The leading problem affecting rabbits is poor diet. Too many rabbit
owners feed excessive amounts of pellets, which are a highly
concentrated, high-calorie food source 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.
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
More unusual and exotic pets:
• Guinea Pigs
• Green Iguanas
• Nutrition for Your Pet Bird