Is muesli bad for rabbits?
Muesli is often mistakenly chosen as rabbit food, but it can actually lead to serious teeth and tummy problems. Instead, we recommend a diet of hay or grass to give your rabbits a healthy lifestyle.
If your rabbits are currently on a muesli diet, speak to your vet and gradually transfer them to a healthier diet over a period of 12-18 days.
What is muesli, and why is it unhealthy?
Muesli is a commercial food containing many components, such as flaked maize, peas, pellets, grains and seeds. A new study shows that muesli-style foods aren't good for your rabbit's health, as they can increase the risk of them developing serious teeth and tummy problems.
What should rabbits eat?
We recommend feeding your rabbits mainly hay and/or grass, with some leafy green vegetables, herbs and safe weeds. You can also give them a small, measured amount of good-quality pellets or nuggets each day.
Use our rabbit meal planner to plan a good diet for your rabbits.
My rabbits eat muesli - what should I do?
We recommend gradually transferring them to a healthier diet over several weeks, to avoid serious digestive upsets. Speak to your vet about safely transitioning your rabbits onto a diet of hay, leafy greens, nuggets and pellets, ideally over 14 to 28 days. Remember:
- Mix some pellets or nuggets with muesli, gradually reducing the muesli and increasing the pellets or nuggets, until the muesli is completely replaced.
- Use good quality pellets or nuggets, designed for rabbits, as these are high in digestible and indigestible fibre.
- Good-quality hay and/or grass should make up the bulk of your rabbit's diet and should be available to them constantly, along with clean water.
Make sure your rabbits stay healthy while making changes to their diet by monitoring them frequently (at least twice daily) to ensure they:
- Eat plenty of hay
- Eat enough 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 or stuck to the fur around their bottoms can indicate uneaten caecotrophs and digestive problems, and can also lead to flystrike.
Ask your vet immediately if you're concerned while transitioning your rabbit's diet, as serious digestive problems can develop quickly.
Encouraging rabbits to eat more hay
Some rabbits aren't that keen on hay. If your rabbit is reluctant to eat, take them to the vet to check there are no underlying health problems. Early stage or low-grade dental disease can result in discomfort when chewing, making rabbits less likely to eat hay or grass.
Find out more in our Rabbit Muesli Q&A.