How To Feed A Rabbit
As well as being farm animals bred for human consumption, rabbits also make ideal pets. Among other reasons, they provide companionship, take up very little space, don't require too much special attention and they're docile. They therefore make particularly good pets, for example, for children or families living in small houses or apartments. Although looking after a rabbit is relatively easy, you should always look after it properly and give it the attention it deserves. One of the most important factors to consider is feeding your rabbit to ensure that it has the food it needs to live a full and healthy life. So that you're not left in any doubt about what food it needs, in this OneHowTo.com article we'll explain how to feed a rabbit.
The first thing you need to take into consideration when learning how to feed a rabbit is that rabbits are lagomorphs; they differ from rodents, such as mice, by having two pairs of upper incisors instead of one. This means that the teeth grow continuously and they have to chew a lot in order to wear them down. You can find out more on our article on how to care for my rabbit's teeth.
They are also herbivores, which means that their main source of food is vegetables. Therefore, although you can provide rabbit feed, hay should always be in plentiful supply, as should vegetables and, it goes without saying, fresh water.
To know how to feed your domestic rabbit you must take into account the daily recommended amounts a rabbit should eat:
- 150 g of hay as a minimum
- 100 g of vegetables per kilo of the rabbit's weight
- 30g of feed per kilo of weight.
If your rabbit does not eat rabbit feed, you should increase the amount of hay and vegetables. However, this is only an approximation to give you an idea as each animal is different. You can ask your vet to tell you the ideal weight for your rabbit and adjust its diet appropriately.
Hay should make up the bulk of your pet rabbit's diet as it helps to wear down the teeth as well as helps to keep the digestive system in good working order.
When it comes to vegetables, the best ones for rabbits are: chard, celery, chicory, watercress, lettuce, endive, green beans (without seeds), pepper, endive, borage, artichoke, rocket, cucumber, carrot and beetroot leaves, Chinese cabbage, clover and dandelion. To a lesser extent, you can also feed your pet rabbit some spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, lettuce (green leaves only) or fresh herbs.
When it comes to rabbit feed, bear in mind that it should only be used to supplement your rabbit's diet; it should not be the main source of nutrition. You should choose a high fibre feed and advisable to get the pellets (extruded feed) instead of seed-based feed because with the latter rabbits will just pick out the bits they like the most. Up until they're 6 months old, you should feed kits (baby rabbits) unlimited amounts of feed, except in cases of obesity.
You should not feed them vegetables like cauliflower, potato, onion or garlic. Similarly, it is not good to give them too much fruit because it contains high amounts of sugar that can be harmful. Instead, use fruit as a reward for your rabbit, and only give it very occasionally. You should also avoid feeding your rabbit dried fruit and seeds, such as sunflower seeds, legumes; dog or cat food; any cooked food; cheese or dairy products.
Like all pets, your pet rabbit should always have access to clean water , and you should change the water at least every other day. Moreover, it's also recommended to feed our pet rabbits following a regular timetable, the ideal being twice a day.
Apart from these specific tips for rabbit feeding, you must also care for the pet rabbit so it's as healthy as possible, following these tips:
- You must take it to the vet frequently to get a check-up.
- Get hard stuff so the rabbit can wear its teeth: pieces of wood, tree branches...
- Brush its hair frequently
- Take it out for a while each day so it can have some exercise.
At OneHowTo we give you some tips on how to look after a pet rabbit and ensure your pet lives in the best of conditions.
If you want to read similar articles to How To Feed A Rabbit, we recommend you visit our Pets category.
- Control the weight of your pet rabbit.