Rabbit Nutrition by Dr. Ashleigh Rhoades
The most important part of the rabbit’s diet is an unlimited supply of grass hay. Grass hay provides essential fiber as well as proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Hay also provides some of the work needed to keep the teeth worn down due to all of the chewing the rabbit needs to do to break it down. Hay should be kept in a box or hay rack and should always be kept available. Grass hay is preferred to alfalfa hay because it is lower in calories and calcium.
Another important part of the diet is fresh, leafy greens which provide vitamins, mineral, proteins, and carbohydrates. When introducing greens to the diet, do so one at a time every 3 days to make sure your rabbit is handling them well. The amount of greens to feed is a maximum of 1 packed cup of green for each 2lbs of body weight daily. Some examples of greens are: dandelion greens, raspberry leaves, kale, mustard greens, collard green, beet greens, and cabbage.
Pellets should also be a staple of a rabbit’s diet. Commercial pellets are designed to promote rapid growth, and weight gain. Once a rabbit reaches adult size, I recommend that the amount of pellets being fed be cut down to 1/4c per 4lbs of body weight per day (Maximum).
Fruits and other vegetables should be considered more along the lines of “treat” foods and should only be fed in small quantities per day. Feed healthy “treat” foods a maximum of 1 level tablespoon per 2 pounds of body weight daily. Some examples of healthy treat foods are: carrots, apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, squash, tomatoes, papayas and mangos.
Make sure to speak to your veterinarian if you have any questions about the health of your rabbit.