FEEDING YOUR PET RABBIT
What do rabbits eat?
High quality rabbit chows, pellets, dark salad greens and good quality hay make up the rabbit’s diet. For rabbits less than 1 year old, pellets and hay should be available free choice, which means the rabbit is free to eat as much of each as it wishes. Fresh salad greens should be introduced slowly and work towards offering 1 cup per 2 kg of body weight daily. For animals over 1 year of age, grass hay that provides fiber should be available free choice and make up most of the diet. Pellets or chows can be offered in small amounts as treats <1 tsp per day. Giving pellets that have dried fruits and vegetables in the mix add unwanted calories and sugar to the diet. Over-feeding pellets to adult rabbits is a common cause of disease. Fresh salad greens should be offered twice daily, not exceeding 1 cup per 2 kg body weight. While rabbits can eat any type of hay, alfalfa hay is too rich and too high in calcium; other grass hays are preferred (timothy, botanical, Oat hay and orchard grass).
How often should I feed my rabbit?
Rabbits should be fed daily; hay should be available at all times. Fresh salad green should be offered twice daily.
Do I need to give my rabbit vitamins?
No, rabbits do not require extra vitamins.
Can I offer my rabbit treats?
Yes, but be sure to check with your veterinarian first about what treats he or she might recommend. While obesity is not a common problem with rabbits, they certainly can become overweight if fed an abundance of high calorie treats. Items such as vegetables can be offered twice daily as well. Fresh produce is best; make sure it's thoroughly washed prior to feeding. As with many pets, variety is the key; so offer small amounts of several items. Iceburg lettuce and celery are of little nutritional value. Anything green and leafy is loaded with vitamins and is a good supplement. Please see our Food Guide Pyramid for details
What about water?
Fresh water is offered 24 hours a day. If you offer your rabbit water in a bowl, make sure the rabbit does not spill it in its cage.
Many owners offer their rabbits wood sticks to chew, which helps control overgrown incisors; Untreated or pesticide-free, apple or pear branches work well.
This client information sheet is based on material written by Shawn Messonnier, DVM. © Copyright 2002 Lifelearn Inc.
Used with permission under license. 01/16/13.