leading problem affecting rabbits is poor diet. Too many rabbit owners
feed excessive amounts of pellets, which are a highly concentrated,
high-calorie foodsource that contains inadequate fiber. Consequently,
not just obesity but chronic digestive upsets occur. Rabbits cannot
vomit, but they develop soft stools, diarrhea with or without
depression and anorexia. If they go without eating for more than about
48 hours they can get fatty liver disease.
Although hair balls are
thought to be common, they are not. With the exception of Angora
rabbits, 99% of rabbits thought to have hair balls really are suffering
the consequences of a poor diet.
the mature rabbit we recommend restricted pellets amounting to a
maximum of 1/8 to 1/4 cup for each five pounds of body weight. Rabbits
can be given free choice, however, of grass hay daily, which is sold
either as "mixed grassy hay" or "Timothy hay." Rabbits should not be
given alfalfa, which is high in calcium and can lead to problems.
can also give dark fibrous leafy greens, such as kale, mustard greens,
carrots, parsley or dandelion greens, and vegetables including carrots,
green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. We like to give one
heaping cup of greens and vegetables per 5 pounds of body weight daily.
Give at least three different kinds of leaves or vegetables a day to
prevent boredom and to give the animal a better balance of nutrients,
which vary among these different foods. Be sure to wash all of these
types of food well to remove any pesticide residues.
addition, rabbits can receive one tablespoon of fruit per 5 pounds of
body weight daily. They particularly enjoy strawberries and other
berries as well as apples. Bananas are too high in calories, but would
be good if a rabbit is too thin or is recovering from a problem and
needs more calories.
Rabbits should not receive sugary treats,
which contribute to obesity, or high grain treats such as crackers and
bread which can cause abnormal fermentation in the gut and an
overgrowth of "bad bacteria" resulting in serious, often fatal diarrhea.
Learn more about diet & nutrition for different animals below:
• What? My Pet is Fat?
• Introducing Your Pet to a New Diet
• Pet Bird Nutrition
• Iguana Diet
• Nutrition for Rabbits