Feeding your Rabbit
Probably the most important thing you can do for your rabbit is ensure they have a good diet.
The main part of a rabbits diet should be forage – grasses and hays.
There should always be a plentiful supply of good hay, with dried grass also being a useful foodstuff. Rabbits naturally consume a very high fibre diet – without it their teeth become overgrown and their digestive system will suffer, potentially becoming obstructed.
Lots of fibrous food also provides something to occupy your rabbit’s time – a wild rabbit spends most of its day eating and tame rabbits on a pellet only diet will find themselves with little to do, potentially leading to behavioural problems.
Grass clippings should never be fed as they are potentially very dangerous to a rabbit’s health.
Care should be taken with fresh grass; if your rabbit is not used to fresh grass then it should be introduced gradually to avoid the risk of digestive upset.
Dried Rabbit Food
A dried rabbit food may be fed in addition to hay and grass to ensure a good supply of vitamins and minerals. Ideally a pellet type of diet (e.g. Burgess Excel for Rabbits) should be fed to prevent selective feeding.
With mixed, muesli-like diets a rabbit can choose the parts it eats, usually choosing the high protein, low fibre pieces that are not beneficial to a rabbit’s health.
Fresh Rabbit Food
Fresh foods can be provided once or twice daily, but sugary foods like fruit should be avoided.
Lettuce is also not ideal as it can cause stomach upsets and high calcium foods such as alfalfa should be avoided as they can cause kidney and bladder stones.
Older rabbits frequently suffer arthritis, and so a food such as VetPet that contains glucosamine should be considers as some patients find this highly beneficial.
Safe Green Rabbit Food
- Blackberry Leaves
- Brussel Sprouts
- Carrots (only occasionally as high in sugar – the leafy tops are OK)
- Salad Peppers
- Radish Tops
There are other foods on this list, so if you are unsure double check with your vet or vet nurse.
Poisonous Plants for Rabbits
- All plats that grow from bulbs
- Lily of the Valley
- Most evergreens
- Oak leaves
- Rhubarb Leaves
There are many other plants on this list – if in doubt be sure to keep you rabbit away from flowerbeds and potted plants, especially if you have treated them with pesticides or herbicides. You can always talk to a vet nurse for advice on your rabbit’s diet.