Make sure your rabbit has a healthy diet
Things you should do
- Provide fresh clean drinking water at all times. Check the water supply twice a day. Make sure water does not freeze if your rabbits live outdoors in winter.
- Good quality hay and/or grass should make up the majority of your rabbits' diet
and should be available at all times. Read our hay feeding tips.
- You can feed a small amount of commercial rabbit pellets (sometimes called 'nuggets'), but hay and/or grass are much more important. If pellets are provided, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t keep topping the bowl up as this may result in your rabbits not eating enough hay and/or grass. Growing, pregnant, nursing or underweight rabbits may need a larger portion of pellets.
- Muesli-style foods are associated with health problems in rabbits and should not be fed. Find out why muesli is unhealthy for rabbits and get advice on how to safely transfer your rabbits onto a healthier diet. Your vet or a rabbit nutritionist will be able to advise you about how to provide the best diet for each of your rabbits.
- Find out which plants are safe to feed your rabbits. Offer safe, washed leafy green vegetables, herbs or weeds every day.
- Do not feed lawnmower clippings as these can upset your rabbits' digestive system and make them ill.
- Only give root vegetables like carrots, or fruit, in small amounts as a treat. Don’t feed any other treats as these may harm your rabbits.
- Adjust how much you feed your rabbit to make sure he/she does not become underweight or overweight.
- Don’t make any sudden changes to your rabbit’s diet as this could upset his/her digestive system and make him/her very ill.
- Monitor the amount your rabbit eats and drinks. If your rabbit’s eating or drinking habits change, the number of droppings gets less or stops, or there are soft droppings sticking to his/her back end, talk to your vet straight away as he/she could be seriously ill. Read more about rabbit health and welfare.
Use our handy meal planner to check your rabbits are getting the right food in the right quantities! You can also watch our video for more feeding tips.
For winter care advice for rabbits, download our document from our health and welfare page.
- Without water to drink a rabbit can become seriously ill.
- Rabbits are grazers and naturally eat only grass and other plants.
- The rabbit’s digestive system must have grass and/or hay in order to function properly.
- Some plants are poisonous to rabbits.
- Rabbits do not naturally eat cereals, root vegetables or fruit.
- Rabbits naturally eat for long periods of time, mainly at dawn and dusk.
- How much an individual rabbit needs to eat depends on his/her age, lifestyle and state of health.
- If a rabbit eats more food than he/she needs, he/she will become overweight and may suffer.
- Rabbits' teeth grow continuously throughout their life and need to be worn down and kept at the correct length and shape by eating grass, hay and leafy green plants. Failure to eat the right diet can result in serious dental disease.
- Rabbits produce two types of droppings – hard dry pellets, and softer moist pellets that they eat directly from their bottom and which are an essential part of their diet.