We get asked a lot what we feed our buns, how many treats per day is considered ok and which plants around the home are safe and edible for the furkids.
Below are our own adaptions and opinions, and you should always do your own research and even consider consulting with your exotics vet before altering your pets diet.
Rabbits need to eat hay, lots of hay!
Hay (including grass if your bun spends time outdoors) is packed full of fibre which is what keeps their digestive system moving. Hay also helps to keep their teeth trim from the grinding action. A rabbits teeth never stop growing!
Hay is essential and will make up 80-90% of your rabbits diet, below are hay types available in Australia;
- Oaten Hay
- Meadow Hay
- Timothy Hay (imported from USA or UK)
- Lucerne Hay as a treat only (Known in other countries as alfalfa hay) but can be given in larger quantities to lactating does and kits up to 12 weeks of age. Lucerne hay is rich in calcium, which can lead to bladder sludge/bladder stones and even GI Stasis from being too rich for their delicate stomach.
Give your rabbit a fresh pile of hay daily, ideally they should be eating a pile of hay the size of themselves per day.
It’s a good idea to give a little more fresh hay at night before bed to encourage them to eat more during the night.
Tip: If you place your hay in or above the litter tray they will be litter trained much faster. Rabbits like to poop and pee where they eat. Makes sense, considering how much time they spend at the hay bar munching away!
Hay is best sourced from a local stockfeed, you can buy your hay in either small bags or full bales. Store fresh hay in a large storage container, new wheelie bin or a bale buddy bag.
Pellets & Vegetables
Pellets & Vegetables will make up only 15-20% of your rabbits diet.
Commercial pellets are not necessarily essential, however they are beneficial as they add some additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals that rabbits would normally get from foraging in the wild.
We personally feed only 1-2 tablespoons per day. You can give all at the same time or break it in to 2 servings, morning and night.
Commercial pellet brands we have researched and recommend that are readily available in Australia:
- Oxbow Essentials
- Vetafarm Origins
- Burgess (our personal preference)
- Science Selective
Vegetables should be limited to a loose cup per kg of body weight serving per day as a maximum. You can add some different herbs, rabbit safe weeds, grass and flowers from your garden for variety also.
NEVER FEED ICEBERG LETTUCE TO YOUR RABBIT
We personally feed our buns veg only every 2-3 days and only a leaf or 2 at a time of any of the following;
- Celery Tops (the leafy tops are best, the stalks have very little nutritional value and have stringy sections that can get caught in their teeth & digestive system)
- Asian greens; Kai Lan, Bok Choy, Choy Sum, Pak Choy
- Bunny safe herbs, weeds, fresh grass & flowers
Treats & Fruit
Treats & fruit (fresh or dried) will make up only 5% or less of your rabbits diet.
Commercial treats are not recommended as they contain many ingredients that rabbits should not be consuming like corn, seeds, nuts, wheat flour, sugar, rice, binders, fillers etc.
Stick to home made treats, or purchase quality hand crafted treats from online stores such as;
Feed only 1-2 treats per day max, and if feeding fresh or dried fruit make sure it’s no larger than the size of a $2 coin. Fruit contains natural sugars that can upset the stomach flora, so it's best to keep fruit to a very minimal serving or not feed at all.
Apart from our own amazing dehydrated hay based treats, some of our other favourite treats to feed the buns are;
- Rose petals & leaves
- Hibiscus flowers & leaves
- Apple & Pear tree branches & leaves
- Willow branches & leaves
- Chaff (finely cut hay either plain or combined with herbs, flowers etc)
Safe Food List
Not every single safe food is listed below, but it's a good guide for foods readily available at the farmers markets and grocery stores.
Foods high in oxalic acid should only be fed sparingly, 2-3 times per week and just a little at a time.
Non-leafy vegetables on the list should also be fed sparingly as although they are safe, they can sometimes cause gas which will make your bunny uncomfortable. Gas can lead to them not wanting to eat which can then lead to GI Stasis. Some non-leafy veg are also high in carbs so will be fattening if fed too often (carrot and pumpkin for example).
Always do your research before feeding plants and flowers from your garden to your bunnies, and ensure that anything fed is coming from a pesticide-free environment.
|LEAFY GREENS - Low oxalic acid||HERBS - no onion/garlic types||PLANTS & FLOWERS|
|Dandelion Greens||Dried Nettle||Cornflower|
|Fennel (tips and base)||Lemon Balm||Dahlia|
|Raspberry Leaves||Mint (any variety)||Hibiscus|
|Spring Lettuce Mix (wash well)||Parsley||Lavender|
|LEAFY GREENS - High oxalic acid||Thyme||Pansy|
|Beet Greens||FRUIT - treat only, tiny amounts||Rose|
|Chard (Swiss & Rainbow)||Apple||Rose|
|Endive||Apricot (no pits)||Sunflower|
|Spinach||Cherry (no pits)|
|Sprouts||Cherry Tomato (no leaves)||AVOID|
|NON LEAFY VEG||Kiwi Fruit||Aloe Vera|
|Brussel Sprouts||Mulberry||Bulb Plants|
|Cabbage||Nectarine (no pits)||Chocolate|
|Capsicum||Orange (no peel)||Corn|
|Kohlrabi||Peach (no pits)||Garlic|
|Squash||Plum (no pits)||Onion|
|Seeds & Nuts|
There is a very good comprehensive list of toxic plants available here: https://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Toxic_plants