Every owner wants their rabbit to be healthy and live longer. However, after adopting a rabbit, it could become challenging for many rabbit owners about their pet’s dietary requirements. As rabbits can eat everything whenever we provide to them but giving the right food items and in the right portion is essential for their health.
Overfeeding your rabbit can cause severe health and sometimes life-threatening issues that could make them suffer in pain. So, how much food should I feed my rabbit? What food items can I give to my rabbit? How often should I feed my rabbit? Let’s find out all your answers in this article.
A rabbit’s daily diet should consist large handful of hay, with a small amount of leafy green vegetables and a few pellets. However, overfeeding vegetables and fruits can cause severe health issues and weight gain. Instead, consider feeding your rabbit according to its body weight.
This article will briefly discuss the right potions of food to feed your rabbit, what to feed rabbits by their age, and what food items should be avoided from feeding your rabbit. So, let’s get into it.
- 1 How much food do rabbits need a day?
- 2 What food can I give to my rabbit?
- 3 What to feed rabbits by age?
- 4 What should you avoid feeding your rabbit?
- 5 How often should I feed my rabbit?
- 6 Conclusion:
How much food do rabbits need a day?
A domestic rabbit should contain an unlimited amount of hay, a small number of vegetables, and a few limited pellets, depending on its weight and age.
The staple diet of a rabbit should be hay. It is rich in fibre and has no calories required to maintain a proper digestive system and teeth health.
You can also provide leafy greens or pellets in a rabbit’s diet as it contains beneficial nutrients which fulfil their dietary requirements.
A rabbit diet should contain 85% hay, 10% leafy greens and veggies, and 5% pellets.
In addition, you can serve fruits to your rabbit as an occasional treat once or twice a week, depending on your rabbit’s age and weight.
It is essential to avoid fruits and vegetables for small rabbits as they can’t digest them because of their sensitive gut system.
Rabbits consume according to their stage of growth and age. The recommended feeding amounts for the rabbit’s various life phases are shown here:
|Rabbit body weight||Hay||Vegetables|
(zucchini, cucumber, cabbage, bell pepper etc)
(Pasley, leafy green lettuce, basil, watercress, etc)
|1 to 4 pounds||Unlimited||1/2 to 2 tbsp||1/2 to 2 cups||1/8 cup|
|5 to 10 pounds||Unlimited||2.5 to 5 tbsp||2.5 to 5 cups||1/4 to 1/3 cup|
|11 to 15 pounds||Unlimited||5.5 to 7.5 tbsp||5.5 to 7.5 cups||3/4 cup|
Alfalfa hay is meant for young rabbits under the age of eight months or for very old, weak rabbits who are poor in specific nutrients.
Alfalfa hay can give the high levels of protein and calcium that small or young rabbits need for optimal growth.
For adult rabbits, you should provide timothy hay as it gives beneficial nutrients required in a rabbit’s diet.
Additionally, it has a low calcium level, making it more suitable for adult rabbits.
The high fibre and low protein content of Timothy Hay are crucial for the health of rabbits and small animals.
Switching the rabbit’s diet to Timothy hay between six months to one year is advised.
Timothy hay’s high protein and fibre content maintain the health of rabbits’ digestive systems.
Also read: How Often Should I Change My Rabbit Hay?
What food can I give to my rabbit?
The primary component of a rabbit’s daily diet is hay. A rabbit’s diet should consist of unlimited, premium hay, like Timothy, brome, and orchard.
For your rabbit’s dental and digestive health, we advise buying Oxbow Timothy Hay from Amazon, which has high-quality fibre and other advantageous nutrients.
However, alfalfa hay is not advised for adult rabbits because it is too high in calcium and protein, which is only beneficial for young rabbits for growth and development.
Also, providing access to fresh water to your rabbit is essential.
In addition, a continual supply of fresh, clean water should be available to your rabbits.
It is essential to provide fresh, good-quality hay, pellets, vegetables, and sometimes fruits as occasional treats in their diet for a healthy life span.
Every day, add a variety of leafy green vegetables to your pet rabbit’s diet.
As long as they don’t suffer diarrhoea and the veggies don’t contain a lot of carbohydrates like carrots and potatoes, rabbits can eat as much produce as they like daily.
Also, here are some essential things to feed your rabbit for their healthy life span:
Hay is the staple food of rabbits and should be provided high quality, fresh like timothy hay all the time.
A minimum of one large bundle of high-quality hay per day is required for rabbits.
For grazing, rabbits should preferably have access to either growing grass or kiln-dried grass.
However, Feeding your rabbits lawnmower clippings could make them sick, so it is essential to avoid it.
Here is some best hay that you can provide to your rabbit every day:
Providing timothy hay to your rabbit is a beneficial and healthy grass to feed for their healthy life span.
