FAQ: Feeding Rabbits

James Glover
by James Glover
View Biography
 

Feeding is the most important aspect of being a rabbit owner. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the proper feeding of rabbits.

How important is correct feeding?
This governs the health and general well-being of your pet. Most beginners will tend to overfeed their rabbits, making them ill. Other than pregnant does, most rabbits need to be fed only once per day. If you feed at a regular time of day your rabbit will soon be used to a routine.

How much food does a rabbit need?
Once ounce of food per pound of body weight is the norm. However, rabbits have very unique metabolic systems. Some dwarf breeds require 4 ounces per day, and some require only 1.5 ounces or less. The required amount should be deduced by starting at one ounce of food per pound of body weight and weight and condition should be monitored on a weekly basis. If the rabbit feels thin or too fat, increase or decrease the quantity accordingly. Younger rabbits generally require more food per pound of body weight than adult rabbits.

Mini Lop Rabbit

What do wild rabbits eat?
Wild rabbits always seem to be in the peak of condition. They eat almost anything that grows, right down to the roots. Wild rabbits seem to be aware of which plants are poisonous to eat.

What is a balanced diet for a rabbit?
A balanced diet for an average rabbit is a mixture of good quality hay, pellets and raw vegetables. It is generally recommended that as a rabbit matures, hay and vegetables should be a greater proportion of their diet.

What health problems are caused by a poor diet?
Bowel upsets are the most common result of a poor diet. When buying your rabbit, you should ask how it was previously fed. This way, you can gradually change its diet over to your preferred option. Serious illness can result from a sudden change in diet.

How many vegetables should they ideally have?
A rabbit's diet should consist of between 20% and 40% vegetables. This can be varied day-to-day. Your rabbit should always have available a good selection of raw vegetables. Dark leaved vegetables (such as cabbage) and root vegetables (like carrots) are a good choice.

(Continued on next page)