Gone are the days where a pet rabbit was kept outside in a cage and fed a diet of carrots and seedy stuff from the pet store. Just like our other companion animals, our knowledge on the diets of these long eared critters has improved exponentially over years.
Rabbits need a diet consisting of high fibre roughage with long particles in it to help with the health of their digestive tract and with their teeth. This is where HAY comes in.
HAY should be the major part of your rabbits diet (80%) and not all hays are equal. The time of year it is grown, the way it is packaged, and the type of grass used in the hay all make a difference in the way it smells and tastes.
Good quality oaten hay is the best option for your bunny. It is reasonably sweet and tasty without having too many calories, calcium or protein. It should be purchased in a bale, not in a bag; bagged pet store hay is often old, dusty and even mouldy at times which can make your bunny unwell. In the absence of oaten hay, you can consider feeding a good quality grass hay, again aim to get it in a bale.
Hay should be stored in a weather proof location such as a shed or house however it can be a target for pesky rodents to move in. Using a soft bale bag may be appropriate, however if rodents are a potential problem, then you are best using a large plastic tub (or few), drilling some ventilation air holes and storing your bale in there.
Other hays such as lucerne, clover and timothy can be used a treat hays in small amounts.
GREENS are the next most important part of the diet and should make up around 20%. Greens include all our leafy vegetables such as bok choi, celery and even grass. These foods provide our friends with more interest and are higher in water content than hay. Occasional some individuals may get upset tummies from certain greens so it is important to discuss any tummy issues with you vet.
TREATS are the last part of the diet that we all admit we love feeding to our pets; the process of feeding your cheeky little bunny a delicious sultana will make you friends for life, but be careful not to overdo it. Treats include colourful veggies, fruits as well as pelleted foods. Treats should make up no more than about 1-2 tablespoons per day and can be used as a bonding exercise between human and rabbit.
And of course we also have WATER which is very important for any animal to have access to. Drink bottles, bowls or even one of each may be provided and should be checked regularly to ensure clean fresh water is available at all times.
Diet is such an important part for any pet’s wellness and rabbits are absolutely no exception. We have plenty of more information available about companion rabbits and we welcome you to contact us at one of our clinics to discuss further with our team! With a good quality diet we can help keep your bunny happy and healthy for many years to come.