After you have decided to keep a rabbit as a pet one of the first questions you will ask yourself is probably “what can rabbits eat?” This is a leading question, we all have a picture of Bugs Bunny munching on a carrot in our mind but there is so much more to it and quite rightly so. The rabbit diet is first and foremost simple fare but the key factor here is that it must be nutritious for them to thrive and grow.
So, we know it is full of nourishment, vitamins and minerals and it is a case of breaking this down into different components and to actually understand why we use the all important ingredients to make the feeding programme so healthy. It is not just a case of collecting a few vegetables together and hoping for the best – it is the combination of these together which will provide the balanced healthy diet necessary for the rabbit to lead a long and happy life.
The basis for the perfect diet is fibre, two kinds of fibre namely digestible and non-digestible to be exact. As a starting point the inclusion of fresh hay and grass should be given on a daily basis as not only will these provide the much needed fibrous elements but they will also act as natural tooth grinders and will help combat the very common problem of overgrown teeth. Rabbits teeth are constantly growing and if left unchecked can cause severe discomfort and even lead to more serious problems so keep a check on them – it is perfectly normal for a rabbit to constantly graze and munch, as they would do in the wild, so as an ongoing process they actually help themselves here providing they are supplied with the correct “tools” to do so. Next, look out for a high quality rabbit food complete mix and choose one that comes with high recommendation from your local pet food supplier or veterinary practice. There are several on the market and it is fairly daunting to make the correct choice but the best ones will have been scientifically developed over a long period of time and will supply all the vital minerals and vitamins in the correct proportions – what could be easier?
As far as fresh vegetables go the list is fairly endless and the favourites include broccoli, spinach, parsley, carrots, apples, bananas, grapes etc. As a rule of thumb, check out any new foods before feeding as there are certain things that should not be given under any circumstances. Try to avoid the use of muesli type foods owing to their very high sugar content which will only provide empty calories and, as rabbits have a very sweet tooth, they would selectively choose these foods over the healthy options given half the chance.
In summary, it is as easy as 1 2 3 – fibre, rabbit food mix and fresh fruits and vegetables and there you have it – a perfect diet for your favourite family pet.