Love Your Bunny by Mastering Rabbit Food(Complete Guide)
Choosing the right rabbit food is essential to your rabbits well being. You’ve come to the definitive source to learn all about rabbit nutrition and the changes rabbits go through at each stage of their lives. According the the RSPCA, only 8% of Rabbit owners know what to feed their furry family members. I aim to change that.
Rabbits, being herbivores (plant-eaters) by nature, thrive in a rich plant-based environment. Places like fields, rolling grassy hills, bountiful forests or lush mountains home the vast majority of wild rabbits. In the wild, they feed mostly on grass and leafy plants. They also eat soft tree barks and twigs, but in smaller quantities. Their wild relatives natural habitat provides them with the freshest options for their food.
The rabbits we keep as pets have been separated from their distant wild cousins by hundreds if not thousands of generations. As a result, particular care must be given to our furry family members. While a lot of their diet is similar to their wild brethren, they have a bit more specific needs. We are fortunate to have a plethora of options to maximize nutritional efficiency. For example there are a number of nutritious pellets available on the market, as well as prepackaged hays and approved treats. Using these we can rest assured we’re giving out beloved buns the best diet we can possibly provide.
Alfalfa Hay Recommendation (clickable)Standlee Premium Western Forage Alfalfa Hay
Quality should not be compromised when considering rabbit food. The freshness of their food adds to the nutrients and the quality of those nutrients they get. Much like humans, variety must also be considered. A wide variety of foods adds to both rabbits quality of life, gut health, development, and longevity.
As a basic rule, grass hay must be stored and offered in almost unlimited quantities. Though the type of grass changes from alfalfa to timothy hay as a rabbit becomes an adult. While grazing is still the best way to feed, the lack of a proper timothy hay or grass garden should not hinder you from welcoming a rabbit into home. Pellets were developed to serve as a partner or total replacement to grass hay. But unless the pellets are 100% timothy hay, it is not advisable to feed them an all-pellet diet for an extended period of time.
While young rabbits should be eating alfalfa, adults should have timothy hay as their staple food. Optimally, a diet composed of grass hay, leafy greens, vegetables and small quantities of fruit is still your best bet. Also make sure that there is always sufficient water all the time. It is also possible to get pelleted hay, but it’s still recommended to feed this in conjunction with fresh hay and vegetables.
You should also check out my new complete guide to rabbit feeder and water bottle selection here.
Pellets are a typical staple for most pet rabbits. Basically, rabbit food pellets are developed as a convenient source of nutrients needed by rabbits. These are the best way to ensure optimal rabbit health, with some caveats.
Pellets are usually comprised of a staple hay (alfalfa for baby-teenage rabbits and timothy hay for older rabbits), and have additional vitamins added to ensure optimal rabbit health. There are several precautions that should be exercised when choosing rabbit pellets. Often time owners believe rabbits eat the same pellets their entire lives, which is simply not the case.
Alfalfa Pellets and hay have the best balance of nutrients for rapidly growing bunnies, but can cause digestive and other health problems in adult (1 year+) rabbits.
Timothy Hay is the only realistic choice for adult rabbits. It should be given free-choice for the duration of the adult rabbits life – if giving pellets and controlling their diet, a minimum of 1/2 cup per 6lbs(2.72kg) body weight should be given per day. If 100% timothy hay pellets are provided, free choice is fine too.
Avoid These Pellets:
Some pellets contain nuts, seeds, fruit or other additives. These foods should be avoided as they contain unnecessary sugars, starches and calories that can cause weight gain and health issues.
Also Alfalfa based pellets are suitable for young rabbits, but no good for adult rabbits as they contain the incorrect balance of carbohydrates and proteins. These will also cause health and weight issues.
Young Rabbit Pellets(3-4 Weeks – 7 months):
Alfalfa Pellet Recommendation (clickable)Ox Bow Bunny Essentials Young Rabbit Food
If your rabbit is relatively young, it’s key to make sure they are receiving the proper nutrition it takes for them to grow up healthy and strong. The optimal type of hay to achieve this is Alfalfa.
Alfalfa is higher in protein, sugars and calcium and low in fiber. This makes it perfect for developing muscle and bone structure.
At around 3-4 weeks you can start introducing baby rabbits to alfalfa hay, and they will gradually switch to this as they wean off of their mothers milk.
