Rabbits love food and often eat throughout the day. So, getting the right balance for their diet is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Rabbits require a diet of hay, fresh fruit, and vegetables, as well as a few pellets. However, as they have sensitive digestive tracts, you must introduce them to new foods gradually to allow their system to adjust.
Rabbits have 17,000 strong taste buds in their mouth and pharynx, and they can distinguish between sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. However, they will try anything – even if it's poisonous – so it’s your job to protect them!
What is the best food for your rabbit?
Rabbits are a big fan of their vegetables and leafy greens are great for their mental enrichment. Rabbits enjoy foraging, so mixing this type of food in with their hay will keep them engaged and prevent boredom. You should try introducing your rabbit to new types of vegetables to see what their favourites are.
The amount of vegetables you give your bun will depend on their size. Use the rough estimate of providing 2 cups of greens every day for a 5-pound rabbit.
The best vegetables for rabbits are ones that are easy to digest and provide a lot of nutrients. Always wash fresh food before giving it to a bunny and never feed them something that you can’t identify or that’s been in contact with pesticides or fertilisers.
Some veggies that we recommend include:
- Carrot tops
- Broccoli (in moderation)
- Celery including the leaves
- Bell peppers (red, yellow, and green)
Fruit is high in natural sugars and should be considered a treat. You must only feed it to rabbits in small amounts – they should eat fruit no more than two times a week. (Or two tablespoons a day.) And you need to be sure that you remove all seeds, stems, cores, and pits before giving them the tasty snack.
Similarly, to vegetables, fruit should be introduced slowly to give your bunny time to adjust.
In moderation you can feed your rabbit:
Hay should be the staple of your bunnies’ diet as their digestive system requires it to function properly. Hay should make up around 85% of their diet as it provides essential fibre, and it also helps wear down a rabbit’s teeth – which ensures good dental health.
You should make sure your rabbit has access to hay at all times so that they can graze when they please. And any leftover hay from the day before can be moved to their toilet area.
Even though hay might look boring to humans, rabbits love it and there are many different varieties of hay. You could order a free sample pack from us and try six types of our hay including – Timothy, Rye Grass, Meadow, Orchard, Oat and Crau hay.
But a safe bet is Timothy hay, it is one of our best sellers and the sweet smelling and green hay is much loved by rabbits!
What foods kill or harm rabbits?
There are some foods that you should keep away from your rabbit as they’re poisonous and could seriously harm your bunny.
Avocado is one of the most dangerous foods for rabbits as it contains a toxic compound called Persin. If a rabbit has too much Persin, it will develop breathing problems.
If you’re feeding your rabbit fruit you should remove any seeds or pips. A lot of pips contain toxic compounds and some pips such as peach contain trace amounts of cyanide.
Iceberg lettuce might seem like a typical ‘rabbit food’, however it has harmful chemicals inside it. Young rabbits could even die if they eat too much!
You should also avoid potato leaves. Whilst they are not poisonous, they are difficult to digest as they are high in starch.
What do rabbits love the most?
As previously said, hay should make up about 85% of your rabbit’s diet. And luckily rabbits love hay. They also love various types of fruit however they don’t naturally eat root vegetables and fruit so these things should only be fed to your pet in small amounts – no matter how much they love sweet treats.
How often should I feed my rabbit?
As a general rule of thumb rabbits should eat twice a day. You can give them hay in the morning with a mix of vegetables and in the evening, you can give them rabbit feed. But we recommend that they always have access to hay so they can pick at it throughout the day. You should also ensure that they have fresh, clean water all day.
How much do they eat?
It’s important to feed rabbits the right amount of food for their body weight. Take a look at the chart below to offer you some advice on how much you should be feeding your rabbit.
|Weight of Rabbit||Total Amount of Leafy Greens per Day||Serving of Pellets per Day|
|2 lbs.||1 cup||2 tbsp|
|3 lbs.||1.5 cups||3 tbsp|
|4 lbs.||2 cups||0.25 cup|
|5 lbs.||2.5 cups||1 tbsp + 0.25 cup|
|6 lbs.||3 cups||2 tbsp + 0.25 cup|
|7 lbs.||3.5 cups||3 tbsp + 0.25 cup|
|8 lbs.||4 cups||0.5 cup|
|9 lbs.||4.5 cups||1 tbsp + 0.5 cup|
|10 lbs.||5 cups||2 tbsp + 0.5 cup|
Remember, that if you’re making a change to your rabbit’s diet or giving them new food to try then you should gradually introduce the new food to see how they react. If your rabbit becomes unwell after eating a new food, then it’s best to take them to the vets and if you’re ever in doubt over whether to feed them a certain food then it’s safest not to feed it them at all.
Find out more
There’s a lot more to learn about rabbits so keep an eye out for more advice, how to’s and fact files on rabbit care.