What do rabbits eat?

What do rabbits eat

What do rabbits eat? Rabbit food information

So you have a new pet, congratulations! Rabbits are unconventional pets, to the point that most people need to find a vet that treats “exotic” animals for their bunny. Interestingly, however, rabbits are much easier to take care of than dogs and cats. As a person who’s owned a dog, cats, birds and a pair of rabbits, I’d say rabbits are the second easiest animal to take care of, after birds. Rabbits are also silent animals and like to stay clean, you might notice that your fluffy bunny spends a lot of time cleaning itself

You may find it a little hard to find a good vet and food sources, but once you have those sorted out, it’s pretty easy. The biggest reason, perhaps, is because bunnies are incredibly well disciplined. Once they’re trained, which is easy enough unless you end up with a “problem child”, they’re pretty low maintenance. While we’re on the subject of easy, ask around to see if anyone you know owns a veggie garden. They’ll can give you scraps and pruned leaves for your bunny, and in return you can give them.. poop

No, I’m serious.. Most gardeners will be very happy to get their hands on a bag of rabbit poop, weird as that sounds. It’s because it’s fairly dry and non yucky, and makes great fertilizer for the soil. It’ll be a mutually beneficial relationship, with the both of you gaining something and getting rid of waste material. So now, back to the subject at hand, what do bunnies eat? Rabbits are herbivores, or vegetarian if you prefer that term, and have few requirements. Let’s take a look at what their main diet is

Rabbits main food should be hay

1. Fresh hay is the rabbits main food

What do rabbits eat? Hay, for starters. Fresh hay should be available to your bunny round the clock. Depending on the bunny’s age, they should be given different types of hay. It’s essential because it provides fiber, which rabbits need to properly digest their food. In addition, roughage helps reduce chances of getting hairballs and other blockages, which rabbits are unable to regurgitate, and which can therefore prove dangerous. And of course, hay fulfils their nutritional requirements, with some types being more nutritious than others. Don’t worry about rationing your pet’s hay intake, rabbits are pretty good in this regard. They’ll eat as much as they need to, and not a bit more, eating hay will not make the fat. Buns can pick up extra weight with treats and veggies, but unlimited access to hay is perfectly safe, and recommended. Another point to keep in mind is that hay is not only the primary item of your pet’s diet, but the bulk of it. Hay and leafy greens should make up 85-90% of a rabbit’s diet

Rabbits needs unlimited access to water

2. Fresh water is obviously required too

What else do rabbits eat? Well, maybe they don’t eat it as such, but they certainly need water, just as much as us humans. Give your pet access to fresh water, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a bowl will do. I like to refill the bowl twice a day, especially in the summer, but refilling it once a day is usually enough. When you fill it with fresh water, quickly give it a rinse, so any dust and dirt from the last day is washed out. Once a week, give the bowl a proper wash with dishwashing soap. Let it dry before re-filling. Water bottles are another good idea, and many people train their rabbit to drink from a bottle because it doesn’t collect as much dirt, and is pretty convenient when you need to take your pet out. Who wants to carry a wide bowl around? Not me, that’s for sure. When training them to drink from a bottle, you can dab a bit of orange juice, freshly squeezed, not the box stuff, on the mouth, so your bunny gets a taste of orange when using it, and associates water bottles with treats. Your rabbit might not even need training in order to drink from it. Water bottles should also be rinsed and refilled daily, and washed with soap weekly. It may start to get a bit dirty after a couple months, so I recommend using a brush to give it a thorough clean once every 2-3 months

Rabbits should have vegetables in their diet

3. Fresh vegetables that are safe for rabbits

When listing what rabbits eat, veggies are another important addition. Once your bunny’s a little old he or she should be introduced to vegetables. They help diversify a rabbit’s diet. Bunnies need variety in their diet, so their digestion stays in good order. This is partly because they need time to get used to foods, and partly because a limited diet may deprive them of essential nutrients. Bunnies have a very different digestive system from us humans, however. So while cats and dogs can eat most things that we can, you need to be a little more careful with bunnies. When we say vegetables, we mean dark leafy greens, the sort you didn’t like as a kid. Certain lighter greens such as iceberg lettuce are actually harmful for your pet. Give your bunny plenty of veggies daily, with small servings of different types of veggies. You can absolutely include peels, stems and other bits you discard, your bunny won’t mind, and you’ll waste less food! Just make sure the veggies you give your pet are properly washed and clean