By about 2 months, baby rabbits should be eating purely alfalfa hay or pellets, and this diet will last until about 7 months of age. Key thing to remember here its to avoid treats, veges and fruit – as tempting as it may be. Doing so will guarantee proper and healthy development that will last them for the rest of their life.
We use Ox Bow bunny essentials Young Rabbit feed of our kits when they’re growing, its a complete alfalfa hay solution using premium, condensed alfalfa hay, producing ample calcium and protein supporting young rabbit growth.
Adult Rabbit Pellets(7 months-1 year+):
Adult Pellet Recommendation (clickable)Kaytee Timothy Complete Rabbit Food
Instead you should opt for quality Timothy Hay Based Pellets. These provide everything you rabbit needs to stay healthy, along with a good dosage of daily fresh vegetables (carrots are bad for rabbits). Personally we use Kaytee’s Timothy Complete Rabbit food.
Key thing to remember here is that most(but not all) rabbits should be given these as free choice – they’ll eat as much as they feel is necessary. Some greedier rabbits can overdo it though. In these instances the correct amount to give your rabbit is 1/2 cup per 6lbs(2.72kg) body weight.
When your rabbit hits 7 months, you’ll want to introduce these pellets slowly, start with 10% timothy and 90% alfalfa and change the balnce by 5% every 3-4 days until your rabbit is entirely on timothy hay. This will prevent any digestive problems that can suddenly arise from a rapid dietary shift.
It is also an economical alternative to sustain the nutritional requirements needed to raise healthy domesticated rabbits. Rabbit pellets are essential in any breeder’s, rabbit owner’s, and even rabbit trainer’s (Yes, they exist!) disposal. It promotes a quick and easy way to attain optimum growth and weight gain for rabbits. But with everything, moderation is the key in order to reap its real benefits.
Hay is the ideal food source for rabbits. While this can come in pellet form, you can also buy it in bales. The only two hays you should look at are Timothy Hay and Alfalfa Hay.
Hay for Rabbit Food typically comes in manageable bales which is great as won’t get moldy or old before your rabbit is done with it. If you’re buying large bales it will work out very economical but if you only have one or two rabbits, it will often go moldy before you have a chance to use it all – leading to a lot of waste. If left sitting around, you should store it on a cool, dry place with air flow to prevent molds or composting from setting in. Simply pull enough off to fill a hay manger and set the rest of the bale aside. Your rabbit is going to be a bit picky with what hay they prefer and will leave what they don’t want. Replace the hay in this manger every 2-3 days. This way your bun will always be able to choose their preferred hay.
Alfalfa hay is the only hay suitable for rabbits under 7 months of age. Whether feeding hay in pallets or in is grassy form this hay has sufficient protein and calcium to ensure proper development in all breeds of rabbits, no matter thesize or breed.
Timothy Hay is the hay adult rabbits should have 24hr access to for their entire adult life. Higher in fiber and lower in protein, carbs and calcium than alfalfa hay, Timothy hay severs as the staple backbone of any adult rabbits diet.
Alfalfa Hay Recommendation (clickable)Standlee Premium Western Forage Alfalfa Hay
Timothy Hay Recommendation (clickable)Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass
Vegetables are a key part of rabbit food variety. However, they’re often misunderstood and are over fed. A variety of fresh vegetables should make up around 50% of your rabbits diet – they’re going to have free choice of hay and/or pellets, so they will eat as much vegetables as they feel necessary. This is why it’s important to make sure you feed the right kinds of vegetables. – incorrect vegetables can lead to over eating or nutritional imbalances.
Interesting fact: rabbits shouldn’t actually eat carrots, or any root vegetable for that matter. Sorry Bugs Bunny! This iconic figure has led to a common misconception that rabbits prefer or can even solely eat carrots. This is simply not the case. Carrots are high in starches that can cause plaque and decay on their teeth, not to mention wreak havoc on their little tummies. According to the RSPCA, 11% of rabbits have tooth decay from over eating these orange treats.
To begin, start introducing one vegetable at a time. See if your rabbit likes the vegetable, and if their behavior changes at all. If they hide away or are lethargic, then they may have an upset tummy from the introduction of a new food. Also make sure you check their stool. If they’re poop remain as small pellets despite the introduction of a new food, they will be ok to eat it moving forward.
I’ve made a list of the BestRabbitHutch Approved Vegetables. These are the ones you should be aiming to feed your bun.
Don’t over do these, too much of a good thing can hurt our furry friends.
