Feeding your Rabbit
Selecting a good pellet feed can be a little tricky. Do not be deceived by pellets that look whole fiber or appear to have crunchy bits. Pellets that contain dried fruit, seeds, nuts, or colored bits can be harmful to a rabbit’s digestion. Bad choices in food can lead to fecal matter caked onto the rabbits behind, and can be a sign of cecal dysbiosis, in which the bad intestinal bacteria outnumbers the good bacteria, which can lead to a very sick bunny.
Rabbits also need a fresh supply of water or they may not eat properly. Use a ceramic (inedible and heavy) bowl to supply the feed and water, or you may use a water bottle attached to the cage. Water bottles for rabbits have a metal tube with rolling ball that settles and stops the water from dripping out, but when moved by the slightest touch releases a little water. With either method, you’ll want to monitor your rabbits to make sure there is a sufficient supply of clean, fresh water and that the bottle is operating properly. Bottles should be cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and to keep the ball function operating properly.
In addition to pellet feed, your rabbits will need an endless supply of roughage. Place bits of grass hay between the cages for the rabbits to nibble on as needed. You can also supply them with fresh vegetables and fruits, but these should be introduced slowly. Any significant changes in a rabbit’s diet can cause serious effects in their fertility and health. Any changes in diet should be gradual. If you’re getting a rabbit from another breeder, be sure to ask what the rabbit’s diet regimen is so you can better ease them into your own system. The less traumatic you can make a transition, the better off the rabbit will be.
The rabbit diet should be mostly grass/hay. You’ll want to avoid alfalfa hay, as it is high in calories and calcium and can cause health problems if fed too often. They should also have fresh food during the day for added nutrients/vitamins. You can give them about 1 cup of leafy greens per 2-3 pounds of body weight per day. Most leafy greens are acceptable and should be rotated for variety.
Other vegetables can be supplemented in addition, such as broccoli, cauliflower and root vegetables. You can give these other vegetables to rabbits in a dose of 1 tbsp. per 2 lbs., of body weight per day. Do not give your rabbit vegetables from the onion family (onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, chives), as these can cause problems in their blood.
With adding vegetables, watch your rabbit for any signs of distress or diarrhea. Introduce new foods slowly. If your rabbit shows signs of diarrhea, discontinue that vegetable and try something else.