Rabbits have complex digestive systems that are designed to efficiently process food. Care must be taken not to disrupt the delicate balance of their intestinal flora by introducing new foods too quickly, or giving foods which are unsuitable. A disruption of the intestinal flora can make a rabbit very ill.
Rabbits should typically have a nutritious daily diet of hay, fresh vegetables and pellets.
Hay and fresh greens should make up approximately 70% of your rabbits diet!
Treat foods, such as fruit, should be fed sparingly.
Young rabbits (under 7 months old) need a different, more restrictive diet than adults:
Birth to 3 weeks: mother’s milk.
3 to 4 weeks: mother’s milk, introduce alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets.
4 to 8 weeks: mother’s milk, increase alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets.
8 weeks to 6 months: unlimited alfalfa pellets, unlimited hay (At 12 weeks,
you can start to introduce fresh vegetables. Start feeding vegetables slowly and
discontinue any that cause soft, runny stool.)
Over 6 months:
- Fresh water
- Unlimited access to timothy hay
- Minimum of 2 cups of fresh veggies per 6 lbs. body weight per day
- 1/4 cup of timothy pellets per 3-5 lbs. of body weight
**Please note that this is a generic dietary guideline. Not all rabbits will tolerate, or even like, exactly the same foods.
It is important to find foods that are suitable for your rabbit. It is also important not to change your rabbit’s diet too quickly.**
- Digestability in the Rabbit Diet -by Marinell Harriman in consultation with Carolynn Harvey, DVM.
This article talks about how rabbits process sugar, protein and fibre.