Rabbits have become one of people’s favorite pets because they are cute and cuddly. They are also ideal if you are looking for a small, docile animal that doesn’t take up much space, keeps you company and is easy to care for. Rabbits are perfect for children to learn to take care of animals and to take responsibilities, they will enjoy these little animals at the same time they learn and mature.
Although they are animals that do not require special care, they are still living beings, and they have some needs that we must take care of. One of the factors that may need your attention to a greater extent is the feeding of rabbits, so we must know what rabbits eat. You need to look for the diet that best suits your furry companion for a long and healthy life.
Rabbits have two pairs of upper incisors that grow rapidly, and they need to eat often to wear them down. When you welcome this pet into your home, it is important that you take it to the veterinarian for a check-up and to recommend different foods that can help its growth and health. It is necessary that your rabbit eats about twice a day with a balanced diet based on hay, feed, vegetables and fruit. It is not advisable to feed them only with feed and in excess, since they can develop obesity. In addition to knowing what rabbits eat, you also need to know that you should constantly provide them with clean, fresh water so that they can hydrate themselves.
What do free-range rabbits eat?
Rabbits in their natural state are prepared to ingest large amounts of fibrous material, with a very low percentage of fat, carbohydrates and proteins. This amount of fiber maintains good motility of the intestine. The rabbit’s digestive tract has a large cecum with a population of bacteria that ferments the hay and releases the nutrients for the rabbit to utilize. Any significant change in the rabbit’s diet alters the intestinal motility, this affects the colonies of beneficial bacteria and produces an overgrowth of the harmful ones, causing constipation and intoxication that could lead, in the worst case, to the death of the animal.
What do domestic rabbits eat?
If you have wondered what domestic rabbits eat, it is essential to know that rabbits are vegetarian animals, so you have to feed them only plant-based food.
The feeding of domestic rabbits should be based on a combination of nutrients of different proportions:
- A minimum of 70% good quality, dry hay that not only feeds him, but also keeps him busy by helping him wear down his teeth. Did you know that rabbits’ teeth don’t stop growing throughout their lives?
- Between 15 and 20% of fresh food such as greens and vegetables. Vegetables with a lot of water should be avoided as they can affect their digestive system. It is best to feed dark leafy greens, they love lettuce!
- Between 10 and 15% of feed, in the form of pellets or mixture, avoiding that it does not contain any ingredient of animal origin and always in small handfuls. In Tiendanimal you have the best brands of feed for rabbits and rodents to have a healthy and happy companion.
Although fruits are a food that is part of the rabbits’ diet due to their fiber content, it is better not to exceed two or three pieces a week, since it is a food that contains a lot of sugar.
What does a dwarf rabbit or toy rabbit eat?
Dwarf rabbits or toy rabbits are the most active and restless breed of rabbit, which is why it is necessary to take care of their diet throughout their life and, above all, avoid some foods that can be harmful to them.
From 0 to 3 months, a toy rabbit should be fed only hay, which helps it to develop its teeth, to regulate its digestion thanks to its fiber content and to grow in a healthy way. From 3 months onwards, vegetables can be introduced, at most twice a week, feed and fruit can be included, also occasionally, and cereals should be avoided.
When the animal is an adult, feed intake should be reduced and fruit and vegetable intake increased. Finally, for the more senior animals, hay should continue to be their main source of food, and fruit and vegetable intake should be reduced. They should also continue to be fed a feed with a high percentage of fiber, free of cereals and grains and low in sugars.
What do baby rabbits eat?
Feeding baby rabbits must first go through mother’s milk until they are 7 weeks old. What baby rabbits eat is an important question if you have just adopted a newborn rabbit or if your animal has had offspring. If it is not possible to provide the rabbits with this food, you should prepare a formula with goat’s milk, using a bottle and avoiding using ingredients that can cause diarrhea.
If the baby rabbit is unable to feed on its mother’s milk, it will need to be attended to and watched to see if it is hungry. To know if a baby rabbit is full, it is best to observe its tummy and if it is rounded in shape, it is already well fed.
From the third week, some fresh grass should be added in addition to milk, allowing the animal to eat it. From week 5 onwards, milk intake will be reduced and hay, vegetables and greens will be increased, always in small quantities and under supervision.
In the eighth week he will start weaning and he can be fed with vegetables, hay, feed and fruits. Do not forget to put a bowl with fresh water for him to drink at his own pace and when he is thirsty.
How many times a day does a rabbit eat?
As a general rule, rabbits usually eat twice a day, but it is an animal that, if you let it, could spend all day eating.
How much a rabbit eats per day is determined by the breed and weight of the rabbit, which also affects the distribution and schedule of the animal’s meals. The most important food is hay, and vegetables and fruits should be varied in their intake in order to have a more complete and diverse diet.
