Your Rabbits' Diet
Are rabbits herbivores?
Choosing the best rabbit food for your bunnies can seem confusing. They are complex animals that need a balanced diet with the right mix of fibre, vitamins and minerals to stay happy and healthy.
They are herbivores, this means rabbits need a plant-based diet with lots of fibre. Fibre is a key part of their diet and it keeps your rabbits’ digestive system healthy and moving, helping to prevent illnesses such as gut stasis. An easy way to get lots of great fibre in their diet is to make sure your rabbits have unlimited access to good quality, dust extracted feeding hay or fresh grass.
It’s a good idea to always monitor your rabbit’s weight by weighing them regularly. This helps you to keep an eye on their overall health too. If you have any concerns about your rabbit’s weight, or if your rabbit is not eating, seek the advice of your vet.
What are they trying to say?
Did you know rabbits eat their poo? And it’s really healthy for them! Rabbits need lots of fibre to stay healthy.
Rabbits can’t get all the essential nutrients they need the first time they eat their food. The first time they eat something, like tasty hay, the digestible fibre moves through their gut and is excreted as caecotrophs, which are soft, sticky droppings. Your rabbit will then eat these droppings to get the rest of the vital nutrients. The second time they’re digested they are excreted as round, hard droppings.
This is why lots of fibre, found in hay and good quality nuggets, is so important!
The Excel Feeding Plan
Follow the Excel Feeding Plan to help your rabbits get the correct balance of fibre, vitamins and minerals. 85-90% of your rabbits’ diet should be high quality, dust extracted feeding hay or fresh grass. This should be supplemented with a small portion of nuggets, a handful of rabbit friendly fresh greens and constant access to fresh, clean water.
Excel feeding hay
Excel tasty nuggets
Excel nature snacks
Move away from muesli
In 2014 the University of Edinburgh published its research, supported by Burgess Pet Care, highlighting the risks associated with feeding rabbits a muesli style diet.
Muesli has been found to cause rabbits to selectively feed. This is when rabbits eat some of the high sugar elements and leave behind the high fibre parts. This leads to rabbits eating an unbalanced diet which can result in poor health, including dental disease and obesity.
Following the Excel Feeding Plan and feeding rabbit nuggets rather than muesli can help ensure your rabbits are getting the best diet and prevents selective feeding.
What can my rabbits eat?
Your rabbits’ diet should be 85-90% high quality feeding hay or fresh grass, supplemented with nuggets and fresh greens, as well as fresh water and the occasional treat.
There’s lots of tasty plants and vegetables your rabbits can eat, for example rabbits can eat broccoli and cucumber, but some that aren’t suitable too! Here’s some rabbit friendly fresh greens:
Poisonous plants for rabbits
Not all greens are rabbit safe! Some plants can be poisonous for your rabbits:
This list is not exhaustive. The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund recommends avoiding all house plants as many are also toxic. If you have any concerns, it is always best to speak to your vet.