How much vegetables should a rabbit eat a day?
How much Food Should a Rabbit Eat?
Rabbits love food. If it was up to them they would spend the whole day eating, especially if the food is natural or has a touch of green. A good diet for rabbits is the cornerstone for keeping them properly healthy; many rabbits have intestinal tract problems and issues with their teeth and molars as a result of an improper diet.
To feed a rabbit properly, you need to know more than just the best foods. It’s important to know their rhythms and daily feeding intervals. We want to give them enough to eat, but we should be careful that we don’t overfeed them.
Stay with us at AnimalWised if you want to know how much food to give rabbits per day, because we will now give you all the necessary nutritional advice to keep your pet healthy and strong.
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- General information about feeding rabbits
- What to feed a bunny
- Fruits are good, but in small portions
- What to feed a rabbit from 8 months to 5 years old
- What to feed older rabbits from 6 years old
General information about feeding rabbits
Remember that the rabbit’s diet is based on pellets — they can made of cellulose or alfalfa, and should be a complement rather than the main food — constant vegetables, fresh oat hay, and lots of fresh water. The pellets must be of a good quality and high in fiber, at least 18%.
We suggest that you don’t buy too much food in advance, since when the times comes to serve it it will no longer be fresh, won’t contain the same amount of vitamins or will already be in a bad condition. Hay should be available to your rabbit 24 hours a day. The vegetables should have dark green leaves and should all be root vegetables, such as carrots. The wider range of fruit colors, the better, and they also really like apples and apple tree branches.
Rabbits eat according to their development and age. Below you can see the appropriate amounts of food for the different stages of the rabbit’s life.
What to feed a bunny
During the first weeks of a rabbit’s life, its diet should solely consist of breast milk. From the fourth week onward you can start feeding your bunny pellets and a little bit of alfalfa.
Between a month and a half and three months you can then give it unlimited amounts of hay and 2 to 3 tablespoons of pellets per day. From the fourth month on, start giving it small portions of vegetables a day (one type of vegetable at a time), such as carrots or endive leaves.
When it becomes a young rabbit at 6 months old, its daily vegetable intake should match 10% of its body weight, divided into two equal batches, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Vegetables are highly recommended on a daily basis, and they won’t cause any problems. These could be rocket, lettuce, watercress, clover and those mentioned above.
Fruits are good, but in small portions
Fruits are good for rabbits, but in the right measure and proportion. Fruits should be introduced from three months old, and should also be offered three times a week at the most owing to its high sugar content. In large quantities, sugar could be dangerous for the animal.
The higher the vitamin content of the fruit, the more you need to keep an eye on it and monitor the quantity of food you’re giving to your rabbit. The size of each portion of fruit should be no larger than an orange slice. Always make sure you take out the pips and seeds.
What to feed a rabbit from 8 months to 5 years old
You should only give a few handfuls of pellets a day to young rabbits. Vegetables will go up, while the dry food will decrease.
You can give your adult rabbit between 2-4% of its body weight or 25 g of pellets for every kilogram that the rabbit weighs. Meanwhile, green vegetables such as as radish leaves, endives and escaroles should be given in increasing quantities. You can also let it try fresh grass and reduce the quantity of alfalfa.
From one year old, your rabbit will then start to eat larger quantities. You can give it between 50-80 g of pellets per day, but keep giving all of its daily vegetables, accounting for 5-6% of its body weight. It should eat fruit three times per week for the rest of his life.
What to feed older rabbits from 6 years old
You can give older rabbits — 6 years old and more — the same portion sizes and types of food as before as long as they maintain their weight and physical condition.
Remember that you should give generous portions of hay, making sure that it is always fresh. If your rabbit weighs 2 kg, it’s best to give it around 170 g of hay per day.
As for vegetables, the ideal amount will be 110 g per kilogram of its body weight. If your rabbit is losing weight — as it often happens — let it eat as many pellets as it wants. And if you see that it stops eating hay, don’t hesitate to take it to the vet.
If you want to read similar articles to How much Food Should a Rabbit Eat?, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.
Rabbits — feeding and nutrition
Unfortunately, what we thought was a normal rabbit weight in the past has often been an overweight rabbit. Obesity is a problem with rabbits that eat a diet too high in calories and that don’t get enough exercise. A healthy rabbit should be slim and sleek. The house rabbit should have a diet high in fibre and fairly low in calories (especially fats and starches). Over time, pellet diets have been sold as the mainstay of a rabbit’s diet, but pellets were originally formulated for non-household rabbits (i.e. laboratory or farmed rabbits).
