What can rabbits eat? Vegetables, hay and other top diet tips!
Despite what Bugs Bunny may have led you to believe, carrots shouldn’t be a major part of a rabbit’s diet as they contain high sugar levels, although they can be given as an occasional treat.
Petplan takes a look at which types of food are good for rabbits and which should be avoided…
Why hay is a vital part of your rabbit’s diet
Rabbits' teeth grow continuously (about 2mm every week!), so it’s important their teeth are worn down by providing them with the correct diet – one that is abrasive and rich in fibre.
To prevent painful overgrown teeth and sharp spurs, ensure you feed your pet high quality hay, which will also provide them with the fibre they need for a healthy digestive system. Hay and grass should make up 85% of their daily diet and be given in unlimited supply.
Hay available for purchase comes in a variety of colours and dryness – try and combine a few together to find one that your rabbit enjoys, but avoid yellow straw-like hay as it does not provide the nutritional value that the fresher, green bales do.
Pellets are a great way for your rabbit to get extra nutrients in their diet
Pellets are an important addition to your rabbit’s diet as they contain a balanced amount of nutrients and fibre per pellet to meet your rabbit’s daily needs.
Pellets should make up about 5% of your rabbit’s daily diet. An average 2kg rabbit needs just one egg cup of pellets a day, bearing in mind that this type of food doesn’t wear their teeth down.
It’s also not recommended to give them ‘muesli’ type feeds because rabbits often just pick out the bits they like, so they don’t get the full range of nutrients needed. These ‘mix’ feeds can also contain a large amount of sugar and starch which may result in obesity.
Not all vegetation is good for your rabbit
Vegetables are also a key part of a rabbit’s daily intake and should make up about 10% of their daily diet. Dark-green leafy vegetables are best and should be included every day, which encourage different chewing motions to maintain healthy teeth.
Some recommended vegetables include:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Curly Kale
However, there are also some vegetables and vegetation that your rabbit should avoid, these include, but aren’t limited to:
- Elder poppies
- Rhubarb leaf
Fruit shouldn’t be a staple of your rabbit’s diet
Fruits can be given as a treat for rabbits as they love the sweet flavour. However, you should be cautious not to give too much as it can unbalance their stomach bacteria due to high levels of sugar.
Apples, pears, strawberries and grapes are among some of the best fruit for your rabbit, but this should be limited to a maximum of two tablespoons per day.
How should you feed your rabbit?
Rabbits love to forage so don’t feel like you have to feed them from a bowl – try hiding their food around their hutch and outside enclosure to keep them busy.
Alongside this, bunnies love to chew and strip bark, so provide them with small, fresh branches from fruit trees to keep them entertained.
Lastly, remember to provide your rabbit with a constant supply of clean, fresh water every day to keep them hydrated and healthy.
What does your rabbit love to eat? Let us know your experiences below…