Rabbit Nutrition

Diet is probably the most important way to promote good health in bunnies. Our rabbits originate from dry grasslands in Spain and so nature has designed them to eat low nutrition food with a high fibre content. Their teeth are continuously growing (1-2mm a week) and their guts process their food twice to extract all that they need.

Commercial Diets

Commercial diets are often a major contributing factor in digestive, dental, obesity and facial abscess problems, so please wean your rabbits off these. The best diet is grass, hay and grean leafy vegetables. Anything which you bring in to the diet, bring in slowly. Any commercial food should be phased out slowly (and completely) over 2-3 weeks. By chewing on vegetables and hay, this helps rabbits grind down their constantly growing teeth and maintain good dental health. If rabbits don’t have the opportunity to grind down their teeth they become too long and start growing outwards into their cheeks and tongues and commonly cause abscesses. At this point, medical attention would be required to burr down their teeth and treat any related conditions.

Hay

There are many good hays and dry grasses on the market – Meadow hays, Timothy hay, Herb hays, Redigrass etc. Hay should smell pleasant and not be damp or mouldy. Horse suppliers and farms often have excellent hays and a large bale can be bought for just a few pounds (the price normally varies through the year depending on supply). Make it more of a game for your rabbit to get their hay by stuffing it into the centre of a kitchen towel roll or an old cardboard paper tissue box

Grass

Grass makes excellent food and is ideal for the teeth and gut. You can either put your bunny on the lawn or hand pick grass. NEVER feed grass clipping – this can be fatal.

Green Leafy Vegetables

These can include broccoli, curly kale, cabbage, outside cauliflower leaves, celery leaves, tops of beetroot and of carrots, garden mint, coriander etc.

Other Interesting Treats

Branches from SEEDED – fruit trees e.g. apple or pear trees (NOT stone-fruit tress e.g. plum or cherry – these are poisonous). Don’t chop up the branches, just let them strip away the bark and leaves – they’ll have a great time getting their food!

If the diet is correct, then bunny should produce lots of dry pellets of poo and you shouldn’t see any of the sticky ones (although they will still be produced and dealt with correctly!)

For a full list of the plant types toxic to rabbits click here.

 

Prevention is always better than cure! If you would like to a rabbit health check and discuss your rabbit’s dietary requirements, please feel free to call the surgery on 0121 705 3044 and book an appointment with our veterinary surgeon “Deborah Hope” at “Solihull” or “Bentley Heath”.