High Vitamin A Veges
Feed one to two of these to an adult and adjusted bunny per day.
Fruit is a great treat for an adult rabbit. Fed in small quantities is is a great addition to a complete diet.
As we all know, fruit is high in sugar, and sugar isn’t the best thing for you. Yes fruit is good and a lof of fruit in high in fiber which is key for an adult rabbtis diet, but too much of a good thing can lead to problems. This is no exception in rabbits either.
Ideally, fruit shouldn’t exceed more than a 2 oz / 2 tablespoon serving in an adult rabbit per day.
These fruits make an awesome and tasty addition to your rabbits diet.
The other other addition to rabbits diets. We all love to show our pets affection by giving them some delicious treats. But it’s important to note what kinds of food can be considered treats.
Root vegetables are one example of a treat class food. Fruit makes the ideal treat anda small amount shoudl be given daily. Small carrot pieces could also considered as a treat, though should be given far less often that ‘daily’.
As a safe alternative, there are a few options on the market for treats made specifically for rabbits, these are often baked using hay and a tasy additive. There are your best bet when it comes to treating you bun with something out of the ordinary.
All of these treats should be given to adult rabbits only, and only a small amount at first to both allow their tummy bacteria to adapt and to make sure they don’t get sick from them. All rabbits are different and caution should be used whenever introducing something new.
A Furry fan favorite, these tasty treats are made of mostly timothy hay with apple baked in. In biscuit form they make it easy to ensure your bunny doesn’t over-indulge. Great value for money too with 4oz per bag.
They aid in dental health as well, so they satisfy your rabbits desire to chew.
We’ve never had a problem with these giving our rabbits upset tummies, so they make a great treat for your rabbits.
These treats promote good gut heath as well as provide a unique tasting treat for your rabbit.
They contain wild berries and yogurt to introduce positive bacteria to aid in digestion. Valuable lecithin and natural whey are baked in to give your rabbits a protein boost. All this and no artificial colors or flavors are added.
Don’t over feed these treats, as tempting as it may be as too many can lead to runny stool.
Triple baked to crunch perfection, these treat bars are a great addition to rabbit care arsenal. Using a combination of natural wood, wild berries and whole grains, these treats are an ambrosia to your rabbits chewing habits as well as their drive for tasty treats!
Vitakraft doubled down by adding fortified vitamins to promote rabbit health and general wellbeing. by selecting the highest quality grains and fruits.
They come with a clip holder to attach them t the cage too, so they can be kept up out of the danger zone of the hutch floor.
Just like us, rabbits need five things to live a happy & healthy life. The need water, food, shelter, security and company. Whilst it’s imperative you choose the right rabbit hutch protect your rabbits and give them adequate company(whether yours’ or another rabbits), and that you make sure you’re feeding the right hay at the right stage of life, two things that are often overlooked are the rabbit feeder and rabbit water bottle. Too frequently are times our furry friends are left with devices that don’t really suit their needs, or worse still, leave then with fermenting or contaminated necessities, which in turn lead to illness and even death.
Needless to say, it’s your responsibility as their provider and protector to make sure you choose the right fit for your rabbit’s needs and habits. So I’ve taken the time to list and review the top items I personally recommend among not only rabbit feeders, but rabbit water devices too.
Not only have I done this but I’ve explained WHY these are the best and what factors to consider when making a purchasing decision.
Below is a quick jump to get to when you want to go specifically on the page(if you’re in a rush). I really do recommend you read through everythignbefore making your selection though.(I put a lot of work into this one!)
The biggest mistake people make with rabbits, besides feed selection, is what rabbit feeder to provide. There are a tonne of selections on amazon. Unfortunately, all of them have their own agenda when it comes to selling you on them – understandably so. What this means is that you aren’t getting transparency when making your selection based off of this information. So, what do you need to know?
Important factors include wastage, rabbits defecating in their feeders, volume held, feed types and material used. You may also be surprised to know that it pays to have 2 kinds of feeders for most folks – a hay feeder and a pellet feeder.
Firstly, wood is a terrible material to hold any food. It can harbor parasites, harmful fungi and bacteria, and chemicals used in its treatment or even just in the wood itself can be carcinogenic or immediately harmful to your beloved bun. Plastic is another no-no. Rabbits love to chew on things, and plastic is not something we find rabbits trimming their teeth on in nature. It isn’t digestible and can lead to major digestive problems.
