Caring For Rabbits

Caring For Rabbits

Diet & Nourishment

Daily Recommended Diet for Rabbits:

A rabbit's daily diet consists of unlimited access to fresh timothy hay and water. They should also receive fresh vegetables, high-quality pellets, and the occasional treat. Typical adult daily feeding should consist of:

  1. eighty percent timothy hay
  2. 1 to 4 cups of leafy greens
  3. ¼ cup of pellets per 4 to 8 pounds of body weight.
  4. Fruit is not recommended for house rabbits. Sugary treats, which can cause GI stasis, are not necessary to a rabbit's diet.
Graph of Daily Recommended Diet for Rabbits chart

Rabbits under 6 months of age should be fed:

  1. unlimited amounts of alfalfa hay
  2. unlimited young rabbit pellets.
  3. Introduce fresh greens at 12 weeks of age in lesser amounts.
rabbit eating greens
  • Unlimited Grass Hay.
  • Timothy-based pellets with NO additives or seeds and a minimum of 18% fiber. Limit to 1/4 cup per 5lbs of body weight per day.
  • Rabbits under one year of age may have alfalfa-based pellets.
  • Greens like Romaine, Green Leaf, and Red Leaf lettuces. Herbs such as Cilantro, Dandelion leaves, and Parsley. (❌ No Iceberg)
  • Treats (all in moderation!):
    • Fresh herbs
    • Store-bought “healthy” treats like Oxbow Simple Rewards
    • Apple wood twigs
    • Very limited amount of fruit/carrots
  • Pellets with artificial additives and seeds
  • Treats with any dairy, seeds, molasses - even if a bunny is pictured on the package.
  • Unlimited amount of fruit/carrots

HAY! Hay is an essential part of a rabbit's diet. Without hay, rabbits are subject to illnesses such as GI stasis (to be discussed later), tooth problems, and early death. They need unlimited access to fresh hay 24/7. Listed below are a just few of the reasons why hay should be 80% of your rabbit's diet:

  1. It helps rabbits maintain a healthy weight.
  2. It helps keep their constantly growing teeth trimmed.
  3. It promotes a healthy gut.
  4. Creating interactive toys with hay encourages natural behaviors such as foraging.

Types of Hay

High quality hay is essential for rabbits. Types of hay can vary from a pet store to a farm store. Good hay should be green and smell fresh; it should not feel like straw. Your rabbit will eat more hay if it is of better quality

Rabbits need unlimited access to fresh hay and it should make up 80% of their daily diet. Hay helps promote a healthy gut, files teeth down and reduces hairballs and other blockages. There are several different kinds of hay a rabbit can eat. Changing your hay choices and brands can encourage picky eaters to start munching and can sometimes reduce allergy symptoms for humans and bunnies.

1st Cut Timothy Hay
2nd Cut Timothy Hay
3rd Cut Timothy Hay
Orchard Hay
Oat Hay
Botanical Hay
Alfalfa Hay


Pellets should make up about 5% of your rabbit's diet. As with any food, not all pellets are equal in quality. Pet stores stock their shelves with foods that promise to be “gourmet,” “premium,” “improve dental health,” “fortified with vitamins,” or contain “all-natural ingredients.” Do not be fooled by flashy advertising. Superior quality timothy hay-based pellets are all your rabbit needs. You should avoid commercial pellet food brands with seeds, fancy colored pieces, dried fruit, corn or oats, artificial ingredients, or brands that list added vitamins or minerals. If you are feeding your rabbit a healthy diet focused on hay and fresh greens, they do not need added vitamins and minerals.

You will find articles arguing the true benefit of pellets in a rabbit's diet. Rabbit owners and even vets are split on the issue. If you choose to feed a lower quality of pellets, you must replace the nutritional value lost by increasing the vegetables you provide. Consult a rabbit-savvy vet about the best diet plan for your rabbit.


Vegetables are known as “greens” to most rabbit-savvy people and are crucial to your rabbit's health. However, the KIND of vegetables is just as important as the quantity. The list below is not all-inclusive, but the list of what NOT to feed your rabbit is significant to its health. Rabbits have a delicate digestive system, and anything that could upset that system is dangerous to their health.

Feed a variety of these daily:

  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Carrot tops
  • Celery (cut into small pieces)
  • Cilantro
  • Clover and clover sprouts
  • Dandelion greens and flowers
  • Dill
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Green peppers
  • Lemongrass
  • Mint leaves
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Radicchio
  • Radish tops
  • Romaine lettuce (❌ No Iceberg)
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Turnip greens
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • Wheatgrass
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini squash

The following foods should not be offered more than once per week. Kale and spinach are high in calcium, which rabbits do not need. If given in high quantities over an extended period of time, it may cause kidney problems in the future.

  • Beet tops
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli leaves and stems
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens

Foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar can cause gas in rabbits. Instead of giving fruits and carrots to your rabbit, you should give them decent quality treats.

  • Avocados
  • Bread
  • Cabbage
  • Chocolate
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Cereals
  • Corn
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Nuts
  • Onion
  • Pasta
  • Raw potato or skin
  • Rhubarb
  • Seeds
  • Sugary treats
  • Yogurt drops

These items and other human “treats” can cause intestinal problems, including a toxic overgrowth of “bad” bacteria in the intestinal tract. Beware of “rabbit treats” sold in stores. They may include seeds, nuts, corn, or too much sugar. If you grow your own herbs, make sure the herbs are NEVER sprayed with pesticides or treated with any repellants sprayed from lawn maintenance companies.


Rabbits drink a lot of water. Unlike other small animals, rabbits should not drink from bottles hung on the side of a pen. A water bottle forces a rabbit to tilt its head in an unnatural way to drink. Bottles are difficult to clean thoroughly, which can make it easier for algae and bacteria to grow. In several cases, rabbits have gotten their lip or tongue stuck under the ball, resulting in extremely painful injuries to their mouth and even death.

Bottles are not an acceptable option to provide your rabbit with water. Ceramic bowls, gravity water dispensers, or bowls that can attach to the side of the pen make an excellent option for your rabbit.

water dishes

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PO Box 915522 | Longwood, FL 32791

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