Rabbit Nutrition: What rabbits eat could be crucial to their health. If you know WHAT rabbit food ingredients are essential for health, you can more easily provide healthy rabbit food.
Here are some categories of nutrition, reasons why they are important, and amounts and percentages that will result in healthy rabbits.
Not into the technical stuff?
Skip the nutrition lesson
and go straight to What
Do Rabbits Eat for guidelines on feeding your
rabbits, especially your pet and house rabbits, so they will stay healthy and
happy. Or, check out our e-book, Feeding Your Rabbits, which covers the gamut from pelleted feeds to do-it-yourself feeds without pellets.
We list fiber first, because it is so crucially important for rabbit nutrition and health. Rabbits need lots of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Their guts need the fiber to keep the contents moving along. Should the intestinal transit time slow down, a couple problems could happen.
That’s why fiber -
both soluble and insoluble fiber - is crucial for rabbit nutrition:
Try these high fiber hay options:
We also recommend this Kaytee Alfalfa Free Fiber Diet feed for older rabbits.
Water is another essential ingredient in rabbit nutrition. A rabbit can go many days without feed, but only 3 or so days without water.
Ideally, your rabbit will have access to an unlimited source of fresh water every day.
Winter may pose understandable challenges, due to frozen water tubing, valves, nozzles and crocks. In wintertime when our water lines are frozen, we carry fresh water to our rabbits several times a day.
We also heat the water. It will stay 'wet' longer if it starts out at a high temperature.
If winter lasts for
many long months in your area, you might consider warmers for your watering
system and tubing.
Actually, of more than 50 identified nutrients a rabbit needs, just a few are critical to pay attention to, because the rest are plentiful in a normal rabbit diet. If you feed commercial rabbit pellets, the feed company has taken the worry out of supplying your rabbit’s dietary needs.
Rabbit Condition Enhancers: BOSS, Whole Oats
We highly recommend this Manna Pro Rabbit Pellet Supplement for conditioning and feeding your show rabbits.
Also try this Oxbow Multi-Vitamin Small Animal Supplement if your rabbit is stressed.
Currently the best commercial rabbit food available in the USA:
Age, moisture and light zap the vitamins in feed.
Old feed can mess
with your rabbit nutrition! After a few
months, commercial pellets lose their nutritional zing. Pellets older than 3 months old may not be able to keep your rabbits healthy for very long.
Keep feeding the old stuff, and your rabbits will lose their conditioning (overall
flesh condition and vitality) due to nutrient loss (oxidation). The animal may also go off
its feed and get diarrhea, possibly due to mold growth in old
FEEDING YOUR RABBITS
Feeding Your Rabbits is our guide on everything you need to know about a healthy rabbit diet. It includes information about store pellet feed or a home forage diet so you can choose the right fare for your hare.
Feeding Your Rabbits tells you how to feed your rabbits at all stages of life, including bottle feeding newborn babies, extra nutrition for pregnant and nursing does, supplements to enhance health, and even which plants are safe, and which are safe in moderation. Feeding Your Rabbits also has information regarding rabbit digestive health and diseases. A healthy diet will ensure your rabbit lives his best life!
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Lastly: You would be wise to absolutely minimize the amount of genetically modified (Round-Up Ready) ingredients in your rabbit's feed.
Why? First, because no adequate safety studies have been performed, and second, the scientists performing the tests have been in the payroll of those who stand to profit (Monsanto, et al). This is a HUGE conflict of interest. Additionally, Monsanto has a track record of intimidation against any unbiased scientists running studies that don't produce the desired results.
The only third-party long-term published safety study uncovered damning evidence of a health disaster with GMO forages; this study was withdrawn as the publication hired a new editor - an ex-Monsanto biologist.
See Fetus Images for our brief experience with a cheap feed containing a double whammy of GMO - both corn and soy. The story is only anecdotal, to be sure...
Corn and soy are almost certainly GMO in the USA. Unfortunately, organic feeds are usually extremely pricy. You would do well to find a feed without either ingredient, or at minimum, just one. Check the label or ask the feed mill whether your brand contains corn and/or soy.
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Go ahead - take any of our e-books for a test drive. Peruse our detailed informational and educational e-books. Examine our plans for building rabbit cages, runs, or metal or PVC hutch frames. Check out the Rabbit Husbandry info e-books.
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