What Do Rabbits Eat and Drink? — Diet For Rabbits

what do rabbits eat and drink

There are many different foods that your rabbit can eat but not all of them are healthy. If you are new to rabbits, then you may want to know much about their eating patterns and food. In this article, we will answer the question ‘What do rabbits eat and drink?’.

Rabbits can eat pellets, hay, rabbit flakes, and other treats and their diet consists of 90% Fiber. They have a unique organ called the “cecum”, which serves the purpose of breaking fiber down into nutrients and fat. Rabbits will drink most liquids. However, not all liquids are healthy for them to drink. Water is the best choice for rabbits to drink.

What Do Pet Rabbits Eat?

In general, Rabbit’s diet is going to closely resemble that of a wild rabbit.

When shopping for rabbit food, you will be looking for hay or vegetables for rabbits to eat.  But you also will be shopping for treats and pellets.

Before going further, we must know that adult rabbits have different dietary needs than baby rabbits.  So let’s break this section down and look first at what you should be feeding a baby and an adult rabbit.

What Do Baby Rabbits Eat?

What would a baby rabbit eat depending on what kind of rabbit it is? is it a wild baby rabbit or a pet rabbit? Wild rabbits eat only hay since that is what is widely available in the wild. On the other hand, pet rabbits eat different types of foods.

However, a newborn rabbit might not be able to eat some kind of food such as vegetables at a very early stage. In this case, Run to a vet and they will prescribe what you should feed them. Most of the time it is Kitten milk replacer or Goat milk that veterinarians prescribe.

Be very careful when you feed baby bunnies. they should be placed in an upright position and should be fed by an eyedropper or small syringe. Never use an old eye dropper or syringe. Bring new from the store. And boil them in hot water before using them.

What is the exact amount you should feed baby bunnies and how often should you feed? These two factors are important as well. Anything wrong can cause those little bunnies to suffer. 

How often do you feed a rabbit? The following are basic guidelines for babies.  Remember, they can vary from species to others:

  • 1-2 weeks old: 5-7 cc/ml, twice a day
  • 2-3 weeks old: 7-13 cc/ml, twice a day
  • 3-6 weeks old: 13-15 cc/ml, twice a day

Baby bunnies should be fine if they are fed following the above amount. Additionally. There is something else you should pay close attention to, you have to make sure that they are defecating and urinating after eating. If you notice anything not normal contact the veterinarian immediately.

What Do Adult Rabbits Eat?

Hay: The staple of a rabbit’s diet

Rabbit food pyramids contain long-stemmed fiber, in the form of hay, which makes 90 percent of a rabbit’s diet. They need to have an unlimited supply of fresh hay daily.

Your rabbits should be fed by grass hays. Good types of grass hay for bunnies are orchard grass, timothy, oat hay, and brome. You can feed your rabbits either one type or a mixture of different grass hays. Buy the freshest hay and check for the existence of dust or mold, which could cause your rabbit health issues.

Since Alfalfa hay is a legume, it may not be a good choice for an adult rabbit, not a grass, and as such is too rich to be fed on a daily basis. Alfalfa hay can be given to rabbits occasionally as a treat. Rabbits under 12 months of age can be fed alfalfa hay, but as they get older they should be switched to grass hay, especially if they are also being fed alfalfa pellets.

Pellets: Feed a bunny small quantities

Timothy hay pellets can be fed to rabbits in small quantities. An average-sized 6 to 10-pound adult rabbit only needs a one-quarter (¼) cup of pellets daily. If your rabbit is under 5 pounds, feed just one-eighth of a cup. Rabbits larger than 10 pounds do not need more than a quarter (¼) of a cup since it’s not a crucial part of a bunny’s diet.

Rabbits under 12 months old can be fed alfalfa pellets. Be sure to feed grass hay (rather than alfalfa) if you are feeding your rabbit alfalfa pellets. Look for pellets with a high fiber content — the higher fiber amount the better. Do not buy the rabbit pellets that have dried corn, nuts and seeds added, because those foods can potentially be very harmful to rabbits.

Vegetables: A rabbit’s favorite foods

Rabbits count herbs and vegetables among their favorite meal. Most greens found in a supermarket are safe for rabbits, with a few exceptions and limitations.