Metal is the top contender for rabbit feeder material, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night recommending anything else. It’s stable, durable and safe. Making the correct choice in a quality feed will last a life time. I still have feeders I bought when we first got our rabbits, and don’t see myself replacing them any time soon. I suppose ceramic would be ok too, but open bowls are another big X in ny serious rabbit owner books.
Shape and Height
I’m not kidding when I say open rabbit bowls should be out-right banned. Rabbits, as clever as they are, make some silly mistakes. One of these is pooing where they eat. Yes, it seems silly, but rabbits will pee and poo in the feed dishes – intentionally or not. Needless to say, this can lead to spreading of illness and leave you with a sick bun. Thus it’s key you have a hutch mount feeder thats at a height your rabbit can reach, but not so low that they can climb into in.
Measure from the ground to your rabbits chin(at rest), this is the height the top rim of the feeder should be. If you’ve a breeding pen, then this should be lower (obviously). But keep a close eye that the mommy bunny doesn’t make the mistake of mixing feed pellets with poo pellets!
2 Feeder Types
Yes, its key you have 2 types of feeders, one for Hay and one for Pellets. While you have canhay on the floor of your hutch, rabbits will often pee in it then forgetting they’ve done this, eat it. Over time this can give bunnies upset tummies, and over even longer, can lead to illness. Thus having a hay feeder makes a huge difference in securing your rabbits health. As you’ll know from reading our essential guide to rabbit nutrition, hay is a key part of a rabbits diet that you really shouldn’t skip if you want your rabbit to live along and happy life.
So knowing all of the above, what rabbit feeder should you buy to take the best care of your furry friend? Below I’ve listed the best among all rabbit feeders. The only exception I’ve made is the automated rabbit feeder from DecoStain, yes it’s plastic, but its automated, and if you’re going away, its much better that your rabbit have access to controlled release of food(in a plastic dish) than starve to death in your absence. I’d rather recommend you found a rabbit sitter, but this isn’t always a reality for folks.
This is what I use. This Rabbit Feeder from Little Giant is made of galvanized sheet metal.
These Feeders are folded into the perfect shape to be mounted through the wall of your rabbit hutch using built in metal hooks than pull them tight against the cage. This means your rabbit won’t be nibbling on them and getting upset tummies, nor will they be pulling them out or down.
Pet Lodge Rabbit Feeders are easy to fill from the outside of the hutch, and have a lid to prevent pests and vermin from accessing the feed. Another thing of note is that these rabbit feeders have a mesh bottom, which screens out all the dust and crumbs that tend to collect in most other feeders.
I’ve had mine since 2006 and they’ve little sign of wear, with only a couple of spots of rust that(being as pedantic as I am) I have sanded back and coated with a strong galvanizing enamel paint. Funnily enough these marks are in the spots I’ve dropped them and not from the rabbit’s themselves. They come in 2 sizes, 5″ and 7″. The 7″ rabbit feeders are more suitable for larger breeds, or weaning litters, whereas the 5″ are better for smaller buns.
Whether you are setting up a commercial rabbitry, have cages, or plain hutches, these are the go-to feeders of any serious rabbit enthusiast. They’re really affordable too, so you an pick a few up and it won’t break the bank.
Another necessity, this all wire rabbit hay feeder from Ware is durable and mounts internally onto hutch cage walls. Made of welded galvanized wire with a powder coat finish, these rabbit hay feeders are chew-proof. Having no sharp points and hooks designed to point outward from the cage(as it’s mounted internally), this design prevents injury to your rabbit.
They’re incredibly sanitary, with hooks allowing you to mount the hay rabbit feeder well off of the hutch floor. The proximity between the wires stops excess hay from being pulled out and onto the floor making them efficient and cost-saving. These really are the ideal design for rabbit wire feeders – I’m no engineer but it’s hard to see any improvements on this simple, eloquent rabbit hay feeder.
Well I suppose you could count the free included salt lick as an improvement to the deal, it makes it all the much sweeter(or saltier!)
This is the exception to my all-metal rule. And there’s only really one exception you should use it in – your absence. We’re all busy, have to go away, and other major project we’re working on(like us at the homestead). And often time our kids, friends, family and neighbors can’t step in (through no fault of their own) to help feed our furry family members. Technology has once again saved the day with this automatic rabbit feeder from DecoStain.
Made with a durable ABS Plastic, this feeder is chew resistant, but not chew proof. It also lack some of the other key qualities that make a specific rabbit feeder(mesh base, off the ground. This is should not replace either of the feeders mentioned above.