How much does a rabbit eat per day?
Ideally, the rabbit should eat around 150 grams of hay, 100 grams of vegetables per kilo of weight of the animal and 30 grams of feed per kilo of weight as a reference, although these amounts will vary depending on the weight, breed and size of the rabbit.
What fruits do rabbits eat?
Rabbits can only be fed fruits 1 to 2 times per week due to their high sugar content, and always in small quantities.
Although they love fruits, not all of them are good for them, and it is ideal to vary the fruits to see which ones they like the most. In addition, it is very advisable to give them fruits with peel because they are more nutritious, with the exception of pineapple and banana. Finally, it is necessary to avoid that they ingest the seeds of the fruits, since they contain cyanide and can be poisonous for them.
Some of the fruits they can eat are:
What vegetables do rabbits eat?
Rabbits, being herbivorous animals, love greens and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables. Other types of vegetables are best given in smaller quantities, between 1 and 2 times per week.
Among the vegetables that rabbits can eat are:
- Carrot leaves.
- Radish leaves.
- Lamb’s lettuce.
- Broccoli leaves and stem.
- Swiss chard.
What plants do rabbits eat?
Stems and green leaves should be part of the regular diet of rabbits, as they are high in fiber and have a very low caloric intake. Herbs are also part of the rabbits’ diet, and it is very common to be able to find them in the street or even plant them at home.
In case of collecting them from the street, it is important to cut them and not pull them up by the roots, as well as to avoid crowded areas where other animals urinate. Washing them before giving them to the animal is essential to avoid intoxication.
Some of the plants that rabbits eat are:
What don’t rabbits eat?
Just as there are many fruits, vegetables and plants suitable for rabbits, there are also many foods that are strictly forbidden for rabbits because they are dangerous, cause indigestion or even make them sick.
The foods that rabbits do not eat are usually those with the highest sugar content, as well as carbohydrates. Any industrial food intended for humans is strictly forbidden to be given to rabbits, such as cookies or bread.
Finally, dairy products are also not recommended for rabbits, especially cow’s milk, as well as derivatives such as butter or cheese.
Prohibited foods for rabbits
The forbidden foods for rabbits we have seen that they can be vegetables as well as fruits and plants, some of which can even be toxic for the animal.
Keeping in mind the foods that your rabbit cannot ingest will avoid many health problems such as indigestion, diarrhea that can lead to dehydration, anemia, tumors, kidney, intestinal and brain problems.
The vegetables that a rabbit should not eat are:
- Sweet potato.
- Iceberg lettuce.
Fruits that are not recommended for rabbits are:
- Fruit in syrup.
- Fruits with seeds.
- Stone fruits.
Finally, some of the plants toxic to rabbits are:
- Aloe Vera.
- Tea leaves.
Rabbit feed and rations according to age
- Up to 3 weeks of age: breast milk only.
- From 3 to 4 weeks: breast milk and alfalfa snacks and pellets.
- From 4 to 7 weeks: breast milk and access to alfalfa and pellets.
- From 7 weeks to 7 months: unlimited amount of pellets and hay. At 12 weeks introduce vegetables one by one (20 g at a time).
- From 7 months to 1 year: introduce other types of hay (oats, grasses) and decrease alfalfa. Limit pellets to half a cup per 3 kg of body weight. Increase the daily amount of vegetables and give approximately 50 g of some fruit (no more so as not to exceed in calories).
- From 1 to 5 years: unlimited amount of hay, a quarter to a half cup of pellets every 3 kg of body weight, at least 2 cups of crushed vegetables every 3 kg and about 60 g of fruits.
- Over 6 years of age: if they maintain their body weight, the feeding of the rabbit should continue to be the same as when adult. Weaker or older rabbits may need more pellets to maintain their weight (unlimited quantity). If they are overweight, alfalfa can be given, as long as their serum calcium levels are normal. Annual blood checks are recommended for geriatric rabbits.
If less pellets are given to the adults, it should be compensated by increasing the portion of vegetables, which have the same nutritional value but less calories. Rabbits should be encouraged to eat a portion of straw every day, always offering them some fresh hay.
If your rabbit eats a balanced diet and has great vitality and energy, you can occasionally pick up some attractive treats to surprise him and complete his diet even more. Snacks, tasty treats and delicious baked seed bars (made from natural vegetables) are another complementary food that rabbits eat on a daily basis. These tasty treats give your rabbit an extra serving of nutrients and vitamins, and he will greatly enjoy their different flavors. What better way to reward your beloved rabbit than with some carrot Snabbles or some delicious Loloburguers? What about you? What do you usually feed your rabbit?