Just like people, bunnies enjoy a good meal. A nice mix of hay, pellets and fresh vegetables as well as fresh water will make your rabbit healthy and happy. An occasional treat can be given, but only in small quantities.
These should be purchased so that they are fresh, as bunnies will turn their noses up at stale pellets. Look for pellets that are relatively high in fiber and low in protein. You will need to limit your rabbit’s pellet intake as he/she ages. Pellets that are high in protein can lead to obesity and other health issues in rabbits.
Our rabbits prefer timothy hay, but there are other types available. Alfalfa and oat hay are other options. Alfalfa should be given less frequently to adult rabbits, because of the higher protein and sugar content. Hay needs to be readily available for your rabbits at all times. It is a good way for your rabbit to add fiber to his/her diet and ensure better health. Hay provides something healthy to quell your rabbit’s urge to chew. Placing hay at one end of a litter box will encourage the use of the litter box.
When choosing hay, make sure it looks and smells fresh. Do not choose a hay that looks brown or moldy or no longer smells like fresh cut grass. Store hay in a dry place in a container that allows air flow to keep it from getting moldy.
A varied assortment of vegetables should be a part of your rabbit’s daily diet. When choosing vegetables look for something fresh and free of pesticides. Always wash your vegetables thoroughly before feeding them to your rabbit. Feed new vegetables in small quantities until you can judge if your rabbit reacts well to them. Do not feed rabbits the leaves from houseplants as many are poisonous to rabbits.
Your rabbit may enjoy some of the following vegetables:
- Dandelion leaves
- Romaine or dark leaf lettuce (no iceburg lettuce and no cabbage)
- Carrot tops (carrots are high in calcium and should be given sparingly)
- Broccoli leaves (stems or tops can make rabbits gassy)
- Collard greens
- Water cress
- Mustard greens
- Bok choy
Fresh water must always be available to your rabbit. If you have a cage a hanging water bottle is a fine option. Many rabbits will also drink from a water dish. On a hot day you can drop an ice cube or two in your rabbits water dish. If your rabbit does not seem to be drinking enough water you can leave the vegetables fairly wet when you present them.
Everybody loves a treat now and then, but to ensure your rabbits health they should be given only occasionally. Do not feed your rabbit items high in carbohydrates like breads, crackers, pasta, pretzels, cookies, chips, or cereal. Although branded for rabbits, many commercially-sold bunny treats are high in fat and sugar, such as yogurt chips, and should not be given. Never give chocolate as it is toxic to rabbits.
Fruit is the best option for a treat, but again you should give it only in small amounts because of the sugar content. We try to purchase organic fruits that we know are free of pesticides. Like vegetables, be sure that they are thoroughly washed.
Some fruits that rabbits enjoy include:
- Apples (no seeds)