This automatic pet feeder is fully flexible with programmable portion sizes, meaning you can se tit to feed multiple rabbits, or even larger pets such as cats. You can also program in multiple feedings per day, which is great for greedy little buns.
You can also program in 8 second voice recordings as a gentle reminder/conditioner for your furry friends. It runs off of 3 D batteries as well as plug-in power. BUT if you’re putting this in a hutch DO NOT by any means plug it in. The wire is too tempting for a rabbit not to chew through. They will chew through it, and it will harm and may even kill them. Please, please just run this off of batteries when using for rabbits an other small animals.
DecoStain’s automatic pet feeder also has a 5 Liter hopper(that’s 1.32 Gallons in freedom units). This will give you up to 40 days of liberty per feeder. Not to say you should neglect your pets, just that this will help you out when life gets in the way. We have a few on hand, just in case we need them. I’m not knocking the design or build, it’s incredibly high quality, just that the material isn’t ideal for rabbits, but if you need hte automation for any reason, these would be my top pick.
Needless to say, all life on our precious planet needs water, and rabbits are no exception. Rabbits need fresh, clean water available at all times – no exceptions.
In order to maintain it’s cleanliness and freshness, water needs to be supplied in appropriate delivery mechanisms. I don’t like to say water bottle all the time, because there are alternatives. You could get a water nozzle, these are used in commercial operations, Nozzles are hooked up-to a central supply(like your tap/tank) and provide a consistent supply, without having to fill dozens or even hundreds of separate supplies. Awesome and incredibly time saving, but maybe not terribly practical for small operations or pets.
Another Alternative is a water trough/bowl. Bowls should never be used – not ever. They’re easily tipped, spilling water everywhere. If you’re using a dropping catch-tray, water+poop = bad smell and bad health. Not only that, even if they don’t tip, rabbits can jump into them, leaving their fur wet. This can breed bacteria that cause rashes or encourage other parasites to fester. Another reason not to is rabbits can defacate in them, then drink the water anyway. And ano…well, I needn’t go on! Just avoid water bowls at all costs.
So what can you use? There are some key factors so consider which I’ve outlines below.
Rabbit Water bottles should be BPA Free. BPA(Bisphenol A) is a harmful toxin found in a lot of plastics and known to leach into water. It mimics estrogen in mammals bodies causing all sorts of hormonal and behavioral issues, not to mention health issues that can also spring from its chronic consumption and absorption. And that goes for people too. Buy BPA free water bottles for yourself and your family too!
While the water containment can be plastic, its important that the delivery is metal, and drip-free. Metal to prevent chewing and drip free to prevent loss of water and stop water piling up where it shouldn’t be.
While you can’t leave water stagnant for too long, if your water bottle is undersized, you’ll be either forever refilling, or your bun will be in danger of dehydration.
Conversely if the water bottle is too large and you aren’t refilling it, algae, and other contaminants can grow inside the water bottle(if you don’t have chlorine or chloramine in your water). Thus its important you change your rabbits water frequently. Every day ideally, but a minimum of once every 3.
The only real way around this is using a water nipple system(see below).
So knowing all this, what should you pick? Well to me, there are only a couple of contenders for consideration. Read on to find out.
These water bottles are great. Unlike other water bottles, the nozzle is ALL metal coupled with a wire mounting system means absolutely NO plastic inside the cage. It’s hard to find this anywhere else.
Another great feature is how large they are. Available in 64 and 128 oz bottles, you can rest assured you rabbit will remain well watered. These bottles are BPA free and UV stable. Just remember not to leave all that water sitting stagnant too long.
You probably can’t get much better than this – if you have fresh clean water.
A little more complicated to set up that just popping a water bottle onto the outside of the hutch, you’ll need at a minimum, the following(links provided):
Nipples (also comes with tees)
Tap adapter (you’re on your own on this, sorry)
These nipples are made of all stainless steel making them chew proof as well as rust proof. They have springs with shut the when the rabbit is done drinking preventing drips.
The added bonus to using nipples is that if you’re going away, they will provided constant clean water.
Click here to grab some nipples of your own(wow that sounds silly)
If you live in a place where water freezes over in winter and your rabbits aren’t in a cosy spot, you’re going to need to prevent their water from freezing over.
The only real way to do this reliably is by using a quality heated rabbit water bottle like this one from Farm Innovators.
