A Guide to Rabbit Food

Providing a healthy diet for your rabbit is slightly more involved than simply filling his bowl with pellets every day. Rabbits need certain nutrients, just like people do, and with just a little effort, you can provide your rabbit with a healthy and complete diet. The following is a list of the commercial rabbit food and fresh produce you will want to feed your animal.

Hay is the most important food in a rabbit's diet, and it should be made available for your rabbit to graze on at all times. Hay contains the roughage, fiber, and other essential nutrients that a rabbit needs to stay healthy. There are different types of grass hay, such as timothy, brome, Bermuda, prairie, oat, and mixed orchard grass. Any is good. Alfalfa, however, is a type of hay you should avoid, as it is too high in calories and calcium to be given in large quantities.

If you have an adult rabbit, you should choose timothy-based pellets, and not alfalfa-based pellets. Choose pellets that contain at least 20 percent fiber content. Buy only what your animal can eat in a month, as pellets will lose their nutritional value over time.

Vegetables and greens are an essential part of a rabbit's diet and should be given daily. Good choices include parsley, cilantro, endive, romaine lettuce, spinach, dandelion greens (do not pick greens from areas where pesticides may have been used), watercress, and carrot tops. Carrots should only be offered in limited quantities, as they contain sugar. Broccoli, kale, and cabbage can also be given, but should not be given in large quantities as they can cause gas. Beans, onions, rhubarb, corn, peas, nuts, and seeds are dangerous for rabbits, and should never be given. Before you feed vegetables to your rabbit, wash them and check for any bad parts. Be sure to cut those parts off before serving them.

Rabbits have a sweet tooth, but as with humans, too much sugar can be bad for rabbits, including the sugar naturally contained in fruit. You should offer fruit very sparingly and only as a treat or a training reward. Fruit that rabbits are known to enjoy include apples (remove the seeds as they are toxic), strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, plums, watermelon, and orange slices (peeled).

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