What To Look For in Rabbit Food

Appears Like Rabbit Meals!

We’ve all heard that joke in a elaborate restaurant when a plate comes out sparse and fancy: “Appears like rabbit meals.” Nicely, that expression is on to one thing as a result of feeding a rabbit accurately would possibly take extra care than you’d anticipate. Whereas the cat and pet food article was transient, this text is longer as a result of a rabbit’s weight loss program wants extra preparation than you would possibly suspect.

Altering a Rabbit’s Weight loss program

As a rule, any modifications in your rabbit’s weight loss program needs to be made slowly over a time period to keep away from intestinal upsets. In case your pet shouldn’t be in the perfect of well being, or in case you are doubtful about modifications that ought to or shouldn’t be made as recommended by this text, please seek the advice of your veterinarian earlier than continuing. The dietary suggestions on this article are for NON-BREEDING, NON-PRODUCTION PETS.

Grass Hay

Grass hay is among the most necessary elements of your pet’s weight loss program. Hay needs to be offered on your rabbit in a field or hay rack and will all the time be obtainable. Hay is acceptable for all ages of rabbits, beginning at weaning. Hay gives a number of necessary issues on your rabbit’s well being:
It’s wealthy in vitamins corresponding to nutritional vitamins, minerals, and proteins
Offers meals for the micro-organisms that make up the cecotropes
Offers indigestible fiber that promotes wholesome motility (motion of contents) of the intestinal tract
It’s the finest preventative for abdomen and intestinal issues corresponding to power smooth stools.
Offers wholesome chewing exercise to advertise correct put on of the enamel (all rabbit enamel develop repeatedly all through life)

Hay may be stuffed in empty paper towel or rest room paper rolls, unpainted, unvarnished baskets, empty packing containers and so forth to supply a way of foraging for meals, which is a psychological enrichment, and reduce chewing of inappropriate objects corresponding to furnishings and wallpaper!

Keep in mind that rabbits are designed to stay totally on a weight loss program of grasses and leaves, subsequently grass hay gives an excellent portion of that weight loss program. There are two fundamental kinds of hay obtainable: grass and legume.

Legume Hay

Legume hays are constructed from alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, or peanuts. These hays are loaded with vitamins however have extra energy, calcium, and protein than a home rabbit wants. Feeding solely legume hays could result in gastrointestinal problems and weight problems and, for that reason, we don’t suggest feeding these hays. In case you combine legume hay with grass hay, the rabbit could select the calorie-rich legume hay and overload himself with energy, so we don’t suggest mixing grass and legume hay. A small quantity of alfalfa hay used as a deal with is ok however not used because the routine hay supply for the home rabbit.

Grass Hay

Grass hays are constructed from timothy, meadow, oat, rye, barley, or Bermuda grasses. Grass hay availability varies tremendously in numerous areas of the nation and the world. You could solely be capable of acquire one selection the place you reside. Nevertheless, if attainable, attempt to feed combined grass hay or present two or extra particular person varieties. Opposite to some sources, it’s not essential to solely feed timothy hay and it’s a lot preferable to feed a wide range of grass hays if obtainable. Grass hays are wealthy in vitamins however present the decrease power weight loss program applicable for a home rabbit. These are the healthiest hays to feed. When you’ve got a alternative, select sun-dried hay which has retained extra of its vitamins than commercially dried hay.

Don’t feed straw. Straw is devoid of most vitamins and though it’s not dangerous in small quantities, it is going to result in severe dietary deficiencies if it’s a main a part of the rabbit weight loss program.

Manufacturers & What to Look For

Sources for hay embody horse barns, feed shops, pet shops, rabbit golf equipment and a rising variety of on-line shops. A couple of on-line shops that carry grass hay embody the Oxbow Firm, Kaytee, and Candy Meadow. Once you purchase hay you might want to take into account the next:
Purchase hay that smells contemporary, by no means purchase damp or outdated hay
Purchase from a good supply that replenishes the hay regularly
In case you purchase from a feed retailer or horse barn, purchase hay that has not been on the highest of the pile to stop contamination with animal or fowl droppings.

Hay Suggestions

Hay may be saved in a dry place with good air circulation. Don’t shut the bag of hay however quite go away it open. Rabbits typically cross stools when they’re consuming and putting some hay within the litter field can assist with litter field coaching. They won’t eat dirty hay, so you needn’t fear about sanitation. Hay ought to have a contemporary odor. Rabbits of any age may be launched to hay with none particular preparation.