This 32-oz rabbit water bottle uses a thermostat to only switch on when needed, keeping your rabbits water defrosted but not hot. It plugs straight into mains power so you don’t have to worry about batteries, and mounts to the outside, so your bun won’t be chewing up leads either. All thsi and it only uses a 20 watt element,s o it wont break the bank(battery or fiscal).
Using a brass spring valve, your rabbit wont have any access to the BPA free plastic. Because of this spring valve, you can also fill form the top making it mega-convenient.
If you live in anywhere it snows, you definitely need this water bottle.
All creatures young and old have different requirements based on how old they are. Adult Rabbits don’t require the same high levels of protein and calcium that younger rabbits do, and thus the type of hay their diet is based on should change gradually and accordingly.
Use the table below for a quick guide on what to feed and when, or jump to the age group using the navigation bar above for a full explanation of each age brackets requirement for food intake.
Feeding by Age
|Age||Type of Feed||Quantity||Treats allowed|
|Birth-3 Weeks||Mother's Milk||Free Choice||No|
|3-4 Weeks||Mothers Milk, Small amounts of alfalfa hay or pellets||Free Choice||No|
|4-7 Weeks||Mother's Milk, Free choice Alfalfa hay or pellets||Free Choice||No|
|7 Weeks - 7 Months||Free-choice Alfalfa Pellets and Hay||Free Choice||Introduce Vegetables *one at a time at 12 Weeks (Under 1/2 oz|
|7 Months- 1 Year||Introduce Timothy Hay and Other Hays, decrease Alfalfa, daily vegetables||1/2 cup per 6lbs(2.72kg) body weight. Increase Vegetables Gradually.||2 oz. max daily ration of fruit per 6lbs(2.72kg) of body weight.|
|1 - 5 Years||Timothy and pellets, Vegetables, Fresh Hays||1/4 to 1/2 Cup Pellets and 2 cups Vegetables per 6lbs(2.72kg) Body-weight, depending on metabolism and||2 oz. max daily ration of fruit per 6lbs(2.72kg) of body weight.|
|Over 6 Years||Continue Adult diet.||If weight is not maintained, switch to freechoice pellets.||Alfalfa to under weight rabbits, 2 oz. max daily ration of fruit per 6lbs(2.72kg) of body weight.|
Like humans, mothers milk is the best food for newly born baby rabbits. It contains the highest form of nutrients and antibodies the rabbits need to resist diseases. This is part of the natural process of development for all mammals. Whales and Dolphins do the same, and even primitive mammals like monotremes and marsupials require their mothers milk in early stages of development.
Around three to four weeks, slowly introduce alfalfa hay and/or pellets as additional supplement to the milk of the rabbit. Your baby rabbits will start to nibble on these when they’re ready. Leave the hay in a hay feeder at different times during the day and monitor them. The mother shouldso they have free choice of when to eat – they’ll know what’s best for them
If you weren’t aware, alfalfa is a kind of plant that is cultivated for grazing and hay – its high in both protein and carbohydrates so is great for young rabbits growth. When feeding hay to weanlings, make sure to cut it into smaller portions and, if they need it, assist in feeding until they get the hang of it.
You should have foods in appropriate feeders, but make sure all feeders are low enough so baby rabbits won’t have a hard time reaching it.
Alfalfa Pellet Recommendation (clickable)Ox Bow Bunny Essentials Young Rabbit Food
By eight weeks, up to seven months, you can entitle your now young bunnies to unlimited access to alfalfa hay and/or pellets.
When they reach three months, start introducing vegetables in their diet. It”s best not to give them access to all vegetables at once. Instead try introducing one at a time and observing their behavior, response and reaction to the food. Watch them for about a day afterwards and make sure they aren’t having any problems with their poop. If all is normal then you can try a different vegetable. Do this over a period of time, introducing one vegetable at a time. Allow them to enjoy the new experience while also allowing their gut bacteria to develop(so they won’t get upset tummies!).
It really pays to give them a variety of textures, colors and taste to enjoy. Doing this now is a great way to bond and socialize with your bunny. In addition, introducing one type at a time will make it easy to identify the causes of any digestion problems that may arise with particular foods.
Don’t give them veges free choice just yet though. It’s still key to give them alfalfa pellets or hay as free choice.
Its important to remember that in the wild, rabbits don’t really eat root vegetables. So roots like like carrots and parsnips are not really very healthy. Domestic rabbits can have very sensitive tummies, so stick to whats included on this page.