Some of the problems associated with rabbits fed unlimited pellets are:
- Dental disease
- Soft stools (with norm stools)
- Periodic bouts of anorexia (not eating)
- Heart and liver disease
- Calcification of blood vessels
- Bladder and kidney stones
Recommended Diet for Adult Rabbits
Fresh Hay (or grass)
- Should always to be available. This is the most important of a rabbit’s diet.
- Young bunnies should be exposed to hay as soon as they can eat on their own.
- Mixed grass (timothy, meadow, oat, rye, barley or Bermuda grasses) hay is lower in calcium and calories.
- Alfalfa (and clover, peas, beans or peanut) is not recommended.
- Store hay in a cool, dry place in an open bag to allow circulation. Discard damp hay.
- Prefer loose long strands of hay compared to pressed cubes or chopped hay
Green foods are the next most important food in the rabbit’s diet. Feed at least 3 types of leafy green vegetables daily in a total minimum amount (all types of greens together) of 1 heaped cup per 1.8kg body weight. This is a minimum, as the bunny adjusts to this diet more can be fed. Greens are an important addition to the diet, but should never be the total diet.
These food products contain fibre, vitamins e.g. A & C, minerals and carbohydrates as well as providing mental stimulation for your pet.
Fruits and other Vegetables (Treat Foods)
- Baby greens
- Bok Choy
- Borage basil
- Broccoli (leaves and top)
- Brussel sprouts
- Cabbage (red, green, Chinese)
- Carrot/beet tops
- Celery (leaves are good)
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens (and flower)
- Leaf lettuce
- Mustard greens
- Parsley (Italian or flat-leaf are best)
- Romaine lettuce
- Swiss chard (any colour)
Since these items do not make up the majority of the diet, we recommend feeding these treats in limited quantities. Another reason for limiting the amount is because some rabbits like these foods so well that they will eat them to the exclusion of all others, thereby creating a potential for health problems. Foods from this list can be fed daily and you may even wish to use them as part of a reward or training system.
TIP: Find at least one food in this list that your rabbit likes and feed a small amount daily to check on how good your rabbit’s appetite is. If your rabbit will not eat her treat food, then there may be other problems brewing and you need to keep a close eye on your pet for health problems.
These treat foods are far healthier (and less expensive) than the commercial treat foods sold for rabbits. Commercial treat foods should generally be avoided because many are loaded with starch and fat and if fed in quantity can cause serious health problems.
- Bean or alfalfa sprouts
- Cactus fruit
- Edible flowers from the garden (organically grown and NOT from a florist) such as roses, nasturtiums, daylilies, pansies and snapdragons.
- Green or red bell peppers
- Kiwi fruit
- Peapods (flat, NO peas)
- Rabbit pellets should generally only comprise a small portion of a pet rabbit’s diet (10%).
— 18% of higher fibre
— 2.5% or lower in fat
— 16% or less in protein
— 1.0% or less in calcium
— Do not buy pellet mixes that also contain seeds, dried fruits or nuts.
— Buy pellets based on grass hays (timothy, orchard grass, brome etc.) NOT alfalfa hay.
- For young growing rabbits, pellets can be given free choice until 6 to 8 months of age, then decrease to the maintenance amount as above.
- Store pellets in a closed container in a cool, dry place. Only buy enough for three months at a time.
- Please note not all commercially available rabbit food are good for rabbits. Some are not balanced and can cause severe problems for rabbits with gut stasis. Contact us for advice on which brands of rabbit food are the best.
Food to avoid
Avoid starchy foods or high sugar content foods such as; legumes, beans, peas, corn, bananas, grapes, oats, wheat, crackers, chips, bread, nuts, pasta, potatoes, chocolate, cookies, rolled oats and breakfast cereals, beans (of any kind), bread, cereals, corn, refined sugar and seeds.
We know that bunnies love starchy foods, and these can be fed in very small amounts for adult rabbits — yet it is easy to overdo, and may result in soft stools or serious stomach upsets.
For Overweight Rabbits
Remove all pellets. Rabbits can make their own rich supply of nutrients in the caecum.
Do not fast rabbits for weight loss. Where rabbits are only given food for a certain amount of time each day, this leaves the bunny with nothing to do physically and mentally for long hours. Rabbits were designed to eat large amounts of food frequently and such a measure may lead to a sluggish gastrointestinal tract due to lack of stimulation.
If your rabbit is not used to getting fresh foods, start out gradually feeding them with the leafy green vegetables and add a new food item from the list every 3 to 5 days.
Rabbits eating paper and wood
This is seen where the bunny has stopped eating pellets but eats all the newspaper in their enclosure or hutch. These rabbits are craving fibre, as they are not on unlimited (or usually any) hay or greens.
Supplements (enzymes and bacteria)
These products do no harm but are usually unnecessary when the rabbit is eating a more natural diet.