Dietary needs depends on the age of your rabbit.
- ADULT RABBITS: The basic diet for a healthy adult rabbit should consist of unlimited access to grass hay (not pelleted, cubed or chopped) along with a variety of fresh vegetables and a limited amount of timothy hay-based rabbit pellets – every day.
- BABY RABBITS: Alfalfa pellets and hay should be available in unlimited quantities to baby rabbits starting at about three weeks of age.
The three main components of a rabbit’s diet consists of hay, pellets, and vegetables.
- Hay is crucial to your rabbit’s health as it is the main source of fiber/roughage which aids the digestion, helps prevent GI stasis and hairballs and it is helpful in keeping your rabbit’s teeth in good shape. Grass hays should be available in unlimited quantities to all rabbits over three weeks of age.
- Pellets should always be fresh. Don’t buy more than a month’s supply at a time or they may get stale and lose nutritional value. By the time your rabbit is 7 months to 1 year old you should begin switching over to a timothy hay-based pellet, such as OxBow Hay’s Bunny Basics/T.
- Vegetables should be fresh and free of pesticides. Feed at least 3 kinds of vegetables every day. See our Veggie/Fruit list for more information.
Time balance is just as important as nutritional balance. Divide the pellets and vegetables between the morning and evening meals. Hay should always be available.
The following are dietary recommendations for the different phases of your rabbit’s life. ALL recommendations are based on a healthy rabbit. These are just guidelines. You should always consult your Rabbit Vet about diet and other health issues, especially for older, ailing or frail rabbits.
BABIES AND TEENAGERS
- Birth to 3 weeks – mother’s milk
- 3 to 7 weeks – mother’s milk, unlimited access to alfalfa pellets and grass hays (timothy, oat, orchard)
- 7 weeks to 7 months – unlimited alfalfa pellets and grass hays
- 4-5 months – introduce vegetables (one at a time, under 1/2 oz.)
YOUNG ADULTS: 7 MONTHS TO 1 YEAR
- Decrease pellets to 1/4 cup per day per 5 lbs body weight, start switching rabbit to timothy hay-based pellet
- Increase daily vegetables – slowly
- Fruit, 1-2 times a week, no more than 2 oz. (2 TBL)
MATURE ADULTS: 1 TO 5 YEARS
- Unlimited timothy, oat or other grass hays
- ¼ to ½ cup timothy hay-based pellets per 5 lbs body weight (depends on metabolism)
- 2-3 cups of veggies per 5 lbs of body weight, decrease if bunny is not eating enough hay
- Fruit, 1-2 times per week, limit to 2 TBSP
- NO FRUIT for overweight rabbits
SENIOR RABBITS : 6 YEARS AND UP
- If weight and health are OK, continue diet as above
- Frail and/or older rabbits may need unrestricted pellets and/or other dietary enhancements to keep weight up
NOTE: For older rabbits it is important to have a blood workup done by your vet – at least once a year – to check the calcium level and kidney function (among other things).