Below are our top tips & tricks on how to feed rabbits. Tips to keep your rabbits happy & healthy. All you need to know from foods that stimulate their appetite to encouraging them to eat more hay.
Always check your bunny is eating
Never just walk away. Check they are interested in their food and eating as normal. The minute you see a change in behaviour, observe them closely, as this can indicate your rabbit is not well. If you are unsure what to do, take them to a vet asap.
Foods that help stimulate their appetite
If you need to encourage your rabbit to eat, try foods like fresh parsley, freshly picked grass & dandelions, milk thistle or brambles.
Hay is so important to a rabbit’s diet
It keeps their digestive system healthy & moving & also keeps their teeth from overgrowing. So make hay the number one food for your rabbit & make sure they have a constant supply available to them. A massive 80% of their daily diet should be hay.
Introduce new food slowly
Rabbits have sensitive stomachs, so you should always introduce new foods to your rabbit slowly. A sudden change to their diet can really upset their stomachs.
Pick some fresh grass for your rabbit.
If your rabbit does not have access to fresh grass, then pick some. Remember to introduce it to their diet slowly. Never feed grass cuttings from the lawn mower to your rabbit, as the grass ferments and can cause health issues.
Straw has no nutritional value to rabbits
Straw only benefits rabbits by keeping them extra warm in winter, as straw insulates better than hay. Never give a rabbit just straw. Always make sure your rabbit has access to hay 24 hours a day!
Encourage your rabbit to eat hay
Not all rabbits are great hay eaters, so some will need encouraging. Make a tasty hay mix out of meadow hay and timothy hay & maybe a grass hay too. Mix in some dried herbs also.
Place hay racks next to litter trays
Bunnies love to graze on hay whilst pooping. Place hay racks near their litter trays, but also keep lots of hay in their litter tray. Don’t worry about it becoming soiled. Bunnies tend to just soil a certain end or corner of a litter tray, so hay placed away from this area will remain unsoiled.
Keep the fresh hay topped up
Don’t just top up hay racks in the mornings.
Top up with fresh hay at night also, as bunnies will be awake & grazing on hay as early as 5am.
Use the old hay as bedding.
Always choose good quality pellets
Look for pellets that have at least 18% of fibre. Stay clear of muesli style feeds as rabbits tend to leave bits they don’t like and are therefore not getting all the nutrients they need.
Never keep your rabbits food bowl filled up with pellets
Pellets should only make up 10% of your rabbit’s diet, so don’t worry that the bowl is empty. This will help encourage your rabbit to eat hay.
Provide fresh water daily.
Rabbits need fresh water every day. Provide a water bowl & bottle, until you know which your rabbit prefers to drink from.
Feed them natural treats only
Check the ingredients and the colour of treats in shops & always go for 100% natural. Treats that are bright in colour are very unlikely to be made from natural ingredients.
Limit their treats
Just like a dog, bunnies will beg for more treats & it is important not to give in. The trick is to avoid eye contact.
Don’t overfeed a rabbit with vegetables
Vegetables should make up around 10% of your rabbit’s diet. Too much can upset their stomach and cause many problems.
Carrots & fruit should be fed as a small treat only
As they are both high in sugar and can cause obesity & bad teeth, which then lead to other kinds of health issues.
Grow your own vegetables
You don’t need a big garden, just a few pots to plant some tasty herbs or even grow dandelions.
Pick natural food for your rabbits
It’s great to pick natural foods for your rabbits when possible. Dandelions, Brambles, Plantain, & Milk Thistle are all great for your rabbits digestion. Make sure you are 100% sure of exactly what you are picking for your rabbit and remember to wash it.
Check your rabbits droppings
Rabbit droppings will tell you a lot about if their diet is suiting them. If they are producing large round dry droppings, that’s great. If the droppings are small or sqidgy, reduce the pellets and veg a little & increase the hay.