Rabbit Information

Rabbit care

Pg.18  Diet

 1: 80% of a rabbits’ diet is Hay

Choose sweet smelling hay without any dust or mold.

 

<<-- Grass hay

This is the usual hay available

 

 

 

 <<--Rye grass and clover hay

 Suitable for rabbits

 

 

  

<<--Lucerne hay can be given in

moderation only in combination with

other hay

 

 

 <<--Oaten hay 

 Very much enjoyed

 

<<--Straw

Straw is the stalk on wheat

Straw doesn’t have much food value for rabbits.

It is not harmful.

You can buy hay from pet shops or fodder stores.

 Hay supplies vary according to the season, so just get the best you can.

Lucerne, Alfalfa  and Clover are suitable in small amounts only as a supplement to grass hay or oaten hay

Rabbits in the wild basically survive on dry grass and roots and

tree bark. They even eat some dirt when they dig up roots.

Always supply fresh hay for constant grazing.

If hay is scattered all over the hutch, a rabbit may not toilet train

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 2: Fresh water at all times, either in sipper drink-bottles or heavy duty bowls.

Drink bottles must be kept very clean as algae can grow in the bottle and nipple.

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3: Branches to nibble on to wear down their teeth, such as pear, citrus, apple, hibiscus, and rose, and goji berry branches.

 

 4: Fresh grass is initially too strong for young rabbits, so increase grazing time by 5 minutes each day until grass tolerance is established, within a week or two.

When grass tolerance is established, a rabbit will enjoy grazing all day long.

Grass clippings from lawn mowing should not be given as they may contain oil and petrol fumes.

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 5: Forbidden food.

Bread, cakes, breakfast cereal, dried fruit, and biscuits, are not poisonous, but do not promote health.

They are high in refined carbohydrates and contain insufficient fibrous material to keep the bowel of a rabbit moving, causing fermentation, leading to sticky-bottom syndrome and sometimes bowel stasis.

Apple seeds, corn, and beans are particularly dangerous as they cannot be digested, and can cause bowel blockage, which is life threatening.

Rabbits are herbivores, so they definitely should not be given  dried dog or cat food.

I've even heard of people feeding their rabbit jelly babies. All refined sugars will eventually cause your bunny illness. Confectionery is a definite a No-No !!

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6: Commercial rabbit food.

 Rabbit treats such as bars and nibbles etc. are definitely to be avoided. They are actually harmful, as they are too high in refined carbohydrates, and fats

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RABBIT PELLETS

 Give pellets in small quantities only, as they can cause obesity and sometimes teeth problems.

They are too high in refined carbohydrates, protein, with insufficient fibre. When given too many pellets, a rabbit will fill up on pellets and not eat enough hay.

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Rabbit Mixes

           

Not suitable -->>

Choose a mix with limited amount of grains, dried fruit, or molasses. Remove any corn.

It should look dry and uninteresting, not like muesli.

 

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<<-- Not suitable

Rabbits don't need grains. as they are very high in carbohydrates and some are unable to be digested.

Anything similar to a birdseed mix, is not suitable for rabbits.

 

 

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                            Suitable dry mix-->>

Mixed chaff can be a mixture of Grass hays, Oaten hay, Clover hay, Lucine hay.

Chaff can be purchased from produce stores .Request chaff without molasses

If you make a request from your pet shop they may be interested to buy a bale and package up small quantities for their customers.

The occasional grain in the hay or chaff would be acceptable, as in the wild a rabbit would eat seeds from the grass it eat.

A suitable mix would be a combination of chaff with just a sprinkling of rabbit pellets.

Most people with  1-2 rabbits don't get around to making up a suitable mix of chaff with a sprinkling of pellets, so my advice would be to just give a variety of hay/fresh vegetables/grass and a very small quantity of pellets, such as an egg cup full each day.

It can be difficult for pet owners to buy small quantities of chaff mix, as most people just put rabbit food on their shopping list when they go to the supermarket.

The mixes in the supermarket are very often not ideal.

Rabbits can live a healthy life just on

hay, grass, and fresh vegetables

There is really no need to use a rabbit mix or pellets, although most people find it handy to give some dry mix, or pellets.

What I do

I have tried several mixes and have settled on chaff with a few pellets

For me, I have tried just giving chaff without pellets, but because I was breeding my bunnies, I feelt they needed that little bit of extra nourishment from the pellets during pregnancy, breast feeding, and when the baby bunnies are being weaned.

I liked my baby bunnies to be well covered, not still bony when going to their new home. I have found that baby bunnies just fed on chaff are still bony at 8 weeks of age.

Some people advise that baby bunnies shouldn't start fresh food until 3-4 months of age, but considering what would be happening out in the wild; a 4 week old baby bunny would be venturing out of the burrow for a quick feed of grass and any fallen fruit or other vegetation around.

Sensible introduction of fresh food from 4 weeks onward is well tolerated and tummy hardens the baby bunnies before they are sold to their new homes after 8 weeks of age.

The baby bunnies receive healthy preparatory gut flora  from eating their mother's caecotrophs, which she leaves for them to eat as they start to wean from her milk. This enables them to start eating fresh food as they would do at this early age in nature.

I liked to give the new owners a very large bag of my chaff and pellet mix, so that their baby bunny gets a good start, without any initial change of diet, and I tell them what fresh food they have already had a little of.

Any change of diet needs to be gradual over 2-3 weeks

When buying a rabbit, always ask for some of the food the baby bunny has been eating. It would be very stressful for the bunny to go to a new home as well as having a change of diet 

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Salt licks are not necessary

 

 

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