Do you know where you’re up to with your rabbit diet?
Armed with a comprehensive food list, you know precisely what foods you pet bunny is allowed to eat.
But that shouldn’t be the end of your rabbit diet considerations.
Rabbits need a good balance of foods daily to keep them healthy.
In this article, I’m going to run through exactly what you need to do to ensure that your rabbit is maintaining a healthy diet.
Rabbit Diet: The Basics
Your pet bunny should be fed twice a day, once in the morning and once again in the evening.
As a rule, their Rabbit Diet should consist of 3 main things:
- Hay is the most important part of a rabbit’s diet, so this should be replenished whenever you need to.
- A handful of fruit, vegetables or leafy plants (check out our rabbit food guide if you’re unsure about what your bunny is allowed).
- Rabbit Pellets (for Ronnie, we typically give him a handful) .
Rabbit Diet: Why is Hay important?
Hay is by far the most important part of a rabbit’s diet and should make up 80% of your bunny’s daily food intake.
Hay is important because:
- It’s a primary source of fiber and keeps your Bunny’s tummy healthy.
- It helps maintain dental health.
- It provides a big part of your bunny’s nutritional needs.
- It helps prevent fur blockage.
- It satisfies natural snacking and chewing urges.
- It’s a really good way of preventing destructive behaviour in rabbits as it’s a nutritional form of boredom relief (checkout our Rabbit Behaviour post for more information).
Hay is made up of long fibres that give the muscles of a bunny’s tummy a workout.
A rabbit’s digestive systems means they constantly have to snack throughout the day to keep healthy. It also help’s to prevent blockages in their tummy’s.
So eating lots of hay is really good for them.
If a rabbit doesn’t eat enough hay, then a rabbit’s intestinal functions can slow down and they can get really poorly.
Rabbit’s teeth grow constantly and they’re kept in check when they constantly chew on hay.
If their teeth are not kept in check, they can grow out of control and your bunny could get really poorly.
Prevents Destructive Behaviour
Hay is useful to keep your bunny entertained as this prevents destructive behaviour.
Rabbit’s can eat to alleviate boredom and because hay is so good for them, it’s the perfect boredom buster.
Rabbit Diet: Fruit, Vegetables or Leafy Plants
Including fruit, vegetables or leafy plants into your Rabbit’s diet is important because it balances out their nutritional needs.
It’s good to offer your bunny a variety of different greens when you can, but it’s a good idea to introduce new types of greens gradually.
This is so that it doesn’t upset your bunny’s tummy too much.
When it comes to fruit, be careful what you give to your bunny.
This is because the sugar fruit contains isn’t healthy for your little bunny.
Rabbit Diet: Pellets
Rabbit Pellets are good for bunny’s because they are high in fibre and contain an even spread of nutrients.
Rabbit Diet: Treats
As a rule, Rabbit treats (such as this Banana and Papaya treat) are good. It provides your bunny a bit of variety, which can also alleviate the boredom factor.
Also, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t give your bunny most human foods.
Obviously, fruit and vegetables are okay (in moderation) but you should avoid foods such as bread, rice, potatoes, biscuits, chocolate, sweets, crisps etc.
Rabbit Diet: Know Your Bunny’s Weight
It’s good to monitor your bunny’s health by checking their weight regularly.
A good start is getting guidance from the vet every time you take your rabbit in for vaccinations.
The vet will take your bunny’s weight anyway and will tell you whether they’re over or under weight, but appointments are 6 months apart and rabbits can sure eat a lot during that time.
Because we have a Netherlands Dwarf rabbit, very small scales the vet used to measure Ronnie.
After asking out vet what the ideal weight is for our little monster, we are now able to determine whether Ronnie is healthy or not on a month by month basis.
Or when we came home from work the other night and all of a sudden thought that he looked huge.
Ronnie has a pretty set routine when it comes to his diet.
He has a handful of pellets a day and we replenish his hay whenever required.
The little guy also gets a handful of green leaves every day (mostly Curly Kale) and we put a treat stick in his cage every time we clean him out (about once a week).
- The Importance of Hay by Rabbit.org.
- Rabbit Diet and Nutrition by MyBunny.org.
- Rabbit Diet Meal Planner by RSPCA.
- The Importance of Hay by Save a Fluff.