The nutrition of domestic rabbits is not complicated actually, one can make however some mistakes, which have a negative effect quite fast with the rabbit.
Rabbits are Folivore (leaf-eaters), their wild relatives in nature feed primarily on green plant parts, buds and leaf tips. In addition, they also take up roots and barks. Our house-rabbits are still dependent on this nutrition on reason of its short history in domestication.
Basic rabbit nutrition
Rabbits need fresh food: The main component of the food should always be fresh, varied green fodder. In spring, summer and autumn it is advisable to pick directly in nature, because plants from the meadow, twigs and leaves are not only free of charge, but also the healthiest rabbit food. green fodderOutdoor rabbits can of course also graze the fodder themselves, then they only need it for green picked at night.
Sometimes you can also find wild plants outdoors in winter. If you don’t have the possibility or you can’t find enough of them, it’s best to use leafy vegetables (bitter salads, cabbage, spinach…), vegetable greenery (corotte green, kohlrabi leaves, celery…) & kitchen herbs as the main ingredient.
Green fodder must be available to the rabbits continuously, because rabbits take up small quantities again and again in order to burden their digestive tract evenly. If too little green fodder is fed, so that it does not reach up to the next feeding, it can come to digesting disturbances.
In addition to green fodder, it is important to offer high-quality hay throughout. A mixture of various dried herbs also balances out the low content of secondary plant substances in the leafy vegetables, so that the dried herb mixture can be dispensed with if the rabbits are fed daily with a large amount of wild herbs. However, dried herbs are only fed in small quantities, not more than a handful a day for two rabbits. The same applies to twigs, which are particularly important when feeding mainly leafy vegetables.
In addition to the basic feed, root and tuber vegetables can also be offered. (Local) fruit may also be fed from time to time, especially in autumn.
Fresh water is best offered in a stable ceramic bowl. To prevent it from getting dirty, it is best to place it on a raised surface without bedding. Nipple drinkers are unsuitable as the sole source of water.
Changes in diet should always be made slowly. New types of food must first be tested for tolerance in small quantities. If you want to change your diet, you should give more and more of the new food and less and less of the old food from day to day.
Tip: Rabbit feed plan
Purchased feed mixtures are unhealthy
From most purchased rabbit food, rabbits get sick in the long run. These feed mixtures are inferior industrial wastes that are ground, colored and flavored. Artificial flavours influence the rabbit’s sense of taste, so they devour these poor quality things. Dry food is unnatural and damages the whole organism of rabbits! The consequences are often various illnesses (such as diarrhea and flatulence) and consequently high veterinary costs.
Why is ready-made food harmful for rabbits?
Commercial dry food mixtures are designed to meet the increased needs of breeding and fattening animals that do not grow old. As a complete food for pet rabbits that are to live up to 10 years, they are too low in raw fibre and rich in energy and calcium. With permanent administration they lead to:
- Reduced tooth wear
In order to avoid permanent damage to pet rabbits, they should be converted to physiological fresh feeding as soon as possible after purchase.
Healthy concentrated feed
A healthy self-mixed feed is sufficient as a healthy concentrated feed or treat. Here you will find a dry food comparison of common rabbit food varieties with evaluation. If you want to feed bag food, you will find reviews here.