The Rabbits Doctors use the dietary recommendations of the BSAVA (British Small Animal Veterinary Association.) They recommend the following diet percentages:
80% Hay - It's best to have this available to graze on 24/7
15% Leafy green vegetables - About 2 cups per kilo
3% Oxbow or Burgess pellets - only one (1) tablespoon of these twice daily.
2% Treats, fruit & root vegetables
Hay is a vital part of your bunny's diet for various reasons. It is high in fibre, which helps to keep their digestive system in excellent condition. Hay also encourages your bunny to drink more water. This makes them urinate more frequently and helps protect them from the formation of bladder sludge and kidney stones. Rabbits' teeth keep growing their whole life. The chewing action required to eat hay helps to keep their teeth growing normally. Topping up their supplies regularly can keep your bunnies happy!
On average, a rabbit will eat roughly the same size as their body in hay each day. This means that you need to give them 2-3 times this amount and expect a fair amount of waste. Rabbits will pick through and look for the tastiest bits! Always ensure the hay you're feeding your rabbit looks and smells amazing.
Bunnies who don't get regular hay are more likely to chew and ingest their fur. This can result in the formation of furballs (trichobezoars!). Unlike cats, rabbits cannot vomit! Excessive fur can get stuck inside their intestines whilst passing through the digestive tract without treatment. This can be fatal.
Try and get the freshest hay you can. Oaten, Grass/Meadow and Timothy hay are all readily available and are the recommended choice for healthy rabbits. Ideally purchase hay by the bale as pet shop hay is often old, dusty and has lost much of its nutrient content. *Lucerne hay should only be given when recommended by your vet as it contains high levels of calcium. It is designed for rabbits needing special care/a dietary food
Leafy Green Vegetables - 15%
Bunnies LOVE their greens! Providing them with at least five different leafy greens daily is recommended. No two bunnies are the same. Explore the different safe veggies and see what takes their fancy and what doesn't. If you have more than one rabbit, you may find that what one likes, the other may not. Variety is the key! You are making them a salad mix not a plate of lettuce.
Safe salad foods
- Green Vegetables- Celery, Chicory, Chinese cabbage, Fennel,
Kale, Spinach, Spring greens, Watercress, Asian Greens, Mustard greens
- Lettuces- romaine, green leaf, red leaf, Boston bibb, rocket, butter lettuce.
Okra leaves Radicchio, Radish tops.
- Herbs- basil, coriander, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme.
- Flowers (dried or fresh) - calendula, chamomile, daylily, dianthus,
English daisy, hibiscus, honeysuckle, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, rose
Oxbow or Burgess pellets - 8%
In Australia, there is no regulation on what can be labelled as “rabbit food”. If you have ever looked in the supermarket at “rabbit pellets” or “rabbit food mixes” you will see a lot of seeds, grains, muesli and other mix ingredients. DO NOT BUY THESE! Most of the ingredients in “rabbit mixes” are toxic to your bunny. We recommend feeding Oxbow or Burgess pellets. They are a good quality pellet that your rabbit will love. These are the only two brands available in Australia that are veterinarians approved.
Treats, fruit & root vegetables - 2%
Like a child, if rabbits had their way, they’d eat nothing but treats and high-sugar foods. This will cause them to become obese and develop other health issues. Treats should always be given in moderation.
Treat vegetables and plants: Broccoli (stems and leaves only), Banana, Carrots, Chard, Clover, Collard greens, Dandelion greens (pesticide-free), Zucchini
How do I change a rabbit’s diet?
Slowly! It takes weeks for a rabbits tummy to acclimatise to a new diet. Gradually reduce the amount of pellets you feed by 5%, whilst adding new greens – a couple of small pieces a day for 2-3 weeks. Overfeeding one type of plant, or suddenly introducing large quantities of new plants can lead to tummy upsets or loose faeces.