Rabbits have a delicate digestive system, so a consistent, balanced diet is essential in keeping your floppy-eared companion healthy and happy!
Eat Your Greens
As a herbivore, your rabbit will need a ready supply of fresh, leafy green vegetables, e.g. Brussels sprouts, cabbage or radish tops as part of its diet. It is also important that grass hay is available for your furry little muncher, along with lots of water on tap.
The moisture within a vegetable diet helps your rabbit to maintain good liver and kidney function. Leaf vegetables also help your bunny to maintain its teeth; useful, as they will grow at 3mm per week! The hay within a vegetable diet contains plenty of fibre, which helps your rabbit to wear their teeth down at a natural rate.
Our tip: Always try and use organic vegetables and make sure water is clean and changed frequently.
Every rabbit diet should also include high-quality pellets that consist of natural ingredients; a combination of pellets and leafy vegetables will add flavour and variation to your rabbit’s meals, without disrupting its digestive system. Pellets are usually a small, compressed bullet made of grain, hay or soy and are should supplement your rabbit’s diet. Rabbits should not eat fresh vegetables or have access to an unlimited supply to pellets until 12 weeks of age. It is safe to slowly increase the volume of pellets as your rabbit grows; however, a reminder that its diet still contain 75% of fresh vegetables!
Our tip: Although of nutritional value, rabbit pellets should be the smallest part of your bunny’s diet and should be accompanied by fresh, clean water.
Like any other pet, rabbits are partial to the odd culinary treat. As with pellets, they should only be given as a rare delicacy. Rabbits also suffer when their regular diet is disturbed; however, alfafa, corn on the cob and carrot slim snacks offer a nourishing alternative to pellets. Don’t substitute the vegetables though!
Our tip: Buy from reputable pet food suppliers, to ensure that treats contain vitamins and minerals and conform to food hygiene requirements. Lesser brands may lack nutrients, with high levels of unhealthy fats, salts and sugars.
Bringing up the rear
If you are wondering why nutrition is so important to your humble rabbit, we bring you the science behind their digestion. Whisper it but rabbits eat their poop (yes, it grossed us out too!); this is known as cecotrophy and they do it for good reason.
Whilst we, as humans, digest our food in our intestine, rabbits break down their food in their hindgut, with a useful outcome. They produce two types of droppings; the hard pellets that we know but also a softer pellet that contain high levels of Vitamin B. Through early-morning and late-night consumption of these softer pellets, your rabbit will maintain a healthy vitamin and mineral intake, as a supplement to its vegetable-based diet.