merged from https://rabbit.org/care/food-diet/
What kind of food is best for rabbits? Rabbits need a balanced diet of hay, fresh greens, a little fruit, and a few pellets.
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. Introduce gradually and 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.
Alfalfa, radish & clover sprouts
Beet greens (tops)*
Broccoli (mostly leaves/stems)*
Carrot & carrot tops*
Dandelion greens and flowers (no pesticides)*
Lettuce: Romaine, Red or Green leaf (no iceberg or light colored leaf)*
Pea pods (the flat edible kind)*
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.
Orange (including peel)
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.
What are the basics of a good house rabbit diet?
A rabbit’s diet should be made up of good quality pellets, fresh hay (timothy, other grass hays, or oat hay), water and fresh vegetables. Anything beyond that is a “treat” and should be given in limited quantities.
What makes a good pellet?
Pellets should be fresh, and should be relatively high in fiber (18% minimum fiber). Do not purchase more than 6 weeks worth of feed at a time, as it will become spoiled. Pellets should make up less of a rabbit’s diet as he or she grows older, and hay should be available 24 hours a day. Alfalfa pellets are fine for younger rabbits but timothy pellets are preferred for older rabbits.
What kinds of veggies should I feed my rabbit?
When shopping for vegetables, look for a selection of different veggies–look for both dark leafy veggies. Stay away from beans and rhubarb. Here’s a suggested veggie list.
Is feeding hay important?
Hay is essential to a rabbit’s good health, providing roughage which reduces the danger of hairballs and other blockages. Find out where to buy hay in the united states here.
What quantities of food should I feed babies and “teenagers”?
- Birth to 3 weeks–mother’s milk (tips for orphan feeding)
- 3 to 4 weeks–mother’s milk, nibbles of alfalfa and pellets
- 4 to 7 weeks–mother’s milk, access to alfalfa and pellets
- 7 weeks to 7 months–unlimited pellets, unlimited hay (plus see 12 weeks below)
- 12 weeks–introduce vegetables (one at a time, quantities under 1/2 oz.)
What quantities of food should I feed young adults? (7 months to 1 year)
- introduce timothy hay, grass hay, oat hay, and other hays; decrease alfalfa
- decrease pellets to 1/2 cup per 6 lbs. body weight
- increase daily vegetables gradually; make sure your rabbit can tolerate
- fruit daily ration no more than 1 oz. to 2 oz. per 6 lbs. body weight (because of calories)
What quantities of food should I feed mature adults? (1 to 5 years)
- Unlimited timothy, grass hay, oat hay
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup pellets per 6 lbs. body weight (depending on metabolism and/or proportionate to veggies)
- Minimum 2 cups chopped vegetables per 6 lbs. body weight; always introduce vegetables and greens slowly to make sure your rabbit can tolerate
- fruit daily ration no more than 2 oz. (2 Tbs) per 6 lbs. body weight.
What quantities of food should I feed senior rabbits? (Over 6 years)
- If sufficient weight is maintained, continue adult diet
- Frail, older rabbits may need unrestricted pellets to keep weight up. Alfalfa can be given to underweight rabbits, only if calcium levels are normal. Annual blood workups are highly recommended for geriatric rabbits.
If I feed fewer pellets, how do I compensate?
When you feed a lower quantity (or no) of pellets, you must replace the nutritional value without the calories, which is done by increasing the vegetables. Also, a variety of hay must be encouraged all day long, we do this by offering fresh hay a couple of times a day.
Primary Author(s): Marinell Harriman
Sources: HRH, various articles from the HRJ, RHN
Updated 3/8/2022 with additional links
More rabbit food information:
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