Diet

Rabbits in the wild will spend 80% of their time foraging for food and providing a rabbit with a bowl of mix and a carrot will not occupy them for long. Ideally a domestic rabbit's diet should mimic the wild as much as possible, with plenty of hay and/or grass, with smaller portions of greens and pellets. Unlimited good quality hay is the foundation of a healthy diet for a pet rabbit. It not only keeps them occupied for long periods of time, which reduces boredom and helps prevent behavioural problems, but it also keeps the teeth trim, the jaw strong and provides fibre to maintain healthy gut movement.

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Rabbits love their treats but over indulgance can lead to serious problems; excess sugars and starchy treats can cause an inbalance of healthy bacteria in the gut and lead to fatal digestive problems and/or obesity (see Bessie below). Healthy treats are things like small chunks of carrot or apple, broccoli and other greens. If your rabbit is suffering from a dirty bottom one question to ask is "Is my rabbit over weight?" If the answer is possibly yes then a strict diet could be the answer!

Pellets are recommended over a food mix, especially for rabbits feeding together as it prevents selective feeding. Rabbit mix only provides a balanced diet if the rabbit eats all of it, but some rabbits tend to pick out their favourite bits and two or more rabbits together eat different components of the mix. A pair of rabbits should have no more than a small handful of pellets between them a day. It is possible to overfeed your rabbit even on a good pellet. Don't fall for the "I am starved" story .... hay, hay and more hay is the answer!

Fresh water should be available to them at all times either via a drinking bottle or bowl.

Never change a rabbits diet suddenly as this can trigger digestive upset, especially in babies or rabbits that are stressed,(eg from a move) which can be fatal. Take at least 1-2 weeks to gradually change over and feed lots of hay making small changes and additions one at a time, giving the bun 24hours before deeming the new food suitable for your rabbit. Remember what suits one rabbit's digestive system may not suit anothers so take it slow and steady. If the new food results in an excess of sticky poos then either remove from the diet or alternatively cut back the amount and try again once your rabbit's system has returned to normal.

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Please click the following link for a list of fruits and vegetables that are safe for rabbits. If you are unsure then err on the side of caution and avoid it, there are plenty of safe alternatives.

http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/resources/content/leaflet_pdfs/going_green_oct_06.pdf

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