Rabbits should have quality pellets

4. High quality healthy pellets

What? Rabbits eat pellets? Yup! Pellets are important for young bunnies or older buns that can’t keep on weight. It’s not a dietary staple for mature rabbits, but it’s something your pet will need at some point through their life. If you’re curious about how to feed a rabbit through different life stages, take a look at our last article here: Rabbit diet in different life stages. Pellets are necessary for young and old buns, but not for adult rabbits, unless your rabbit isn’t to keen on the hay. This is because they’re high in nutrients, and so help your rabbit grow, and when he’s older, they help him keep his weight on. Interestingly, mature buns who’re given pellets may become overweight. Pellets can be relatively expensive, but your bunny won’t need them for very long. There are numerous online stores that sell rabbit pellets. When shopping for one, make sure the variety you choose has at least 18% fiber

Rabbits should have fruits in their diet

5. Fresh fruits that are safe for rabbits to eat

Rabbits also eat fruits, although they aren’t diet essentials. Fruits are actually junk food for buns. It sounds strange, but their digestive systems are differently formed from our own, and so fruits which are healthy for us and eaten while on a diet can make rabbits overweight if they are fed to much of it. Fruits are best used as incentives for training. So for instance dabbing a bit of juice on the water bottle, giving your pet a piece of raspberry when he’s been a good boy, or when he learns a trick

Many people also give their pets fruits generally, as treats because we love our little buddies and want them to have a good life. People like junk food, and so do rabbits. It doesn’t always have to be a reward for good behavior, although if giving them as treats make sure your bunny doesn’t get spoiled. Peels and leaves of some fruits are also okay for bunnies, although check online or ask your vet before giving your pet anything new that you are unsure of. Avocadoes, for instance, can be deadly for rabbits

Also remember chewing toys for rabbits

Chewing toys aren’t food, which is why they’re at the bottom of our list. However, since they’re used for chewing or gnawing on, we think they’re similar enough to include in this list. Besides, they’re a small but exceedingly important item which many people forget to provide for their bunny. If you’ve ever owned a cat or a dog, you’ll have noticed that they have a penchant for destroying furniture. Cats scratch it, and dogs chew it or tear it. Rabbits, similarly, will tend to chew on furniture, causing a lot of damage wich is quite frustrating. The difference is, while it’s natural instinct on the part of cats and playfulness when it comes to dogs, with rabbits it’s a necessity. They need to chew on hard surfaces or they could get complications that could result in their death

It’s because rabbits, like rats and squirrels, have teeth that grow constantly throughout their lives. So they need to chew on hard surfaces to wear their teeth down. If they don’t, their teeth will continue to grow longer to the point where the animal can’t chew anymore, and so can’t eat. What bunnies eat isn’t hard enough to wear their teeth down, so you need to provide a toy. If you don’t or if you forget, your bunny would actually have to chew on whatever else they can find that’s hard enough. If it happens to be your furniture, that’s too bad. You’ll have to train them to chew the toy instead of your stuff, but once they form a habit you’ll never have an issue. If you have any forests nearby, you can also go there and get some sticks, pinecones etc. as bunny chew toys

Conclusion: Rabbits need unlimited access to fresh hay, fresh water, quality pellets, vegetables, and fruits. While pellets and fruits aren’t strictly necessary all the time, the others more or less are. When arranging food, also get hold of a chewing toy for your pet. Buy it from a trusted seller or find something in the nature, so you can be certain it doesn’t contain harmful paints, varnishes etc

See safe foods and treats in the Rabbit Food section. Remember to subscribe to the YouTube channel for weekly animal videos