The right diet keeps rabbits healthy, and supports healthy teeth and digestive systems. Rabbits are sensitive to what they eat, so it’s important that you’re clued up on how to give them the nutrients they need.
As natural grazers, rabbits rely on a diet primarily comprised of hay and grass. As well as supplementing their natural behaviour hay, whether dried or fresh, also provides rabbits with plenty of vitamins and helps to wear down their constantly growing teeth.
Without enough hay, rabbits can develop spurs on their teeth, which will affect their gums, and can also cause them to develop stomach problems. As a guide, you should aim for hay and grass to make up about 80% of your rabbit’s diet.
The quality of hay and grass also make a huge difference to a rabbit’s diet. Go for high quality hay type like Timothy, and avoid giving rabbits grass cuttings.
Eating all of that hay is thirsty work! To ease digestion, provide your rabbit with plenty of water that is easy to access. Drinking water helps rabbits to flush out any excess calcium that may build up and cause urinary and bladder problems. Keep water topped up regularly and keep an eye out in winter as water can freeze over.
We recommend using a water bowl over a bottle - water bottles clog up easily and can also harbour nasty bacteria.
Adding pellets to a rabbit’s diet can help to supplement vitamins and minerals to ensure a well rounded diet. Pellets should make up a small amount of the diet - an eggcup per rabbit is the perfect amount.
Always make sure you feed rabbits pellets over muesli. Muesli leads to selective feeding, poor dental health and they lack the nutrients that your rabbit needs.
Fibre Sticks are another great addition to your rabbit’s food. Extra probiotic fibre found in fibre sticks helps to prevent GI stasis, a deadly type of constipation that can slow down and stop the digestive system from working.
A handful of fresh herbs a day per rabbit brings plenty of nutrients and provides bunnies with a little treat. But be careful! There are plenty of vegetables that rabbits need to avoid, including onions, lettuce and rhubarb.
For more information on what greens are good for your rabbits, visit the Rabbit Welfare Association here.