What Do Rabbits Eat: Rabbit Food 101
Ok so you’ve got a rabbit, but what the heck do you feed them? Believe it or not, hay. Hay should comprise the bulk of your rabbits diet. You really can’t overdo it with hay. When you’re buying hay, you’re going to find two major types at the pet store and online. The first is grass hay and that’s what you’re really looking for. It will either say grass hay, or timothy, oat or rye hays. Those are the ones that work the best for them. The other hays that you’ll find are legume based hays, things like alfalfa or peas or clover. Your rabbit can definitely eat those, but those are much higher in protein, much higher in carbs and have a tendency to make them overweight. So unless you have a bunny you’re specifically trying to pack some weight on, maybe they’re pregnant, maybe they’re just too skinny. Stick with the grass based hays because even if you kind of mix it up and feed them some grass and some legume together, your rabbit is going to pick out the legume stuff, they think it tastes better, they are going to go for that, but they will end up overweight. This stuff, I know it doesn’t look exciting, but this is great for them, it’s got lots of fibre, it’s got really healthy things for all the microbes in their gut that are helping to digest their food and it helps to wear down their teeth like they would in the wild. Rabbit teeth just kind of grow slowly over time and they really need some good roughage to help wear those down. Hay, you can’t overdo it and if you want to introduce some variety try timothy one time, try rye the next time, you can definitely mix it up a little bit, but this should be the bulk of their diet.
Now I do have some pellets here because a lot of people love to feed their bunnies pellets. It is a very easy thing to feed them and there is nothing really wrong with pellets except that they should not make up the bulk of their diet, maybe like 10% of what they’re eating. The issues with pellets, and this is basically just hay in pellet form, so it’s very nutritious, but what is missing is the fibre so it doesn’t wear down their teeth as well as the hay does. It also takes no time for a bunny to get through these pellets, so they’re going to eat their food really quickly and they’re going to have nothing to do all day.
What else can you feed your rabbit? Leafy greens, dark leafy greens are your rabbits friend. Dark green vegetables are also really healthy for them, we’re talking about things like romaine or parsley, rabbits love this stuff. If you’ve never fed your rabbit anything other than hay or pellets, go easy on the greens. Introduce them really slowly and just do one new ingredient every couple of days. Try some bok choy one day and see how that goes, let their little systems adjust to it for three or four days, see how they do. If they do great, fantastic and then you can introduce another new ingredient.
Now I know you’re all sitting there going why aren’t you talking about the carrots? We’re talking about rabbits right? Rabbits eat carrots. If Bugs Bunny has taught us anything, this is all rabbits need to subsist on. I hate to break it to you, but this is basically candy to your rabbit. You can feed this to your rabbit, but this should be a treat. This should be an occasional thing and I am talking half or a quarter of a baby carrot for your rabbit.
So that is the quick and dirty on how to feed your pet rabbit, but as always if you’re looking for more information, go talk to your vet. Make sure you’ve got a vet that specializes or at least sees a lot of rabbits, not all of us see them and you want to make sure you’re working with someone who really has the information at their fingertips.