Rabbits are Herbivores and as such the mainstay of their diet should consist largely of Hay & Grasses; this should make up at least 80% of a rabbit’s daily food intake.
The remainder of their daily diet should consist of roughly 10-15% of fresh leafy Rabbit friendly greens – please NEVER feed Iceberg Lettuce – alongside a small amount (approx 5%) of good quality, high fibre pellets. In the UK Burgess Excel and Supreme Science Select are the most popular choice as they have the highest extruded fibre content compared to others on the market.
Should you have a poor hay eater, simply sprinkling some dried herbs, pellets or similar healthy treat in with their hay can add interest whilst helping them on their way to munching more of the good stuff.
You can also make feeding time fun by stuffing a clean paper bag, or toilet rolls tubes with hay and a few appealing treats. The Bunny Approved website has lots of good DIY toy ideas which can provide hours of fun for both bunny and owner alike.
Our rabbits are highly intelligent animals who as natural grazers, they enjoy the stimulation of foraging for their food, so it helps to keep things interesting to prevent them becoming bored.
Why not save yourself some money by going out to collect wild forage/plants?
A few bunny friendly plants that you can feed are: Dandelions, Plantain, Bramble, Sticky Willy (or Cleavers/Goosegrass), Nettle, Hazel, Willow, Hawthorn to name but a few – please don’t worry too much about thorns, those little mouths were designed to chomp through all sorts of wild plants and branches, although you may wish to take care to prevent injury to their feet.
Please remember, Fibre is essential to rabbit health; Rabbits’ teeth grow continuously so they need fibrous matter not just to ensure dental health as the chewing, grinding action wears down those continuously growing teeth, but it also maintains good healthy gut movements too!
There are however lots of ‘bad’ foodstuffs available to buy so please take care, check ingredients as you would do your own foods and leave them on the shelf! Save your money and remove the potential for causing harm to your rabbits’ long term health.
A recent study conducted by The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and Burgess Pet Care, revealed that muesli style mixes have been proven to damage health by causing dental disease, obesity and digestive upsets. These types of foods only lead to selective feeding; rabbits have a sweet tooth and will pick out the more appealing ingredients leaving the more fibrous parts behind, missing out on important nutrients.
Be mindful of treats sold in pet shops and supermarkets. As natural ‘vegans’ the rabbit’s digestive system is not designed to cope with dairy, egg and other animal derived ingredients – avoid ‘yogurt drops’ and ‘chocolate drops’. Also avoid other harmful items that contain seeds, nuts and corn which can pose either a choking or gut impaction hazard to your beloved pet.