Adult Pellet Recommendation (clickable)Kaytee Timothy Complete Rabbit Food
Rabbit food preferences begin to change once your bunny reaches around seven months of age. These changes will occur gradually until they’re about one. They’re now officially an adult (but they won’t be moving out of home!).
One of the exciting new changes to for adult rabbit diets is that they can now enjoy fruit as a tasty treat! But alas, since fruits are high in sugar and calories, you’ll have to make sure you limit their intake. Remember everything in moderation applies for bunnies too, but don’t let that keep them from enjoying this addition to their growing choices.
It’s now important that you start reducing the amount of alfalfa consumption and move towards timothy hay. Alfalfa is high in sugars that can cause all sorts of health and weight issues in adult rabbits. Alfalfa is perfect for growing pups but too rich for adult buns.
Take note of the healthy weight requirement of rabbits based on age to assist in observing whether you give enough, or more than enough food, then adjust accordingly. At this point, also limit their bunny pellets intake as these contain many calories that can make your rabbit overweight. To compensate, increase the intake of grass hay and vegetables. You can also introduce other types of hay such as oat hay and timothy. Hay makes a great source of nutrients that aid in proper digestion, thus should be offered continuously.
The best way to achieve a balanced diet is through using an readily available pelletized feed, such as the Timothy Complete Rabbit Food from Kaytee. With added minerals and nutrients, this is a great staple, backbone rabbit food for your rabbit’s diet. Note that you’ll still need hay as well, as raw hay and pelletized hay are treated differently. Your bun is more likely to eat too many pellets leading to weight gain but take their time on straight hay.
The best part is that Kaytee’s Timothy Complete Rabbit food is alfalfa free, so you know you aren’t feeding your furry friend excess sugar and can control their intake of fruit.
Mature Rabbit Treat Recommendation (clickable)Kaytee Timothy Baked Apple Biscuits
Rabbit gain more resilience in their diet with age. What may have hurt little rabbit tummies in their first few months will now be regular staples. But all good things must come to an end. As your rabbit grows up, it’s metabolism begins to slow too(much like my husbands!).
You can continue to give all day access to hay/pallets but start observing if any fruit starts to give them any health issues. besure to check on their weight to see if they’re gaining or losing any and adjust their food accordingly. Timothy hay is still the preference here.
Limiting treats will be another key element to weigh management. Try to cut down to only the occasional treat as they approach 5 years of age. This doesn’t mean to deprive you bun of all treat, but instead of the one every day or two, start thinking along the lines of 1-2 per week. Start focusing more on high fiber treats such as baked hay biscuits to satiate your rabbits desires for delicious treats.
It might feel a little tyrannical but your rabbit will thank you for it as they stay in good health throughout their adult life.
Now that your rabbits reach their senior years (over six years), the aim is to maintain a healthy weight as possible to prolong their lifespan. Just continue with their adult diet and adjust accordingly should certain problems arise. At this age, rabbits are more susceptible to other diseases which are mostly digestive in nature. You should extend extra care for old rabbits by strict observation of their diet. As in everything, balance is the key. If your senior rabbit begins losing weight, be sure to give them unlimited pellets. Conversely, if they’re gaining weight, resrict their diet as you would at any other age.
Begin to cut right down on the treats, even right down to one per week if necessary. Moderation,as always, is the key
|Group||Daily Nutritional Requirements|
|Dry Does, Herd Bucks and Developing Young||12-15% Protein
|Pregnant Does and Does with Litters||16% Protein
Rabbit Food, much like people food is best when it is fresh and well managed. Just like us human, rabbits feel, look and act happier when their food is top notch and well balanced.
Every stage of your rabbits life is different and you should pay attention to their age and diet requirements, failing to do this can prove harmful to you rabbits growth and longevity.
A well managed diet of Hay(Pallet or loose form), Vegetables and a little fruit is all it takes to ensure a happy, healthy bunny. Be sure to limit treat intake and only use approved rabbit only treats. Carrots are not an ideal food source and should only really be treated as occasional snacks in very small quantities.
I hope you found this helpful and informative. please let me know if the comments if you are facing any issues and I’ll be sure to drop in and help you out.
Thanks for reading!
Tags: Bunny Feed, Bunny Food, Bunny Pellets, Feed, Rabbit Feed, Rabbit Food, Rabbit Nutrition, Rabbit Pellets