What Do Rabbits Like to Eat?Dr. Bobby Ortiz M.V.B
Just like any other pet, rabbits require a nutritious, balanced diet in order to stay happy and healthy. Rabbits are herbivores, which means they will only eat vegetables and must follow a plant-based diet filled with fresh veggies, fruit, hay and pellets. They are also foragers, so make sure your rabbit has access to fresh hay throughout the day.
In this blog post, I’ll explain the best foods to feed your beloved bunny, what foods to avoid feeding him, and how to introduce new foods into his diet.
Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.
Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.
He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.
He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!
A Rabbit’s Daily Diet
Rabbits are herbivores, which means they only eat plant-based foods. Throughout the day, make sure your rabbit is receiving:
- Fresh Hay
Hay makes up 80-90% of a rabbit’s diet, and it is important they have access to fresh hay during the day. Make sure to feed your rabbit grass hays such as timothy, orchard grass, and oat hay. You can feed your rabbit one type or a mix of different grass hays.
Hay helps aid digestion and is full of fibre, which is essential to stimulate motility of their gastrointestinal tract. Hay also promotes healthy teeth as it encourages chewing and wears down their continuously growing teeth, preventing dental disease.
- Leafy Greens
Greens and veggies are packed with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They also contain water which is essential to keep your bunny hydrated. A handful of leafy greens such as rocket, kale, cauliflower, carrot tops, or parsley, twice a day is a sure-fire way to a happy, healthy bunny rabbit.
- Pellet Foods
A small cup of high quality pellet food, once a day. Pellets make up a small fraction of a rabbit’s overall diet (other than occasional treats). Adult rabbits should only receive approximately 1 tablespoon of pellets for every pound that they weigh.
Rabbits can also have special-made treats like bananas, apples, and tomatoes. Don’t give too many fruits however, as it can head to urinary issues.
Always ensure there is plenty of fresh water for your rabbit to drink during the day, especially during warmer weather. During cold weather, make sure the water doesn’t freeze.
Foods to Avoid
A number of foods can disturb a rabbit’s digestion and be detrimental to their health. There are also a few foods that can cause serious damage and you should avoid feeding, such as:
- Iceberg Lettuce
Why Does My Rabbit Eat His Poop?
Rabbits are caecotrophs, meaning they eat a specific form of their faeces. This is completely normal and is extremely important for their gastrointestinal health.
This type of faeces is called a caecotroph, or “night faeces.” Rabbits’ digestive systems aren’t able to obtain all the nutrients from food when initially digested. Caecotrophs are a soft faeces that are rich in nutrients and is passed out of the body like normal, but then is re-ingested by the rabbit at a later time so that essential nutrients can be reabsorbed.
This is very normal behaviour and is important to your rabbit’s overall health.
Any Other Questions?
If you want to find out more information, you can call into your local Petmania store or message us on social media and a member of their team will be more than happy to help.
If you have any veterinary questions or need advice, make sure to contact your local vet and schedule an appointment to ensure that your pet is happy and healthy or gets the treatment they need.