Rabbits love to eat and would eat all day if they could, especially if the food is fresh and contains a lot of greens.
The proper care of rabbits begins with what they consume; poor feeding can cause problems with their intestinal tract and teeth.
To properly care for a rabbit, you must understand the best diet is for your rabbit and the best rabbit feeding schedule.
How often do you feed a rabbit is often asked, considering they always appear to eat. In our guide, you can find more about feeding these natural grazers and what makes up their natural diet.
By the end, you’ll have more information on what to feed a small rabbit compared to growing rabbits and when rabbits stop eating. Besides this, if anyone asks, when do I feed my rabbit, you’ll have the answer. (Read Can Pigs Eat Watermelon)
How Much Food Should a Rabbit Eat Daily?
Quality pellets, fresh hay, water, and fresh veggies are the foundation of any decent adult rabbit diet. Anything above these essentials should be considered a “treat” and provided in small amounts. The amount of these vital nutrients varies depending on the rabbit’s age.
Here you can find a breakdown of what rabbits eat as part of their diet.
Commercial pellets are crucial during the early stages of rabbit development since they are abundant in nutrients and aid in optimal weight increase. Good feed pellets should contain a high fiber content and be nutritionally balanced.
However, as a rabbit matures, don’t overfeed pellets, as they should contribute less to their diet and be replaced with more grass, hay, and vegetables. Overfeeding pellets to adult rabbits results in obesity and other health problems. In babies, you need to limit the amounts as they have to be slowly introduced to their digestive tract.
Fresh hay should be available to rabbits 24 hours a day. Alfalfa hay is fine for rabbits under
seven months, but older rabbits should eat grass hays like timothy or oat hay. Fresh hay is necessary for a rabbit’s health because it provides roughage, which reduces the risk of hairballs and other obstructions.
Fresh water should also be supplied to your pet at all times. Replace the water in the dish or water bottle with fresh water every day. Some rabbits prefer water bowls, while others don’t mind using sipper bottles. (Read Can Pigs Eat Tomatoes)
Vegetables give essential vitamins and valuable roughage. Vegetables can be introduced as early as three months of age. This way, if your rabbits get a stomachache, you’ll know which food it is. Continue to introduce new types, including dark leafy green vegetables, and once accustomed to a range of veggies, feed them at least three different ones each day for a balanced diet.
Kale, mustard greens, and spinach are high in oxalates that can build up and produce toxicity. Rather than eliminating these vegetables, you can feed them to most rabbits once or twice per week.
Rabbits love fruit, but it should be fed as a healthy treat in moderation because of its high-calorie content. Rabbits can digest modest amounts of oats and barley, but they offer far more energy than is required. In rabbits, too much carbohydrate has been linked to enteritis.
Some foods to include and leave out of your rabbits adult diet are:
- Carrot tops
- Beet greens
- Bok choy
- Brussel sprouts
- Romaine lettuce
- Green peppers
- Dandelion greens
- Swiss chard
- Mustard greens
- Meat & dairy
- Iceberg lettuce
You can see most of the favored foods for a proper diet are leafy plants and fresh greens, which is what rabbits eat as part of their natural daily diet when in the wild.
Feeding stages of rabbits:
For the first three weeks, a baby rabbit, or kit, survives entirely on its mother’s milk. The milk contains significant antibodies that help protect the infant from disease during the first few days. The kit will start nibbling on alfalfa hay and pellets after three weeks. Baby rabbits can withstand unlimited access to pellets and alfalfa hay, besides their mother’s milk, by the age of seven weeks. Depending on the breed, kits are typically weaned from their mother’s milk by the age of eight weeks. (Read Can Chickens Eat Shrimp)
Between weaning and seven months, the juvenile rabbit can eat unlimited pellets and alfalfa hay. Begin introducing modest amounts of veggies to your rabbit’s diet around three months of age. One veggie at a time should be introduced. Avoid giving any vegetable that appears to create stomach issues in the future.
Timothy, grass hays, and oat hay should be supplied all day for young adult rabbits. The hay’s fiber is vital for their digestive systems. They will need less alfalfa hay and pellets now. Instead of unlimited pellets, 1/2 cup per 6 lb body weight daily is a decent rule of thumb.
To compensate for the nutritional loss, give your rabbit more veggies and hay. You can give your rabbit fruits during this period, but keep it to 1-2 ounces per 6 pounds of body weight each day.
Grown-up rabbits should be fed unlimited amounts of hay. Again, feed limited quantities of pellets as part of their diet. 1 cup pellets for 6 lb of the rabbit’s body weight per day is typical. Several veggie servings are needed, such as 2 cups per 6 pounds of body weight daily. Choose dark leafy greens and feed three varieties daily and a small amount of fruit on occasion.
Senior rabbits over six years old can be fed the same food as mature adults if they are not overweight. If your pet is losing weight, you may need to boost pellet consumption as part of medical care. Alfalfa can be fed to underweight rabbits with normal calcium levels. Annual blood tests for calcium and other blood components are advised for older rabbits.
Can You Overfeed Rabbits?
A rabbit can’t consume too much grass hay. If a rabbit has access to alternative meals that are easier to eat, rabbits eat the taster food and leave the hay. Also, too many pellets or sugary treats can cause a rabbit to overeat instead of eating hay.
To prevent overeating, restrict the number of dry pellets daily and only give small quantities of treats, especially to young rabbits.
Obesity in rabbits is a severe condition. Because rabbits have such a sensitive digestive tract, they suffer intestinal issues that require medical attention. If you think your rabbit is overeating and at risk of obesity, you will need to modify its diet and lifestyle.
How Long Can Rabbits Go Without Food?
Most owners, in the beginning, may not be sure of how often to feed rabbits. However, you need to be sure your rabbit has enough food during the day rather than too little if they look obese.
It is better to feed them the best food in the right amounts rather than the same size portion of poor quality foods.
Going 12 hours without eating could produce a pH change in the GI tract, causing uncomfortable gas. These unpleasant gases would cause a decline in appetite and eventually no appetite, particularly in a baby rabbit.
What time should I feed my bunny?
Besides, how often should I feed my rabbit? Many owners ask when should I feed my rabbit?
Rabbits usually eat during night and dawn in the wild. This is because rabbits are nocturnal animals, which means a rabbit prefers to eat at night. We recommend feeding your pet rabbit a steady supply of leafy greens at night before you go to bed and again in the morning.
This would make your pet rabbit happy because, like in the natural, rabbits enjoy eating at night. You should also give them constant access to water replenished regularly, be it a bowl or sipper bottle. (Read Do Rabbits Eat Pepper Plants)
It’s also critical to keep the food your pet rabbit eats clean and pest-free. If your pet rabbit isn’t eating the small amounts of vegetables you left the last time you fed them, it’s time to get a new batch of vegetables.