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rabbits101

Diet, food, pellets, hay, fruits & veggies information and resources

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Aug. 8th, 2005 | 11:30 am
mood: busybusy
posted by: thesara in rabbits101

BASIC DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR THE HEALTHY 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.

Hay is crucial to your rabbit's health as it is the main source of fiber/roughage which aids the digestion, helps prevent g.i. 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.

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 TBL - 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)


VEGETABLES
NOTE: At least three different vegetables a day are recommended - any combination of lettuces counts as ONE veggie for that day)

Alfalfa, Radish And Clover Sprouts
Asparagus
Basil
Beet Greens1
Bok Choy
Broccoli1,2
Brussels Sprouts
Carrots And Tops1
Chard
Chicory Greens3
Cilantro
Clover
Collard Greens3
Dandelion Greens (Pesticide Free!)
Eggplant
Endive
Escarole
Grass - Freshly Cut From Your Backyard,
If You Are Sure There Are No Chemicals, Fertilizers, Poisons (Park Grass Usually Has One Or All Of These)
Kale3,4
Mint
Mustard Greens
Mustard Spinach3
Okra Leaves
Parsley1
Pea Pods (A.K.A. Chinese Pea Pods)1
Peppermint Leaves
Peppers (green, red, yellow...)
Pumpkin Leaves
Radicchio
Radish Tops
Raspberry Leaves
Squash: Zucchini, Yellow, Butternut, Pumpkin
Turnip Greens3
Various Lettuces, Avoid Very Light Hearts: Romaine, Butter, Green Leaf, Boston, Bibb, Arugula... No Iceberg
Watercress1
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FRUIT
NOTE: Feed only once or twice a week in small amounts - NO seeds or pits! Sugary fruits, such as bananas and grapes should be fed only as occasional treats, and NO fruit should be fed to rabbits who are overweight.

Apple
Blackberries
Blueberry
Pineapple
Melon
Papaya
Peach
Plum
Pears
Raspberries
Strawberries


NO GRAINS, LEGUMES OR NUTS! These are not natural foods for rabbits and they can be very dangerous to gut function.

1 Good source of vitamin A, feed at least one daily

2 Some bunnies may find this a rather "gassy" veggie. If diarrhea occurs, remove from diet.

3 These veggies are higher in calcium, use sparingly, once or twice a week. For older buns, or those with bladder or kidney problems, avoid, unless otherwise directed by your rabbit vet.

4 High in either oxalates or goitrogens, which can cause or exacerbate sludging, and other calcium/kidney problems. Use sparingly!

All of the above information is from www.mybunny.org


More resources for diet information:
HRS Diet FAQ
Rabbit Feeding
Food Chart (pdf)
How To Feed the Rabbit Gastrointestinal Tract (pdf)
Carrot Cafe
Learn to read the label!
About Nutrition in Small Mammals
The Key To Better Bunny Health
General Diet Info
Rabbit Diet and Nutrition
Natural Nutrition Part I: The Importance of Fiber
Natural Nutrition Part II: Pellets and Veggies


More resources for recommended food:
ABC’s of Rabbit Safe Vegetables & Fruits
HRS Suggested Vegetables
HRS What to Feed Your Rabbit
UK Which Plants?


See Nutrition information and pictures of all veggies you could need for your buns =:3



xoxo
thesara

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