FEEDING YOUR RABBIT
What do rabbits eat?
High quality rabbit chows, pellets, and good quality hay (such as alfalfa,
grass, or clover) can be used to make up a pet rabbit's diet. For rabbits less
than 1 year old, pellets and hay should be available ad libitum, which means
the rabbit is free to eat as much of each as it wishes. For animals over 1 year
of age, hay, which provides fiber, should be available free choice and make
up most of the diet. Pellets or chows can be offered at approximately 1/4 cup
per 5 pounds of body weight. Overfeeding pellets to adult rabbits is a common
cause of disease. While rabbits can eat any type of hay, alfalfa hay is
too rich to be the only source of hay; other grass hays are preferred.
How often should I feed my rabbit?
Rabbits should be fed daily; hay should be available at all times.
Do I need to give my rabbit vitamins?
No, rabbits do not require extra vitamins. To help control hair balls, your
veterinary surgeon may prescribe a cat laxative which can be given daily or
every few days.
Can I offer my rabbit treats?
Yes, but be sure to check with your veterinary surgeon 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 a lot of high calorie treats. Significant
problems occur if rabbits are offered sweet treats since their digestive system
was never designed to cope with such high calorie food. Items such as fruits
and vegetables should be offered daily. With fruits and vegetables, they should
be thought of as a supplement (think of fruits as a treat) and not as the sole
diet. Therefore, limit their amount to no more than 20% of the diet, with vegetables
making up most of this 20%. 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 (avoid just lettuce, apples, and carrots). Avoid lettuce
and celery as they are of little nutritional value. Anything green and leafy
is loaded with vitamins and is a good supplement.
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 his cage.
Chew toys should be available; anything suited for dogs, such as commercially
available dog-chew or well-boiled meat bones, are fine. Many owners offer their
rabbits wood sticks to chew, which helps control overgrown incisors.
to Rabbit Information Index