It is a very high-fibre, thick, coarse hay crucial for a rabbit’s diet.
The fact that it has a low calcium content makes it more suitable for adult rabbits.
Timothy, a cool-season grass, is appropriate for your rabbit with a sensitive digestive system.
In addition, timothy hay’s high protein and fibre content maintain rabbits’ digestive systems in good condition.
Also, there are first, second, and third cuttings of hay, which have different nutritional characteristics and are typical in timothy hay.
First cutting means the first crop of timothy hay cut in a year, containing the least fat, most fiber, and least quantity of protein.
If your rabbit is overweight, you should provide first-cut timothy hay to them as it is low in fiber and protein, which is good for their health.
However, do not provide it to an active rabbit as it is not the ideal option for them.
It has great fibre and little protein, both of which are necessary for a rabbit’s diet to be healthy.
It has several seed heads and various hard and soft leaves, which are also healthy for rabbit teeth.
Most vets and owners of pet rabbits advise the second cutting of timothy hay.
This typical hay provides adult rabbits with the ideal fat, fibre, and protein ratios.
This particular cut of hay contains more protein, more fat, and less fibre.
This cut can be the solution if your rabbit won’t eat grass.
The softest cut of Timothy’s hay is the third one.
It might work for you if your rabbit is a fussy eater and won’t consume Timothy hay with the first and second firmer stems clipped.
Although it contains less fibre than the second cut, it is still pretty lush.
Also read: Do Rabbits Need Hay Rack?
Orchard grass aids in the maintenance of the rabbit’s digestive system since it is low in protein, rich in fibre, has a sweet taste and smell, and has a soft texture.
Orchard grass, which grows in clusters and is more prone to dryness than Timothy hay, is another cool-season grass.
We advise purchasing premium Oxbow Orchard Grass Hay from Amazon since it is high in fibre, low in calcium and protein, and has a sweet flavour and aroma that will appeal to any rabbit’s senses.
Alfalfa hay is meant for small or young rabbits under the age of eight months or for very old, weak rabbits deficient in specific nutrients.
Timothy hay is grass hay, whereas alfalfa hay is legume hay with high levels of calcium and protein.
Alfalfa hay can give the high levels of protein and calcium that small or young rabbits need for optimal growth.
For your young rabbits, we advise utilizing Oxbow Alfalfa Hay for your rabbit from Amazon, which is high in fibre, an excellent source of protein, and fortified with vitamins and minerals for rabbits’ maximum health.
However, it is not advisable for adult rabbits to consume alfalfa hay since it can lead to weight gain because it often has short, choppy steam.
However, you can occasionally treat your rabbit to alfalfa hay if it is underweight.
Also read: Do Rabbits Need Hay For Bedding?
Oat hay is the highest fibre source. Rabbits often prefer eating oats; however, they occasionally nibble on hay stalks as well.
Oat wheat or barley, which is high in fibre and other minerals, is the main component of oat hay.
Additionally, it has a low protein content and may be excellent for your rabbit, but it has a high-fat content, which makes them gain weight.
Using oat hay in moderation or conjunction with other hay can be advantageous.
If a rabbit consumes a lot of oat hay, their pellets will be bigger, lighter in colour, and, when crushed, resemble sawdust.
Therefore, oat hay is a great GI Stasis preventive and beneficial to many rabbits.
We recommend using Oxbow Oat Hay for your rabbit, which you can easily find on amazon. It has a crunch texture and savoury flavour that pets adore, vital fibre to support digestive and dental health, and is free of artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives.
Also read: Why Is My Rabbit Only Eating Hay?
Since rabbits eat pellets and enjoy the taste, giving them tiny amounts of high-quality pellets is advisable.
Once a rabbit becomes an adult, pellets become optional as well.
As they offer a variety of vitamins and nutrients, pellets are essential for young and baby rabbits.
They are also calorie-dense. As the rabbit ages, the number of pellets must be decreased.
Also, if your rabbit stops eating pellets, don’t get alarmed.
In addition, pellets function similarly to supplements in that they can meet the nutrient needs of a rabbit’s diet.
High-quality pellets are thought to be beneficial for a rabbit’s growth.
However, giving your rabbit too many pellets might result in obesity, overweight, and other health problems.
When supplemented with daily fresh hay, clean water, a few handfuls of greens, and the occasional treat, premium pellets satisfy your rabbit’s nutritional needs.
Instead, consider giving the pellets in small amounts daily based on the rabbit’s weight.
Alfalfa pellets and hay should be offered to young rabbits under the age of 7-8 months since they require extra protein and calcium for growth.
Giving 1/8 to 1/4 cup of timothy pellets to every 5 pounds (2.25 kg) of body weight is suitable.
