What to Feed Your Rabbit

Jan 10, 2013 by

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Large, unlimited amounts of fresh hay should be offered daily. Young bunnies should be introduced to hay as soon as they can eat on their own. Mixed grass hay or Timothy hay is preferred because it is lower in calories and calcium than alfalfa.

Use a good quality, high fiber alfalfa or timothy based pellet as a small part of your rabbit’s diet.

Feed a minimum of 1 cup vegetables for each 4 lbs. of body weight. Select at least three types of vegetables daily. A variety is necessary in order to obtain the necessary nutrients, with one each day that contains Vitamin A, indicated by an *. Add one vegetable to the diet at a time. Eliminate if it causes soft stools or diarrhea.

Limit fruits to 1-2 tablespoons per 5 lbs. of body weight (none if dieting) from the list below of high fiber fruits. Sugary fruits such as bananas and grapes should be used only sparingly, as occasional treats. Bunnies have a sweet tooth and if left to their own devices will devour sugary foods to the exclusion of healthful ones.

Vegetables:

Alfalfa, radish & clover sprouts
Basil
Beet greens (tops)*
Bok choy
Broccoli (mostly leaves/stems)*
Brussels sprouts
Carrot & carrot tops*
Celery
Cilantro
Clover
Collard greens*
Dandelion greens and flowers (no pesticides)*
Endive*
Escarole
Green peppers
Kale (!#)*
Lettuce: Romaine, Red or Green leaf (no iceberg or light colored leaf)*
Mint
Mustard greens*
Parsley (!X)*
Pea pods (the flat edible kind)*
Peppermint leaves
Raddichio
Radish tops
Raspberry leaves
Spinach (!#)*
Watercress*
Wheat grass

(!)=Use sparingly or rotate. High in either oxalates (X) or goitrogens (#) and may be toxic in accumulated quantities over a period of time

 

Fruits:

Apple
Blueberries
Melon
Orange (including peel)
Papaya
Peach
Pear
Pineapple
Plums
Raspberries
Strawberries

 

Absolutely NO chocolate (poisonous!), cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, yogurt drops or other “human treats.” There is research to suggest these items may contribute to fatal cases of enterotoxemia, a toxic overgrowth of “bad” bacteria in the intestinal tract.

Please note that there is currently dispute within the scientific community regarding the levels of oxalates and goitrogens in kale.  Many of our rescuers have fed kale daily, combined with other veggies, with no ill effects.  Others have found that kale fed in large amounts on a daily basis may contribute to bladder sludge and other health issues.  HRS encourages you to make your own decisions on how you feed kale to your rabbit based on this information, and when solid, undisputed research is found we will update this and other articles relating to feeding kale. 

 

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