What do Rabbits Eat to Have a Healthy Diet?

A small white rabbit next to a bundle of lettuce If you are new to raising rabbits, you may wonder what rabbits eat beyond carrots and hay. Just like humans, rabbits enjoy a variety of fresh vegetables and even fruit along with hay varieties. A proper diet will support a healthy digestive system that may be naturally sensitive to new foods. Along with fresh food, rabbits can be fed rabbit pellets in small amounts. New Heritage Feed Co. has a complete rabbit pellet designed to boost your rabbit’s nutrition naturally. The rabbit food is ideal for all stages of your rabbit’s life, with no added antibiotics or medications. Let’s explore what to feed your rabbits need to maintain a healthy diet, so they thrive from youth to adults.

Rabbits Need Access to Fresh Hay

A rabbit with flop ears eating hay Hay is a staple in the rabbits’ diet, whether they are young rabbits or adult rabbits. Hay is a source of fiber for the rabbit and aids in digestion. Hay is also essential in wearing down their teeth and keeping them at the proper length. If they don’t have access to hay, they can end up with serious dental issues or diseases. You may notice that they tend to graze more at dawn and dusk. This is their natural rhythm. Rabbits graze on hay, so they should have unlimited access to hay at all times. Ideal hay is good grass hay, such as oat hay. It is acceptable to give your rabbit just one type of grass hay or mix a variety. When purchasing hay for your pet rabbit, make sure you are considering how fresh the grass is and if there is any mold. Any signs of contamination could make the rabbit ill. When questioning what do rabbits eat, some pet owners wonder about alfalfa hay. It is not ideal for adult rabbits as it is rich and tough on the digestive tract. It is fine to give them once in a while, considered as a dessert or treat.

They Must Have Fresh Water

Two rabbits drinking water from a stainless steel bowl Rabbits need to have access to fresh, clean drinking water. It is a good idea to check their water twice a day to ensure it is not getting low. You should change the water at least daily. It is best to clean out the water container with soap and water a couple of times a week so it does not gather mold. It may be easier to use bowls versus water bottles as they are easier to clean.

What do Rabbits Eat? Lots of Vegetables!

A rabbit eating lettuce from a basket filled with fruits and vegetables. After hay, vegetables are the most popular source of nutrition in the rabbit’s diet. Many leafy greens are suitable to feed rabbits, and they are tolerated well. As a general rule of thumb, rabbits can be provided about 1 cup of vegetables per day per 2 lbs of body weight. Just like humans, rabbits enjoy a variety of vegetables so that you can feed them 2 or 3 different options at a time. It is a good idea to introduce new vegetables one at a time, so their digestive tract gets used to the new options as they are added. You should avoid certain vegetables. Included in the list are potatoes, nuts, and corn. The following vegetables can be given to rabbits every day to enjoy. Remember to wash them well before giving them to the rabbit:
  • Zucchini
  • Watercress
  • Sprouts
  • Okra Leaves
  • Most herbs
  • Fennel
  • Cucumber
  • Bok Choy
  • Bell Pepper

Rabbits Can Enjoy Fruits Sparingly

Fruits can be given to rabbits but should only be provided once or twice per week because they are high in sugar. It is safe to give one to two tablespoons of fruit per five pounds of body weight as a general rule. Most fruits are fine but introduce them slowly, one type of fruit at a time to make sure the rabbit is tolerating the fruit well.

Rabbit Pellets in Moderation

Rabbit pellets from New Heritage Feed Co. Rabbits can enjoy rabbit pellets as a supplement to hay and fruits and vegetables. You should feed the average rabbit approximately a quarter cup of pellets per day. Smaller rabbits can get by with about an eighth of a cup per day. If the rabbit is underweight, growing, nursing, or pregnant, they may need a higher quantity. Consult with a veterinarian and always follow the feeding guidelines set by the manufacturer.

Are There Any Foods to Avoid?

A tan rabbit in an open field Some foods are considered off-limits to rabbits. They can be harmful and make the rabbit quite ill if ingested. Avoid feeding the rabbit any of the following items:
  • Any items considered human treats
  • Cereal
  • Beans
  • Crackers
  • Chocolate
  • Seeds
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Sugar
  • Yogurt

Can I Give My Rabbit Any Treats?

A small white rabbit with a store-bought treat. Rabbits enjoy special treats just like humans. But just like us, Rabbits should only enjoy them once in a while because most have a high sugar content. Some healthy treats that you can feed your pet rabbit include dried fruit or even dried flowers. There are also store-bought rabbit treats you can give your rabbit on occasion. It is wise to read labels just like you do for your food and check for high sugar content, artificial ingredients, and added preservatives. Avoid anything unhealthy to keep your rabbit healthy.

Where Can I Find Out More on Raising Thriving Rabbits

Four fluffy tan rabbits. New Heritage Feed Co. understands what your rabbits need to eat as well as what it takes to raise them into adulthood. We have nutritional rabbit food to supplement their diet that you can feed them throughout their life span. Our blog is your resource for everything you need for raising animals, whether you are a pet owner, hobby farmer, or commercial farmer. We have you covered on a variety of topics and interests. No matter the animal you are raising, we hope to be your partner for life. We care about building a happy, healthy, and sustainable community together!