However, providing a pellet-based diet or overfeeding pellets can cause soft stools and weight gain or disturbs their GI tract because it contains high carbs and low fibre, which is not suitable in large quantity for rabbits.
Also, for rabbits, muesli-style foods are not advised.
Choose high-quality hay-based pellets over a muesli mix, which is often hazardous for rabbits and promotes selective feeding.
Also read: Do Rabbits Need Pellets?
A handful of safe, thoroughly cleaned leafy green vegetables, herbs, and weeds according to the size of an adult rabbit must be provided to them every day.
Although hay provides tons of fibre and nutrients, adding leafy green veggies can give extra nutrients to round up your rabbit’s diet.
You should serve one cup of greens to a healthy adult rabbit for every two pounds of its body weight.
It’s best to choose two or three different vegetables.
As rabbits have sensitive digestive systems, it is essential to introduce one new vegetable at a time and check for any indications of loose stools or diarrhoea.
While you can provide certain veggies daily, others should only be given occasionally, such as once or twice per week.
Here are some safe and beneficial leafy greens and vegetables that you can provide to your rabbit daily:
- Bell peppers
- Radish leaves
- Brussels sprouts.
- Leaf lettuce
- Brussels sprouts
- Romaine lettuce (red and green)
- Bak Choy leaves
- Sprouts: radish, alfalfa, clover
- Herbs ( cilantro, mint, dill)
Do not provide vegetables to small, young rabbits.
Any vegetables served to a rabbit at an incorrect age may irritate its stomach.
In addition, a rabbit requires time to become used to a new diet.
The rabbit would have chewed on these vegetables after it was four weeks old. But, in moderation, their stomachs can handle them.
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Romaine Lettuce Hearts?
You should provide fruits to your rabbit as an occasional treat once or twice a week only because it contains a high amount of sugar and starch, which causes weight gain and other health issues.
The most excellent healthy treats for your rabbit include fruits and other foods.
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Bananas?
They will give them extra nutrition to ensure they receive the full complement of the required vitamins and minerals.
Per five pounds of body weight, a serving size of one to two teaspoons of fruit (of either one type or a combination of types) is recommended.
Like veggies, you should introduce the fruits gradually and one at a time in your rabbit’s diet.
To add value to your rabbit’s commercial treats, be sure they are nutrient-dense.
But you should keep them to no more than 10% of your rabbit’s total daily caloric intake.
So, here are some safe fruits to feed your once or twice a week to your rabbit:
- Apple ( with no seeds)
- Cherries (with no seeds)
Do not feed small rabbits fruits until they are three months old.
Due to their fragile digestive systems, little rabbits cannot digest fruits and vegetables.
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Pineapples?
What to feed rabbits by age?
The staple diet of a rabbit should contain unlimited, high-quality hay every day.
As a tiny portion of your rabbit’s diet, give it high-quality timothy or alfalfa-based pellets.
Hay should be given to young rabbits as soon as they can eat on their own.
Timothy or mixed grass hay is popular because it has less calcium and calories than alfalfa, which is beneficial for rabbits.
A range of foods must be consumed, including one daily serving of vitamin A, to provide the nutrients that your rabbit requires.
You should add at least one veggie at a time, including it in the diet.
If it results in soft stools or diarrhoea, introduce it gradually and remove it.
A rabbit’s diet needs high-quality pellets, fresh hay (Timothy, oat, or other grass hays), water, and fresh produce.
Anything more than that should only be given in moderation as a treat.
However, smaller rabbits than adult rabbits have more sensitive gastrointestinal systems, depending on their diet.
Additionally, a rabbit’s main food varies depending on its age.
So, the chart below shows the dietary requirements according to the rabbit’s age:
|Stages||Rabbit’s age||Dietary requirements|
|Small or young rabbit||Under six months||– Handful of alfalfa hay |
– Unlimited Timothy hay
– Alfalfa-based pellets
– Fresh, clean water
|Teenage rabbit||Six months||– Slowly reduce the number of alfalfa pellets and hay|
– Switch to timothy-based pellets
– Unlimited timothy hay
– Slowly introduce fruits and vegetables once at a time
– Fresh, clean water
|Adult rabbit||Above six months||– Unlimited timothy hay|
– Timothy-based pellets ( 1/8 – 1/4 cup )
– Fruits in a small quantity ( once or twice/ week)
– Fresh leafy green vegetables ( 3 quarter of a cup )
– Fresh, clean water
|Mature adult rabbit||Above 1 year||– Unlimited timothy, oat, grass hay|
– Timothy-based pellets (1/4 to 1/2 cup per 6 lbs. )
– Fresh leafy green vegetables ( 2 cups chopped vegetables per 6 lbs )
– Fruits in a small quantity (2 Tbsp per 6 lbs.)
