Is muesli bad for rabbits
Muesli can often be mistakenly chosen as rabbit food, however, this diet is actually associated with serious teeth and tummy problems. Commercially available muesli can cause terrible suffering for rabbits, and we recommend a diet of hay or grass for your pet rabbits for a healthy lifestyle. If your pet rabbits are currently on a muesli diet, we recommend that you speak to your vet and gradually transfer them over to a healthier diet over a period of 12-18 days.
What¿s muesli? Why is it unhealthy?
It¿s commercial food containing many components e.g. flaked maize/peas/pellets/grains/seeds.
A new study shows muesli-style foods aren¿t good for health. Muesli can increase the risk of developing serious teeth and tummy problems, which cause terrible suffering. See: the problems associated with feeding muesli.
What should rabbits eat?
We recommend mainly hay and/or grass, with some leafy green vegetables/herbs/safe weeds. A small, measured ration of good quality pellets/nuggets can be fed daily.
See: meal planner.
My rabbits eat muesli, what should I do?
Gradually transfer to a healthier diet over several weeks, to avoid serious digestive upsets.
Speak to your vet about safely transitioning onto hay/leafy greens/nugget/pellet diets, ideally over 14¿28 days.
Mix some pellets/nuggets with muesli, gradually reduce the muesli and increase the pellets/nuggets, until pellets/nuggets completely replace muesli.
Use good quality pellets/nuggets, designed for rabbits; high in digestible and indigestible fibre.
Good quality hay and/or grass must constitute the majority of the diet. Hay/grass/clean water must be available continuously.
Ensuring rabbits stay healthy during dietary changes
Monitor your rabbits frequently (at least twice daily) to ensure they:
- eat plenty of hay
- eat sufficient commercial food
- pass normal droppings (quantity, size)
- eat caecotrophs (soft moist droppings eaten directly from their bottom). You may not see this directly, but sticky droppings in toilet areas/bedding/stuck to fur around bottoms can indicate uneaten caecotrophs/digestive problems, and can lead to flystrike.
Ask your vet immediately if concerned during dietary transition; serious digestive problems can occur rapidly.
Encouraging rabbits to eat more hay
Some rabbits are reluctant to eat hay. Early stage/low grade dental disease can result in discomfort when chewing so rabbits are less likely to eat hay/grass. When rabbits are reluctant to eat, take them to the vets to check there are no underlying health problems.
If your rabbit¿s healthy, and still reluctant to eat hay, see: hay feeding tips.
Check out our Rabbit Muesli Q&A (PDF 396kb).