A healthy diet for rabbits
Ensure your rabbit has a healthy diet
- Fresh clean drinking water continuously, checked twice daily. Ensure water doesn’t freeze in winter. Without water rabbits become seriously ill.
- Good quality hay and/or grass, always available, should constitute the majority of rabbits' diets.
- Rabbits graze, naturally eating grass/other plants for long periods, mainly at dawn and dusk.
- Rabbits’ digestive systems need grass and/or hay to function properly.
- Read meal planner and feeding tips.
- Hay and/or grass as they’re much more important than commercial rabbit pellets ('nuggets').
- If giving pellets, follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Don’t top the bowl up as rabbits might stop eating enough hay and/or grass.
- Growing/pregnant/nursing/underweight rabbits may need larger portions.
- Healthy diets. Avoid muesli-style foods as they are associated with health problems. See muesli is unhealthy for rabbits for advice on transferring rabbits to healthier diets. Contact your vet for dietary advice.
- Rabbits' teeth grow continuously, needing wearing down and keeping at the correct length/shape by eating grass/hay/leafy green plants.
- Not eating the right diet results in serious dental disease.
- Root vegetables (e.g. carrots) or fruit only in small amounts as treats. Don’t feed other treats as they may harm your rabbits.
- Rabbits don’t naturally eat cereals/root vegetables/fruit.
- Safe, washed leafy green vegetables/herbs/weeds daily. Take care – some plants are poisonous.
- Avoid sudden changes in diets and do not feed lawnmower clippings as both these upset rabbits’ digestive systems causing illness.
- Feeding quantities adjusted to prevent them from becoming underweight/overweight.
- Quantities rabbits need to eat depend on age/lifestyle/general health.
- Rabbits become overweight and may suffer if eating more food than needed.
- The amount they eat and drink monitoring. If these habits change, droppings gets less/stop, or soft droppings stick to their back end, talk to your vet immediately as they could be seriously ill.
- Rabbits produce two dropping types – hard dry pellets, and softer moist pellets they eat directly from their bottom and are dietary essentials.