– Fresh, clean water
|Senior rabbit||Over six years||– Continue adult diet ( to maintain proper weight)|
– Unlimited Timothy pellets ( To maintain weight )
– Alfalfa hay once or twice a week ( if the rabbit is underweight and the calcium level is normal)
– Fresh, clean water
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Grapes?
What should you avoid feeding your rabbit?
Although rabbits are herbivorous creatures, they may not be able to eat all kinds of fruits, vegetables, or greens.
Some fruits and vegetables are toxic to rabbit health and can cause life-threatening issues.
So, here are some food items that you should never serve to your rabbit, which could cause health problems:
- Chocolates: Chocolates contain caffeine and Theobromine, which is entirely toxic for rabbits.
- Potatoes: Potatoes have a large amount of starch and carbohydrates, which is harmful to rabbits as it slows down the gastrointestinal system of rabbits.
- Avocados: Do not serve avocados to rabbits as it contains a poisonous substance known as persin, which is deadly for a rabbit to consume.
- Iceberg Lettuce: A substance called lactucarium found in icebergs can be harmful to rabbits.
- Mushrooms: Any form of mushroom should not be consumed by rabbits as wild, and store-bought mushrooms are dangerous for rabbits.
- Broad & kidney beans: These vegetables can upset your rabbit’s sensitive digestive tract since they are so strong in protein and carbohydrates and may result in bloating diarrhoea and discomfort in the abdomen.
- Fruit seeds: The most well-known fruits that contain cyanide in their pits are apples and pears, but other fruits such as apricots, peaches, plums, mangoes, and cherry pits also do. Fruit seeds and pits often only contain a small quantity of cyanide, but it is still preferable to avoid giving them to rabbits.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are low in fibre and high in fat, which may upset your rabbit’s stomach.
- Peanut Butter: The high-fat peanut butter should be avoided, like walnuts. The creamy treat won’t accomplish anything for rabbits other than stomach pain.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower makes rabbits gassy and bloated even though veggies perfectly complete the high-fibre hay that rabbit diets demand.
- Rhubarb: Rabbits who consume this overall garden plant raw risk becoming poisoned. A rabbit’s consumption of raw rhubarb could result in health and life-threatening issues.
- Oatmeals: Oatmeal is not a good diet for rabbits, but it won’t harm them much. Oatmeal offers little to improve the nutritional content of a rabbit’s diet; instead, they require a lot of Timothy hay, healthy greens, and fresh water.
- Silverbeet: Similar to iceberg lettuce, your rabbit should stay away from silverbeet, also known as chard. It would be best to substitute it with high-fibre fruits, vegetables, and herbs because it can make your rabbit bloated and experience colic.
- Cereal: Cereal, such as muesli, and rice, a manufactured diet comprised of flakes, maize, peas, pellets, grains, and seeds, can cause teeth and digestive issues in rabbits.
- Dairy products: Yogurt drops and other dairy products like milk should not be given to your rabbits as they could cause Gastrointestinal problems.
- Pasta, bread, cookies: Your rabbit will only be “treated” to digestive problems by these high-carb, sugary snacks. Avoid foods heavy in sugar or artificial components, such as yoghurt drops, to prevent enterotoxemia.
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Rice?
How often should I feed my rabbit?
Rabbits should always have unlimited access to hay and fresh water in their surroundings.
Around 80–90% of your rabbits’ diet should consist of hay.
They should always have access to food because it maintains healthy teeth and digestive systems.
Also, your rabbit needs a lot of vegetables in its diet; you should give it about three servings daily.
Give your rabbits a few high-quality pellets or nuggets every day, according to your rabbit’s age and weight.
In addition, pellets are utilized to enhance your rabbit’s dietary nutrition.
Provide them with the correct amount; for every kg of your rabbit’s body weight, measure 25g (an eggcup’s worth) of pellets.
Similarly, you should provide fruits as an occasional treat once or twice a week.
Also read: Why Is My Rabbit Not Eating?
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Potatoes?
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli?
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Mango?
Also read: Can Rabbits Eat Papaya?
- A rabbit diet should contain 85% hay, 10% leafy greens and veggies, and 5% pellets.
- The staple diet of a rabbit should be hay. It is rich in fibre and has no calories required to maintain a proper digestive system and teeth health.
- You can serve fruits to your rabbit as an occasional treat once or twice a week, depending on your rabbit’s age and weight.
- Although hay provides tons of fibre and nutrients, adding leafy green veggies can give extra nutrients to round up your rabbit’s diet.
- Do not provide fruits and vegetables to the small rabbit as they can’t digest them because of their sensitive digestive system.