Rabbit diet doesn’t need to be complicated! It’s easy once you get it right and in most cases you actually save money doing it the right way! Your furry little friend needs a lot of roughage and fibre. Here is an example of what your rabbit’s diet should comprise:
Hay is an incredibly important part of the diet. Did you know that rabbits need to eat their own poo to live healthily? Providing them with enough hay in their diet ensures that they can eat the poos that they need to thrive. Hay is also essential to maintain healthy teeth. Rabbits teeth never stop growing, and they need hay to help keep them nice and short! Make sure that the hay you are feeding is free from dust and mould. Always ensure that your rabbits have access to hay at all times during the day.
Leafy greens can be a multitude of veg, but please don’t feed your rabbit lettuce. Contrary to what most people think, rabbits don’t actually need lettuce and in some cases, it can cause diarrhoea and other problems.
Greens and vegetables you can feed your rabbit:
Dandelions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, celery, spinach, rocket, Kale (in moderation), corriander, mint, basil & watercress.
Things you should not feed your rabbit:
Potato, potato leaves, lettuce, tomato leaves, rhubarb (any of the plant), onion and garlic.
Pellets are the least important part of your rabbit’s diet. When fed in large quantities, they actually cause most of the problems we see at our clinic. Feeding too many pellets can cause dental disease and digestive problems and can lead to a shorter life expectancy for your little companion. We recommend feeding 20-25g of pellets per kg of rabbit. So for an average 2kg rabbit, that’s just 50g maximum per day! We also recommend that you split this amount into half; one morning feed and one evening feed. Never leave pellets out with your rabbit during the day. Please don’t feed your rabbits any mixtures of food or muesli as they will only eat the parts they like which are no good for them!
If you want to give your rabbit a treat, you can give them some fruit, but please don’t give them too much as fruits can be very sugary and in large quantities can lead to digestive issues and obesity. If you want to give your rabbit carrot, we recommend feeding a 50 cent size chunk of carrot every 2-3 days.
If you are not feeding your rabbit this recommended diet, please switch over slowly from today! Any change you make should be gradual over 14-28 days.
Your rabbit needs more space than you think. Rabbits should be able to hop three-four times from one end of the hutch to the other with no obstacles in their way. They should be able to stand fully on their hind legs. If they can’t do this, the hutch simply isn’t big enough.
Rabbits love to be indoors or outdoors, just make sure they have an area to hide away in case they get scared. Make sure that they also have somewhere that is out of direct sunlight as rabbits can overheat very easily. Rabbits also love to exercise, so even hutched rabbits need to come out for at least an hour each day!
Most rabbits don’t like to be picked up, but do enjoy sitting on laps for a cuddle.
You should always be very careful when handling your little friends. Rabbits don’t like to be picked up by the ears or the tail, and must always have their bums supported at all times. Make sure if you have your rabbit on a table, that you have one hand on them at all times as rabbits can easily jump or fall from high places and injure themselves.
We recommend desexing your rabbits if you’re not thinking of breeding from them. It is very important to desex your female rabbit as they have a very high chance of developing uterine cancers.
Desexing your male rabbit can decrease the risk of territorial behaviour and spraying. We generally recommend desexing from 4-5 months of age.
To find out about desexing your rabbit, please contact us.
It is important to keep your rabbit up to date with vaccinations against Calicivirus at least every year, but more frequently at times of high risk. To find out more about booking an appointment to vaccinate your rabbit, please contact us.
Rabbits like to live together. In the wild, rabbits live in great families. They don’t like to be alone. We recommend keeping two rabbits together as long as they are desexed and aren’t fighting. The best pairing you’ll get is between a desexed male and a desexed female.
Gut stasis (when the guts stop moving) is a life threatening condition and must be seen as an emergency.
What to look out for:
If you think your rabbit might be suffering from any of the above problems, please contact us immediately. If your rabbit hasn’t eaten for 24 hours or more, their chance of survival dramatically decreases, so it is especially important to get them seen as soon as possible.
Dental disease is very common in rabbits and can be caused by a poor diet. Some rabbits can be born with bad teeth and these will need to be closely monitored throughout their life.
What to look out for:
If you think that your animal is suffering from any of the above, please contact us immediately. Tooth disease can lead to gut stasis, which is an emergency.