Inexperienced Meals

Inexperienced meals are the following most necessary meals within the rabbit’s weight loss program. Inexperienced meals present the identical advantages listed for hay. In addition they comprise a greater diversity of micronutrients and, importantly, present water within the weight loss program. Regardless that chances are you’ll present a water container within the cage, rabbits don’t all the time drink as a lot as they need to. Feeding inexperienced meals forces the rabbit to eat liquid and helps promote wholesome gastrointestinal perform in addition to kidney and bladder perform. You’ll discover that, in the event you feed your rabbit quite a lot of inexperienced meals, he’ll drink little or no water, which is regular.

Present Greens Sparingly

It’s NEVER applicable to feed your rabbit a weight loss program composed primarily of inexperienced meals. The inexperienced meals obtainable within the grocery shops shouldn’t have sufficient concentrated energy to maintain a rabbit’s regular physique weight when that is the first supply of meals. Even within the wild rabbits would eat dried grasses and tree and bush leaves to acquire extra energy. Greens are an necessary addition to the weight loss program however ought to by no means be the full weight loss program.

Greens Suggestions

When deciding on and utilizing inexperienced meals comply with these tips:
Purchase (or develop) natural if attainable
Wash any inexperienced meals first
Make sure that your rabbit is consuming hay effectively first
Introduce greens a bit of at a time over a number of days and watch the stools for any change
Feed a wide range of inexperienced meals day by day—a minimal could be three varieties—this gives a wider vary of micronutrients in addition to psychological stimulation on your pet

Feed a most of about one packed cup of inexperienced meals per two kilos of physique weight no less than as soon as a day or this quantity divided twice a day. Uneaten contemporary meals needs to be faraway from the cage after three to 4 hours to stop spoilage.

What to Watch For

Sometimes you might have a scenario the place a choose inexperienced meals causes a smooth stool. You’ll know if so inside twelve hours of feeding the offending meals. If you’re feeding a wide range of greens and are usually not certain which one is inflicting the issue, then feed just one inexperienced meals each 48 hours till the offending meals is recognized after which merely take away it from the weight loss program. This isn’t a harmful scenario, however it may be messy and there’s no must feed meals that’s inflicting an issue.

You possibly can supply your rabbit an enormous number of inexperienced meals. You would possibly even take into account rising some your self! This would come with grass that you just develop in your yard, however grass could solely be used if there have been no pesticides or different chemical substances utilized. You would possibly take into account rising a patch of grass simply on your bunnies. And don’t throw away these dandelions while you pull them up! In the event that they haven’t been handled with chemical substances, they’re a wonderful supply of vitamin. Typically, the darker inexperienced a meals is, the upper the dietary worth. Due to this fact we don’t suggest iceberg lettuce. It isn’t harmful however is extraordinarily low in dietary content material. You should utilize packages of combined salad greens in the event that they comprise darkish coloured greens and are usually not composed primarily of iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce. Please, no salad dressing!

• Listed below are a few of the inexperienced meals you would possibly take into account:
• Child greens
• Bok Choy
• Borage Basil
• Broccoli (leaves and high)
• Brussels sprouts
• Cabbage (pink, inexperienced, Chinese language)
• Carrot/beet tops
• Celery (leaves are good)
• Chicory
• Collard greens
• Dandelion greens (and flower)
• Dock
• Endive
• Escarole
• Kale
• Leaf lettuce
• Mustard greens
• Parsley (Italian or flat leaf finest)
• Radicchio
• Romaine lettuce
• Swiss chard (any coloration)
• Watercress

Fruits and different Greens (Deal with Meals)

Relying on the time of 12 months, rabbits within the wild would have entry to extra meals corresponding to fruits, greens, and flowers. Since these things don’t make up a lot of the weight loss program, we suggest feeding these treats in restricted portions. One more reason for limiting the quantity is as a result of some rabbits like these meals so effectively that they are going to eat them to the exclusion of all others, thereby creating a possible for well being issues. Meals from this record may be fed day by day and chances are you’ll even want to use them as a part of a reward or coaching system.

*TIP: Discover no less than one meals on this record that your rabbit likes and feed a small quantity day by day to test in your rabbit’s urge for food.. In case your rabbit won’t eat her deal with meals, then different issues is perhaps brewing and you might want to hold a detailed eye in your bun bun for well being issues.

These deal with meals are far more healthy (and cheaper) than the industrial deal with meals bought for rabbits. Business deal with meals ought to typically be averted as a result of many are loaded with starch and fats and, if fed in amount, could cause severe well being issues.

