Rabbit Diet Recommendations
Feeding recommendations for rabbits are pretty simple. Think of your rabbit as sort of a small hopping horse. Both animals are “hind gut fermenters.” They have a large caecum, which is like an oversized appendix, to digest foods that are fairly coarse such as grasses, hays, and stem-like plants. Rabbits possess bacteria in their caecum which can break down these cellulose containing foods to liberate the much needed energy and nutrients these foods contain. The more simple foods such as grains and fresh greens provide more simple carbohydrates which are easily digested and do not promote the healthy cellulose-digesting bacteria of the hind gut fermenter. So basically, the more treats of fruits, veggies, mueslix, yogurt drops, etc that you provide the more likely the rabbit will develop improper digestive organisms. This leads to a syndrome called dysbiosis…which loosely translates into abnormal bacteria. This can be a life threatening or fatal condition for rabbits since they no longer have the proper bacteria to provide digestive processing of high fiber foods. In addition, soft fruits and vegetables in excess do not allow for proper grinding of the cheek teeth. This can lead to problems with upper respiratory disease affecting the lacrimal ducts, eye discharge, ocular infections, tooth root abscesses, overgrown teeth, anorexia and death. So let’s give our rabbits a high fiber diet with minimal simple sugars.
Free choice hay at all times (Timothy hay, Sudan grass, Orchard grass)
¼ cup of rabbit pellets (preferably Timothy hay pellets)
1 small treat a day of a dark leafy green (kale, boy choy, chard, endive, collards, carrot tops, etc), it should constitute less than 5% of the whole diet