Proper Rabbit Diet

GENERAL:

A rabbit’s diet should be made up of high quality pellets, fresh hay (timothy, oat, orchard, etc), water and fresh vegetables. Anything else is a treat and should be given in limited quantities. Always keep in mind that pet stores DO sell things that are bad for your rabbit. Always do your research before buying a new product.

IMPORTANT - all diet changes must be made gradually!

  • Pellets should be fresh and relatively high in fiber (18% minimum fiber). We recommend brands such as Oxbow, Sherwood Forest, and Small Pet Select. 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.
  • Rabbits can not digest dairy or starches such as bread and crackers.
  • No nuts or seeds as these are bad for a bunny.
  • Variety is key for vegetables. When shopping, look for both dark leafy vegetables and root vegetables. Also try different colors as these provide your rabbit with different essential vitamins. (See safe veggie list below)

Young adults: 7 months to 1 year

  • Unlimited grass and oat hays, decrease alfalfa
  • Pellets to 1/2 cup per 6 lbs. body weight
  • Increase daily vegetables gradually
  • Fruit rations no more than 1-2 oz. per 6 lbs. body weight (because of calories)

Mature adults: 1 to 6 years

  • Unlimited oat and timothy hay (no alfalfa)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup pellets per 6 lb. body weight, preferably timothy-based pellets, such as Oxbow Bunny Basics T, or Sherwood Forest's Professional Rabbit Food
  • Minimum 2 cups chopped vegetables per 6 lbs. body weight
  • Fruit only as treats!

Senior rabbits: 6+ YEARS

  • If sufficient weight is maintained, continue adult diet
  • Frail or older rabbits may need unrestricted pellets to keep weight up. Alfalfa can be given to underweight rabbits, only of calcium levels are normal. Annual blood workups are highly recommended for geriatric rabbits.

Veggie List

Select at least three kinds of vegetables daily. A variety is necessary in order to obtain the necessary 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.

  • Alfalfa, radish and clover sprouts
  • Basil
  • Beet Greens (tops) *
  • Bok Choy
  • Asian Broccoli (mostly leaves/stems)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrot and carrot tops*
  • Celery
  • Cilantro
  • Clover
  • Collard Greens*
  • Dandelion greens and flowers
  • Endive*
  • Escarole
  • Green Peppers
  • Kale(!)*
  • Mint
  • Mustard greens*
  • Parsley*
  • Pea pods (the flat edible kind)
  • Peppermint leaves
  • Raddichio
  • Radish tops
  • Raspberry tops
  • Romaine lettuce (no iceberg or light-colored leaf)
  • Spinach(!)*
  • Watercress
  • Wheat grass

* contains Vitamin A

(!) Use sparingly. High in either oxalates or goitrogens and may be toxic in accumulated quantities over a period of time

Fruit List

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 healthful ones.

  • Apple (remove stem and seeds)
  • Blueberries
  • Melon
  • Orange (including peel)
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries