Feeding pet rabbits

Feeding pet rabbits

Rabbits have specific dietary requirements since they have sensitive digestive systems and a rabbit diet needs to be monitored regularly.

They are herbivores in nature meaning they are plant eaters and grazers who indulge in free-feeding all day long.

A rabbit's daily diet should ideally consist of:

Lots of hay > Small amount of leafy vegetables > Limited number of pellets

Hay:  Specifically grass hays, such as timothy or oat hay should be available at all times to your rabbit. Some rabbits may not eat much hay at first but by adding fresh hay a couple of times a day and reducing the number of pellets you offer, your rabbit will likely become hungry enough to eat the hay. 

Vegetables: Vegetables should make up most of your rabbit's diet. A variety of vegetables must be fed daily to ensure a balanced diet. If the rabbit is used to eating a particular item and a switch is required, change slowly and gradually. Add one vegetable at a time to analyse if they have digestion problems or other problems, it will be possible to tell which vegetable is the culprit.

A few vegetables that rabbit can eat:

  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Basil
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli leaves (stems or tops can make rabbits gassy)
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot tops (carrots are high in calcium and should be given sparingly)
  • Celery
  • Cilantro
  • Clover
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Kale (sparingly)
  • Lettuce – romaine or dark leaf (no iceberg lettuce and no cabbage)
  • Mint
  • Mustard greens
  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Spring greens
  • Wheatgrass

Some fruits that rabbits enjoy include:

  • Apples (no seeds)
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Kiwis
  • Mangos
  • Melons
  • Nectarines
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapples

What can rabbits not eat?

These items are a strict no-no for your rabbit:

  • Cookies
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Grains
  • Bread

Pellets: Since pellets are low in fibre and high in carbohydrates, it can be offered 1/8-1/4 cup per 2.25 kg of their body weight. Over feeding rabbits with pellets may result in obesity as pellets are generally low in fibre and high in carbohydrates.

Remember that anything apart from hay, vegetables and pellets is considered as treats for them and should be provided in moderation.

Any fruits added in your rabbit's diet should be considered as treats and be offered in moderation. An upper limit of 1 to 2 tablespoons of fruits daily. In case of packaged treats, make sure the carbohydrate or sugar content is limited.

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