Rabbit Feeding Guide

 

Date: May 28th, 2014

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Your rabbit is an herbivore, which means he eats only plant material. Herbivores need to have food moving constantly through their digestive systems to avoid health problems. A diet of mostly hay provides the fiber necessary to do this. Add fortified pellets daily to round out your rabbit's healthy diet..

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Hay


Hay is absolutely vital to the digestive health of your rabbit. It prevents obesity, dental disease, diarrhea and boredom. Your rabbit should have unlimited access to quality grass hay. Unless the hay in your pet's habitat is soiled, do not replace it. Replacing it could encourage picky eating! Your rabbit should eat a pile of hay the size of his body every day.
Rabbits less than a year old can receive alfalfa hay in addition to grass hay. After one year, alfalfa hay should be used only as a treat. Pregnant and nursing animals or rabbits recovering from illness have higher nutritional requirements, so they might benefit from alfalfa in their diets.

Pellets


A complete fortified pellet helps you make sure your pet is getting all the vitamins and minerals required for a healthy diet. Pellets should be fresh, and relatively high in fiber (18% minimum fiber)


Pellet Selection

  • Choose a pellet designed especially for rabbits. Pellets should make up less of a rabbit's diet as he or she grows older, and hay should be available 24 hours a day.

  • Pick an age-appropriate pellet for your pet. Alfalfa pellets are fine for younger rabbits but timothy pellets are preferred for older rabbits.

  • Avoid mixes with nuts, corn, seeds and fruit. Rabbits cannot digest and metabolize these rich ingredients. Also, providing these tempting foods in abundance along with healthy foods could encourage your pet to choose tastier, less healthy foods over healthy hays and pellets.

  • Do not purchase more than 6 weeks worth of feed at a time, as it will become spoiled.


Treats and Veggies


Treats are a great way to bond with your rabbit. You love giving treats and he loves eating them! However, the main purpose of a treat should be to encourage interaction between you and your pet. Offering too many treats can encourage your pet to refuse basic foods and rob him of nutrition. Contrary to popular belief, rabbits don't need a steady supply of carrots and other sweet treats such as yogurt drops and seed sticks. Offer all-natural treats only after your pet eats basic foods. Rabbits also can have vegetables, but consider vegetables a treat. Vegetables such as romaine, bib and red leaf lettuce are good choices. Avoid iceberg lettuce and limit the following foods: spinach, collard greens, parsley, kale, dandelion greens and mustard greens. Do not feed more than one teaspoon a day. As with any new food, be sure to introduce new vegetables slowly to avoid upsetting your pet's stomach and causing diarrhea.

Rabbit Feeding Guide



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