Dietary Recommendations Print This Page
General: An adult rabbit’s diet should be made up of water, hay, high quality pellets and fresh vegetables. Anything else is a treat and should be given in limited quantities.
IMPORTANT: All dietary changes must be made gradually.
*Pellets should be fresh and relatively high in fiber (18% minimum fiber). Do not purchase more than six weeks worth of food at a time, as it will become spoiled.
*Hay should be available 24 hours a day. Hay is essential to a rabbit’s health. Hay provides roughage, which reduces the danger of hairballs and other blockages. Apple twigs also provide good roughage.
*Salt licks are not necessary.
*No nuts or seeds.
*Variety yet consistency is key for vegetables. When shopping, look for both dark leafy vegetables and root vegetables.
Babies and Teenagers:
*birth to 3 weeks: mother’s milk
*3-4 weeks: mother’s milk, nibbles of alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets
*4-7 weeks: mother’s milk, access to alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets
*7 weeks to 7 months: unlimited alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets (plus 12 weeks see below)
*12 weeks: introduce vegetables (one at a time, quantities under ½ oz.), grass hays
Young Adults: 7 months to 1 year
*eliminate alfalfa, increase grass hays
*decrease pellets to ½ cup per 6 lbs. body weight
*increase daily vegetables gradually
*fruit rations no more than 1-2 oz. per 6 lb. body weight (these are treats!)
Mature Adults: 1 to 5 years
*unlimited grass hays (no alfalfa)
* ¼ – ½ cup pellets per 6 lb. body weight, preferably timothy-based pellets, such as Oxbow Bunny Basics T
*minimum 2 cups chopped vegetables per 6 lb. body weight
*fruit only as treats!
*if sufficient weight is maintained continue adult diet
*frail or older rabbits may need unrestricted pellets to keep weight up.
Note: When you feed a lower quantity of pellets, you must replace the nutritional value without the calories, which is done by increasing the vegetables. Also, hay must be encouraged all day. We do this by offering fresh hay a couple times per day.
Select at least 3 kinds of vegetables daily. A variety is necessary in order to obtain the essential nutrients. Pick one each day that contains vitamin A (indicated by an *). Add one vegetable to the diet at a time. Eliminate if it causes soft stools or diarrhea.
Beet Greens (tops) *
Asian Broccoli (mostly leaves/stems)
Dandelion greens and flowers
Pea pods (the flat edible kind)
Romaine lettuce (no iceberg or light-colored leaf)
* contains vitamin A
(!) use sparingly. High in either oxalates or goitrogens and may be toxic in accumulated quantities over a period of time.
Sugary fruits such as bananas and grapes should be used only sparingly, as occasional treats. Bunnies have a sweet tooth and if left to their own devices will devour sugary foods to the exclusion of healthy ones.
Apple (remove stem and seeds)
Carrots (yes, these are vegetables, but they are high in sugar)
Orange (including peel)