Dr Ingrid Danylyk of Bird and Exotic Veterinary Services shares her recommended diet for adult rabbits:
- Fibre is an essential component of the rabbit diet.
A variety of grass hays should be available to your rabbit at all times. (Timothy, Botanical, and Orchard grass hays): Fresh grass is even more desirable.
Lucerne is a legume, not a grass. Lucerne has higher levels of protein and calcium that is not ideal for most mature rabbits (or guinea pigs). High dietary calcium may predispose your rabbit to the formation of urinary stones. Young and lactating rabbits can have up to 25% Lucerne in their diet for extra energy, protein and calcium required for growth.
- Feed small amounts of pellets
(i.e. 1/ 4 cup per adult rabbit). A high – fibre pellet is best. Concentrated pelleted rations should be fed with care. Many rabbits over two years of age readily become obese without pellet restriction.
Do not feed a pellet mix that contain dried fruits or seeds; these rations can cause serous health problems.
- Offer a variety of green leafy vegetables and root vegetables as a “salad” daily.
Add one new vegetable to the diet at a time. Too many new vegetables may cause stomach upset.
Eliminate any item that causes soft stools or diarrhoea.
Avoid gas-forming vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
Examples of green leafy vegetables and root vegetables:
- carrot tops
- dandelion greens and flowers (no pesticides)
- pea pods
- brussel sprouts
- green capsicum
- silver beet
Treats: All animals deserve a treat from time to time and it is a healthy interaction between you and your pet. Rabbits really enjoy small pieces of banana or apple!
4. To avoid an upset stomach, it is best to feed the same foods consistently.
Dangerous carbohydrate foods sources to avoid are baked goods and moderate amounts of fruits.
Overall, for your rabbits gastrointestinal tract to stay healthy; it is important to consistently feed the same good quality diet daily.
Dr Danylyk recommends offering Oxbow’s essential pellets and an unlimited amount of Oxbow’s Western Timothy hay.
Read more information about feeding and nutrition for your rabbit.