• Settle Surgery

    Station Road
    Settle BD24 9AA

  • Bentham Branch Clinic

    Main Street
    High Bentham LA2 7LE

  • Gisburn Farm Office

    BB7 4ES

T: 01729 823 538

E: info@daleheadvetgroup.co.uk

RCVS Accredited

Rabbit Nutrition

Pet rabbit nutrition should aim to match the rabbit's natural diet by feeding mainly hay, grass and vegetables. Any dry food should be fed in small quantities and ideally in pellet form. The rabbit's digestive tract contains bacteria which break down this high fibre diet and they pass soft, mucus covered droppings at night which are eaten and digested a second time to obtain further essential nutrients.


The vast majority of illnesses in rabbits are due to poor husbandry (nutrition, housing, exercise etc.) and include:

- dental disease
- spinal problems
- obesity
- diarrhoea
- fly strike (myiasis)


These are easily preventable.


It is important that any changes in diet are made gradually but below is a list of what you should ideally feed your rabbit:
- unlimited access to hay
- rabbit food in pellet form
- fresh vegetables
- water


Rabbits always need to have access to hay, which should be dust and mould free. Make sure you place this in a hayrack and not on the bottom of the cage, otherwise the hay will become dirty quickly.


There are a lot of different kinds of rabbit foods on the market. You can divide them into 2 groups; mixed feeds and pellets. Pellets are strongly recommended because it prevents the rabbit picking out the bits of food it likes and leaving the remainder. This selective eating can often occur when feeding your rabbit a mixed food and it can lead to health problems.
The amount to feed your rabbit depends on their size and the amount of exercise they get. Remember that this is a supplementary feed and in most cases no more than 1-2 tablespoons per day needs to be fed. If you are not sure how much to feed your rabbit, please contact the surgery for a free nurse consultation.

Fresh Vegetables

It is recommended that you feed your rabbit fresh vegetables in addition to the pellet feed. Some vegetables are not advisable to feed however; lettuce, some types of cabbage, beans, clover, fresh spring grass and fodder beet are vegetables that can cause gas build up in the intestines (colic) and young animals up to 4 months of age can even die from this. Only feed these vegetables to adult rabbits and only in small quantities.

Suitable vegetables for rabbits include:

- twigs with leaves from fruit trees and willows
- carrot
- endive lettuce
- curly kale
- common plantain
- apple
- dandelions
- leaves from radish
- herbs like parsley and thyme
- archangel
- shepherd's purse
- pear



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