In the wild, rabbits will eat grass almost 24 hours a day. The perfect diet for rabbits is GRASS – and lots of it. The second most appropriate diet is HAY (i.e. DRIED GRASS!). Each rabbit should be provided with enough hay daily to ensure they can have access to fresh hay at all times. Bear in mind that if the hay is on the floor of the cage, once it has been soiled the rabbit will no longer eat it.
Hay can be supplemented with a very small amount of good quality rabbit pellets (approximately a tablespoon a day), and fresh vegetables or herbs. A full list of appropriate vegetables is included at the bottom of this page.
Poor nutrition in rabbits will lead to health problems, especially dental problems and obesity – we cannot stress enough the importance of correct feeding!
Many pet rabbits in this country are not fed an adequate diet and will develop tooth problems as a consequence. Rabbit teeth continue to grow throughout life, and are kept at an appropriate length by chewing grass or hay. Dental overgrowth will eventually results in inappetance and can also result in bone changes in the jaw. Often, dental disease is not curable and affected rabbits will need ongoing treatment and repeat dental work for the rest of their lives.
Choosing a rabbit pellet:
Prepared dried mixes are not advisable and the fact that they are so widely available tends to give people the wrong impression regarding their suitability. Whilst theoretically nutritionally correct, rabbits will often just pick out the bits of the food they prefer and so will not achieve a nutritional balance. Also, filling up on the dry mix means they become full and do not have the natural inclination to graze on grass and it is this grazing which is essential to wear down the rabbit’s teeth.
Pellet foods also have a good quantity of fibre, which is essential for healthy bacterial growth in the large intestine. Please ask us for advice on an appropriate pelleted food.