What Do Rabbits Eat?

Image of White Rabbit Eating

If you are thinking of getting a pet rabbit then you’ll need to know what rabbits eat. Like all other animals, rabbits too need a balanced diet and it is important that the foods they are fed provide all the essential nutrients and vitamins bunnies need.

Rabbits are herbivores and will never eat any meat so it is important that all the food that you give to them is suitable. They have lots of molar teeth for grinding and chewing, and a lack of canine teeth for ripping.

Grass – this should hopefully be an obvious food for them. Rabbits are grazing animals, in the wild they are likely to be eating for most of the day and part of the night, so it important that grass is supplied for them as often as possible. This can be done by you picking it and delivering it to the rabbit. Or if a rabbit goes in an outdoor grassy pen for exercise they can eat at the same time. Make sure that the grass your rabbits eat is free of pesticides or other chemicals and has not been fowled on. Grass provides an extremely good source of fibre which helps to keep rabbits bowels and digestive systems healthy.

If the grass is wet you shouldn’t feed it as it can give the rabbit diarrhea; nor should you feed grass that has been stored as it may have begun to heat up and this too can effect the rabbit. Instead give your rabbit some hay.

Hay – This is a good alternative to grass especially in the winter months as it is also a good source of fibre for your rabbit. You may find that some rabbits won’t eat a lot of it, but your rabbit should always have it available should he or she want a nibble. It can also be used as bedding and often rabbits will eat it at night away from the watchful eyes of their owners.

Dried Food (or Supplementary food) – There are many different types of dried food for rabbits made by many different companies. It is a good idea to feed your rabbit a little dried food every day (my black rex rabbit loves Russel Rabbit) as it contains many nutrients and helps your pet get a balanced diet. Be careful not to overfeed dried foods as many rabbits will simply keep eating even if there is loads of food there! Also it is ok to feed some types of guinea pig food to rabbits, but don’t feed guinea pigs rabbit food as it guinea pigs need extra vitamin C supplements in their food.

There are two main types of dried food that I have come across: the type that has many different flakes and pieces, and the all-in-one pellets. Lots of people think the pellets are better as the rabbit can’t leave certain pieces and possibly miss out on an essential nutrient. My rabbit, Velvet, refuses to eat the pellets, but will eat all of the mixed food type and not leave any – he is a bit of a fussy eater! Whichever type you feed your rabbit make sure it provides them with enough vitamins and minerals and that it was designed for them and not other animals.

Fruit & Vegetables – It is a good idea to feed your pet fruit and vegetables as this gives your rabbit a wider range of foods so it won’t become bored (after all most of us don’t eat exactly the same thing everyday do we?). Your rabbit is also likely to consume more vitamins too such as Vitamin C through carrots. Safe fruit and veg include: little pieces of apple (no seeds), carrots, cabbage, kale, broccoli, basil, spinach, parsley, cucumber, plums, blackberries, dill, green peppers and banana. There are quite a few others too. You may find that certain rabbits are allergic to or don’t like specific foods.
Avoid feeding lettuce as it often has laxative affects and can consequently cause diarrhea. I believe that Romaine lettuce is ok for rabbits in very small quantities but I would advice against feeding any at all.

lionhead rabbit image

Any fruit or vegetables given to your rabbit should be at room temperature and not have just come out of the fridge, never feed frozen foods to you rabbit either; both can give your pet tummy ache

Treats – Limit sugary treats to the minimum. A lot of sugar isn’t good for rabbits. Instead try feeding natural treats, such as your bunny’s favourite vegetable – Dandelion leaves and sunflower seeds are always a favourite.

Wholemeal toast – It is a good idea to feed half a slice or a whole slice (depending on the size of the rabbit) of wholemeal (brown) bread toast to your rabbit about once a month. It helps keep their teeth healthy and provides a good source of fibre. Don’t feed white bread toast though as the fibre has been taken out and it won’t do your rabbit any good.

Water – Fresh water should always be available to your rabbit. I favour water bottles over bowls because if the water is in a bottle the rabbit can not ‘mess’ in it. The water should be changed at least once every two days to ensure it is clean. On very hot days you may want to change the water twice a day as it can sometimes go off. Similarly the water bottle or bowl should also be cleaned as should the food bowl.

Lop Rabbit Image

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August 26, 2010 · Maddia (Admin) · One Comment
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Rabbit Care, Rabbit Information

One Response

  1. Kayce Subert - November 26, 2010

    Love your site man keep up the good work