A well-balanced diet with variety will go a long way in keeping your rabbit happy and healthy. Always provide unlimited fresh timothy hay and fresh water. Good quality fresh pellets purchased from a pet or feed store and given in limited quantities are best. The freshness of grocery and discount store pellets is questionable. Refrain from buying store-bought rabbit treats unless they are an Oxbow product; there is very little, if any, nutritional value in them and they are generally loaded with sugar.
Is Feeding Hay Important?
Fresh hay is essential to a rabbit’s good health, providing roughage, which reduces the danger of hairballs and other blockages. Apple and willow twigs also provide good roughage. Hay should be kept in an open plastic bag and stored in a cool dry place away from sunlight. If the hay is fresh it should have a strong hay odor. You can stuff hay in empty toilet paper tubes or fill empty cardboard tissue boxes (after removing any plastic and enlarging the opening to accommodate your bunny’s head and ears).
Good quality pellets should be included in your rabbit’s diet but in limited quantities. BunnyPeople recommends Oxbow Essentials Adult and Young Rabbit pellets. Young pellets are for rabbits up to one year of age and Adult pellets are for rabbits a year old and older. Small to medium active rabbits should not exceed ¼ to ½ cup of pellets a day. Active large bred rabbits may have ½ to ¾ cup of pellets daily. Pellets may be given along with the AM and PM salad, or just once a day. To ensure freshness, only purchase pellets that your rabbit can eat within 4-6 weeks. Pellets freeze well, but only for about 3-4 months. In addition to pellets, steel cut oats may be a part of their diets. Found in health stores and natural food sections in grocery stores, these oats are whole grains and can be given in ½ -1 tablespoon serving once or twice a week as a treat.
Fresh water must be available to your rabbit at ALL times. This is needed for hydration and to keep the hay moving through their digestive system. Don’t forget to regularly wash the dish with mild soap and rinse it well.
Please consult the “Food List” for the correct food varieties and quantities for your rabbit.
For specific information on a particular topic, such as bonding, bunny-proofing your home, litter box training, etc., call BunnyPeople at 717-469-0125 or see the House Rabbit Society’s website, www.rabbit.org. Information can also be found in a library or at your local pet store.
Never give your rabbit these foods:
Beans / Iceberg Lettuce / Potatoes / Cabbage / Onions / Rubarb
Provide at least three kinds of vegetables daily. A variety is required in order to assure necessary nutrients, including one daily that contains Vitamin A (indicated by * on the list). Add one new vegetable, herb or fruit to your rabbit’s diet at a time, eliminating it if it causes soft stools or diarrhea.
Before you serve any fresh food to your rabbit:
1. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly
2. Remove any bad/rotten spots
* - Contains Vitamin A
! - Use Sparingly, it’s high in oxalates and/or giotrogens which accumulates in the body and may become toxic over time.
# - If pesticides or herbicides are used in your yard or in the grounds surrounding your yard, do not give anything from your yard to your bunny! If not, you can harvest clover, dandelion and wide-leaf plantain – they love it!
Beet Greens (tops) *
Broccoli (Mostly leaves and stems) *
Carrots and Carrot Tops *
Celery (Includes leaves)
Clover (includes flowers)
Collard Greens *
Dandelion Greens and Flowers #
Kale * !
Leaf Lettuces (Green, Red, Spring Mix, etc) *
Mustard Greens *
Pea Pods (flat, edible kind) *
Radish and Clover Sprouts
Romaine Lettuce *
Spinach * !
Fruit List – Give 1 – 2 small servings a day
Apples (Remove seeds, they contain arsenic)
Bananas (Very Favorite)
Grapes (Remove seeds)
Oranges (Include peel)
Peaches (Remove pit)
Example of full day serving size for a medium 3 – 5 lb rabbit (i.e. Mini-lop):
2 romaine leaves, 2 endive stems/leaves, 4 sprigs of parsley, 4 sprigs of cilantro, 2 inches of carrot, and 1 inch of banana or a small apple wedge. Adjust for smaller or larger rabbit and divide in half if you’re feeding in the AM and the PM
Still interested? Read about 10 Reasons to Adopt a Rabbit from BunnyPeople