Inspiration at your fingertips!
Weeds such as dandelions and goosegrass always go down well in a rabbits diet.
These, and a handful of fresh grass sprinkled in with their hay will go down a treat too.
Every Spring, rabbit owners everywhere have a secret little panic-attack. Bulbs and unknown plants popping up in the garden that they are not sure if their bunnies can eat safely or not!
Yes, they may look pretty and announce the welcome first signs of Spring but most rabbit owners know, most bulbs and many pretty flowering plants are highly poisonous to rabbits.
The more worrying thing is, bulbs can pop up everywhere, in the flower borders, under trees, in the lawn, etc.
Keep reading to discover more...
It's not only Spring time you have to worry about, you need to be
wary of what grows in-between the grass on the lawn, the vegetable patch
and what's dangling over the fence from the neighbour's trees!
If you have moved to a new home and are not familiar with what's in the flower borders, under the lawns, or what type of tree fruit is good or bad for your bunnies, then the following information is of vital importance!
Most sensible, caring rabbit owners like yourself, know that providing a good wholesome diet for your rabbits is half the battle when it comes to their health and longevity.
But when it comes to common garden plants, and food that we often eat ourselves, we get a little stuck. We don't know if they are safe for our rabbits to eat or not.
They don't come with labels like the packaged rabbit food do they?
So let's make it clear…
You need to know WHAT NOT TO GIVE your rabbits, to keep them safe!
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Rabbits need to act like 'rabbits' - The extensive index, contained in this e-book contains all
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ensuring all your outdoor (and indoor) areas are safe for all your pets.
This e-book will guide you on what NOT to grow and help you weed out any offending plants and bulbs from your yard and gardens.
Growing your own plants will not only save money, especially if you have lots of rabbits to feed, but it will give all your rabbits a more natural diet, ultimately giving them extraordinary health and longevity.
in this e-book will give you the background for getting started on your
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Rabbits may be clever when
it comes to knowing what they like and don't like, but a hungry rabbit
will eat almost anything, ignoring any toxic, bitter taste.
Download your handy copy today... and keep it with you in your phone or tablet, for when you need it the most!
An adult rabbit should have a pellet food with a fibre content of at least 18-20% and a protein content of around 12-14%.
Young rabbits need a higher protein level of around 16% as they are still developing.
There are various rabbit pellets that are commonly used in a rabbits diet among experienced breeders and owners and most have high fibre contents.
However, if you don't have time to pop over to that page now, you can't go far wrong with the Supreme Science Selective. This is an excellent product, especially with them having recently raised their fibre content to 25%.
A Just Rabbits favourite!
Science Selective 1.5kg to 10kg From £2.69
If you want to change your rabbit's pellets, you must do so gradually as they have a tendency to get addicted to certain varieties, especially the ones that are classed as a junk food.
Some rabbits will even urinate in their food bowls if they think the food is yukky - yes, we get the message! However, once they have slowly adjusted to the change, they will be healthier and much happier for it.
In fact rabbits are very stuck in their ways and getting them to do anything different usually takes a good two weeks of slow adjustment. Perhaps that infamous phrase about leopards never changing their spots should be adapted for our stubborn buns instead ;-)
Fruits can be included in a rabbits diet but should be classed as a treat and fed in moderation due to the high sugar content they all have.
Make it a rule to only give your rabbits 2 tablespoons of fruit per day. My rabbits only get fruit treats once a week (unless they help themselves to my strawberry plants like they did the other week - little scamps!)
Dried pineapple (in small doses due to high sugar content) contains enzymes which are thought to be good to help break down ingested fur. This makes it a good part of your rabbits diet, especially if they are moulting.
Rabbits, like any animal, including us, can have a very 'sweet-tooth' and crave those high calorie, high sugar treats - they love them and would happily eat them all day instead of their hay so you must say 'no' to their cute little bunny faces and make sure they get a proper balanced diet!
Any type of 'human' food, (processed in some way and not naturally growing i.e. bread is processed as you don't get bread plants!) should NOT be given to rabbits. It is very dangerous for their digestive system. They should eat a natural, preferably organic, vegetarian diet that is high in fibre.
You may think that because we love chocolate for example, then our rabbits will love it too. In fact you can buy rabbit-safe chocolate drops from most pet shops but all these do is help you to empty your wallet and put your rabbits in an early grave. PLEASE DON'T BUY THEM, they are full of unnatural sugars and are extremely bad for your rabbit's digestive system!
Instead, treat your rabbits with natural sweet treats such as fruit or small chunks of 'sweet' vegetables such as carrots and broccoli.
There are loads of ways you can treat your rabbit without hurting your rabbits or your wallet!
Have a look at these natural rabbit treats ideas...
If you call your rabbit and they come to you, when they feel like it that is, reward them with a treat. They will soon start to associate the two things together and will come to you every time you call.
This is called training by association - it works on kids too - try it lol!
Finally, all the answers to your rabbit's diet dilemmas get answered here once and for all.
Download and keep a super 'getting started' guide and never be unsure about what to feed your rabbit and why.
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Sharing is an important part of this rabbit community and I for one know the importance of having a friendly, experienced voice on hand to throw a question at.
Getting good honest, reliable answers to those stumbling questions, especially when you're new to keeping rabbits, is a Godsend.
Have you struggled with getting your rabbits to eat hay?
Have you picked up any tips and tricks along the way?
If you have a great story about your rabbits diet please share.
It may help someone too!
Click below to see some great stories & pics from other rabbit lovers who have shared their rabbits diet tips and advice...
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My Rabbit Loves Crackers
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Are Plum Leaves Toxic to Rabbits?
"Are Plum Leaves Toxic to Rabbits?" This was a question asked by Brooke in Australia and I decided to answer it in a bit more detail …
Can Rabbits Graze on Freshly Mowed Grass?
Can Rabbits Graze on Freshly Mowed Grass? (question answered by Kerry Greener of Just Rabbits Limited) Let's cut to the 'grass' and get down to …
I have read that clover is bad for rabbits. Is this true?
I am drying my own hay from lawnmower leavings in our yard, but unfortunately it is dotted allover with clover. I don't use the stuff that is undoubtedly …
Stale hay...no way!
Our lop eared bunny is going to be 1 year in April. He is eating a good amount of hay each day along with organic greens and 1/8 cup of pellets. The …
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