Not give your rabbit more than two cups daily of fresh vegetables. Rabbits under five pounds should get just one cup of fresh veggies daily. A variety of three or four vegetables is ideal. Add one new vegetable at a time, and watch carefully for signs of loose stool or diarrhea because, as mentioned above, rabbits have delicate digestive systems. Some vegetables can be given to your rabbit every day, while others should be fed sparingly, one or two times a week.

Do not feed your rabbit corn, potatoes, seeds, beans, or nuts. These foods are not healthy for rabbits’ digestive systems and can cause severe digestive problems.

Vegetables that can be fed to a rabbit daily:

  • Bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrot tops
  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
  • Okra leaves
  • Watercress
  • Endive
  • Cucumber
  • Escarole
  • Fennel
  • Radicchio
  • Radish tops
  • Sprouts: alfalfa, radish, clover
  • Lettuces: romaine, green leaf, red leaf, Boston bibb, arugula, butter
  • Bell peppers
  • Wheatgrass
  • Zucchini

Vegetables and plants to give sparingly (one or two times a week) to a rabbit:

  • Carrots
  • Clover
  • Collard greens
  • Flowers: calendula, chamomile, daylily, dianthus, English daisy, hibiscus, honeysuckle, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, rose
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Broccoli (stems and leaves only)
  • Kale
  • Dandelion greens (pesticide-free)

Fruit: Give to a bunny once or twice per week

Fruit should be fed to your rabbit one or two times a week. The suitable serving is one to two tablespoons of fruit (either one kind or a more) per five pounds of body weight. As with vegetables, fruit should be given slowly and one at a time.

Fruit to feed your rabbit (one or two times a week):

  • Banana
  • Apple (no seeds)
  • Cherries (no seeds)
  • Berries: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries
  • Melon
  • Grapes
  • Nectarine
  • Papaya
  • Pear
  • Peach
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Orange
  • Treats: Feed to a rabbit sparingly

Let’s agree that rabbits have a sweet tooth like a lot of people. Like us, treats are at the top of the food pyramid for rabbits and therefore should be fed moderately. Healthy treats for your rabbit contain small pieces of fresh or freeze-dried fruit (the approved fruits listed above).

Try reading the component list on store-bought treats because not all of them are healthy for rabbits. Avoid treats that include added preservatives, sugar, and artificial coloring, and don’t dare to give your rabbit human treats.

What Do Pet Rabbits Drink?

Do pet rabbits drink water?  Yes!  Actually, wild rabbits turn to ground sources of water to stay hydrated, so if you give your rabbits water out of a bowl, that mimics how rabbits would drink in the wild.

You can buy water bottles for rabbits, but these are largely used in breeding facilities and the like because they are convenient for staff—not because rabbits enjoy them.  Rabbits prefer bowls, so go with a heavy ceramic bowl (a light-weight plastic dish will “fly” a lot, as you know rabbits like to chew and move things around).

What Rabbits Can’t Eat?

Some foods are not healthy for rabbits under any circumstances because they can make your rabbit in bad condition.

Here are some foods to avoid giving your rabbit completely:

AcornsLeeks
AlmondsLegumes
Apple seedsLentils
Artichoke leavesMushrooms
AvocadoMustard greens
BeansNoodles
BreadNuts
CabbageOlives
CandyOnions
CauliflowerPasta
CheesePeanut butter
ChocolatePeanuts
CoffeePeas
Corn husksPopcorn
CrackersPotatoes
DatesQuinoa
EggsRhubarb
FigsRice
GarlicSeeds
Green onionsSilverbeet
HoneySugar  
Hot peppersTurnip greens
Iceberg lettuceWalnuts
KelpYogurt

Conclusion:

Now it is clear for you what rabbits can eat and drink! While it is true that you should feed your rabbit mostly hay, do not be afraid to treat them every once in a while. Simply make sure that the treats are verified to be rabbit-safe, and in the appropriate amounts. 

A well-fed rabbit will have a plump body, a glossy coat, a perky personality, and bright eyes. Feed your rabbit right to help them stay healthy, and they will be your loving companion for the rest of life.

Related Topics:

Can rabbits eat cucumber? Is It Safe For Your Bunny?

Can Rabbits Eat Strawberries?