For deal with meals, comply with the identical tips listed above for choosing and utilizing inexperienced meals aside from the quantity. You possibly can feed your pet a complete of 1 tablespoon per two kilos of physique weight per day of any mixture of the meals under:

• Apple
• Bean or alfalfa sprouts
• Blackberries
• Blueberries
• Cactus fruit
• Carrots
• Cherries
• Cranberries
• Edible flowers from the backyard (organically grown and NOT from a florist) corresponding to roses, nasturtiums,
• Daylilies, pansies, and snapdragons
• Inexperienced or pink bell peppers
• Kiwi Fruit
• Mango
• Melons
• Papaya
• Pea pods (flat, NO peas)
• Peach
• Pear
• Pineapple
• Raspberries
• Squash

Dried fruit can be utilized as effectively, however since dried fruit is so concentrated, use just one third the quantity as contemporary. As a substitute of 1 tablespoon, use one teaspoon. Pets In Stitches doesn’t suggest feeding bananas and grapes as rabbits generally develop into addicted to those meals.

Forbidden Meals

A weight loss program of grass hay and inexperienced meals with small quantities of fruit and veggies accommodates all of the vitamin obligatory for the pet rabbit. Sadly, many industrial deal with meals bought for rabbits comprise excessive ranges of starch and fats. As well as, some individuals nonetheless really feel it essential to feed rabbits excessive starch meals corresponding to cereals, truffles, and cookies. Though a pet rabbit can eat very small quantities of starchy or fatty meals with out ailing impact, the issue is that individuals typically feed extra quantities as a result of the rabbits eat these meals so greedily. Our suggestion is to fully keep away from excessive starch and/or fats meals on your rabbit. On this method you’ll keep away from any potential issues these meals could cause, together with weight problems and severe gastrointestinal illness. It’s all the time simpler to stop than to deal with a illness.

Examples of excessive fats and/or starch meals to AVOID embody:
• Another grains
• Beans (of any variety)
• Breads
• Cereals
• Chocolate
• Corn
• Nuts
• Oats
• Peas
• Refined sugar
• Seeds
• Wheat

Business Rabbit Pellets

Rabbit pellets ought to typically solely comprise a small portion of a pet rabbit’s weight loss program.

Excessive calorie content material can result in weight problems. Sadly, the concentrated and small type of the pellets doesn’t result in a sense of fullness {that a} weight loss program primarily based on grass hay can present. Regardless that rabbits ought to eat to their caloric wants, in captivity, with boredom, they are going to overeat pellets if offered free alternative.
Low indigestible fiber content material can result in a sluggish gastrointestinal tract and ultimately extra severe illness, together with full gastrointestinal shutdown.
Doesn’t promote regular tooth put on because of the concentrated nature of the meals. A few chews and the meals is pulverized versus the for much longer chewing time wanted to interrupt down hay or greens.
Lack of enough chewing exercise and a full feeling within the abdomen as a result of concentrated nature of the meals could result in behavioral issues, corresponding to inappropriate or extreme chewing on furnishings, crops, wallboard. This might be likened to a way of boredom. Rabbits within the wild spend quite a lot of their day consuming and pellets may be eaten in a couple of minutes.
Concentrated, dry nature of pellets could not promote regular water consumption, leading to potential urinary tract illness.

Pellets ought to comprise ideally 10% of the wholesome rabbit’s weight loss program and maximally not more than 20%. In some circumstances, it might be essential to feed the next quantity for the next causes:
In households the place hay can’t be used as a result of human allergy symptoms or unavailability
To implement weight achieve, most frequently associated to a debilitating sickness
When the house owners are unable to feed a assorted weight loss program of excellent high quality grass hay and a wide range of inexperienced meals. Pellets will assist to cowl a few of the hint vitamins that is perhaps missed in a restricted weight loss program.
For feminine rabbits which might be used for breeding, in the course of the being pregnant and nursing interval.

When deciding on a pellet search for the next:

• 18% or larger in fiber
• 2.5% or decrease in fats
• 16% or much less in protein
• 1.0 % or much less in calcium

Don’t purchase pellet mixes that additionally comprise seeds, dried fruits, or nuts.
Purchase pellets primarily based on grass hays (timothy, orchard grass, brome, and many others) NOT alfalfa hay.

The quantity to feed a wholesome rabbit could be roughly ¼ cup of pellets per 4 kilos of physique weight day by day. This may be divided and fed twice a day, or all fed as soon as a day. Pellets may even be fed one after the other and utilized in a coaching program. We suggest ¼ cup most for apart from large breeds and ⅛ cup most for dwarfs, however even much less for every if there are medical points.

Pellet Care

Pellets needs to be purchased in quantities that shall be used inside three months and stored in a closed container in a cool dry place to stop spoilage. Don’t use pellet mixes that comprise grains and seeds together with the pellets. The addition of the grains and seeds solely add to the calorie and fats content material, which may end up in weight problems, liver, and intestinal illness.

For extra data on feeding rabbits, try our article Wholesome Meals Choices for Your Rabbit. Get pleasure from nourishing your bunbun!


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