Rabbits will spend a large amount of their time eating. It is improtant that we give them the correct things to eat.
The essential points to remember in feeding your rabbit are:
- Good quality fibrous hay should always be available and should be the majority of a rabbit’s diet. Your rabbit should eat at least the same volume as their own body weight every day. Rabbits are grazing animals and roughage is essential to promote normal gut turnover. In addition, serious dental problems can result from a poor quality diet with not enough hay.
- Feed a small amount of commercial rabbit pellets. Pellets are far less important than hay, so only feed the amount recommended on the packet. Any more than this and your bunny will eat less hay.
- Do not feed museli diets - the problem is rabbits have no self-control so will eat the nicer-tasting unhealthy flakes and leave the healthy ones!
- Green vegetables/herbs should be fed (roughly 1 cup per day), but take care as some are poisonous (see below).
- Despite popular cartoon references, root vegetables (eg. Carrots) and fruits should only be fed as treats in small amounts. These are not a natural component of the diet and can contribute to serious health problems.
- Fresh clean drinking water is absolutely essential, replace this twice a day
Frequently Asked Questions
What plants are safe for rabbits to eat?
The following plants are safe in small quantities. Remember they should be a minor part of the diet compared to hay:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Carrot leafy tops (not the orange root, these are high in sugar)
- Celery Leaves
- Dandelion leaves (large quantities cause diarrhoea)
- Green beans
- Radish tops (not the root)
- Red, green and yellow peppers
What plants are poisonous to rabbits?
- Elder Poppies
- Most varieties of Evergreen plants
- Lawnmower trimmings are not recommended as can cause diarrhoea
- Oak leaves
- Privet hedge trimmings
- Rhubarb leaves
What are the consequences of feeding my rabbit a poor diet?
Dental problems are very common in rabbits fed a bad diet with low hay content.
This is due to rabbit's teeth continuously growing and so wearing down as they chew the hay. When not enugh hay is fed the teeth will overgrow and can make eating very difficult.
Severe dental problems can even be fatal if not picked up early.
Clinical signs your rabbit may have a dental problem include:
- A reduction in appetite
- A discharge from one or both eyes
- Smaller and fewer faecal pellets
- A dirty back end
If your rabbit is showing any of these symptoms please call us immediately on 0208 337 2214.