Recommended Diet

General Guidelines

The healthiest rabbit diet should be made up of unlimited fresh hay, a small amount of good quality pelleted rabbit food, and fresh leafy green vegetables. Anything beyond this is a treat and should be given in very limited quantities.

Pellet suggestions

Avoid rabbit foods that contain dried fruit, nuts, and colored bits, as these are unhealthy for your bunny.

Adults, teenagers and babies should have an unlimited amount of fresh hay daily -- timothy, oat, or orchard grass for adults. Alfalfa is for babies only. Hay is nutritious, as well as critical roughage for prevention of life threatening fur blockages. A cat litter box filled with hay works well. Stuff empty, unbleached toilet paper rolls with hay to give your rabbit a project!

Provide unlimited fresh water daily, either in a water bottle or a crock that can't be tipped over. Adult rabbits should also have an assortment of fresh greens daily. Make sure greens are washed and haven't been sprayed. No beans, potatoes, rhubarb or corn. The closer to nature the better. Avoid yogurt drops and other sugary treats, as well as human crackers and sweets. A small piece of banana, apple, raisin, or berry will send your rabbit into bunny heaven!

If your bunny hasn't been on a healthy diet, you will need to make the switch gradually. A rabbit's digestive system is very sensitive, so avoid drastic changes.

Babies & Teenagers: 7 weeks to 7 months

  • Unlimited alfalfa pellets
  • Unlimited fresh hay
  • At 12 weeks, start introducing leafy green vegetables, 1 at a time, in quantities under 1 oz

Young Adults: 7 months to 1 year

  • Introduce orchard grass, timothy or oat hay. Decrease alfalfa.
  • Gradually switch from alfalfa to timothy-based pellets.
  • Decrease pellets to 1/4 to 1/2 cup daily per 6 ponds of body weight.
  • Gradually increase daily veggies
  • Treats should be limited to no more that 1 to 2 tablespoons per 6 pound body weight every other day

Mature Adults: 1 to 6 years

  • Unlimited orchard grass, timothy or oat hay
  • 1/4 cup timothy-based pellets daily per 6 pounds of body weight.
  • Up to 2 cups leafy green vegetables daily per 6 pounds of body weight.
  • Some rabbits may need more or less than these amounts. Please consult your vet for individual guidelines
  • Treats should be limited to no more that 1 tablespoons per 6 pound body weight every other day

Senior rabbits: Over 6 years

  • If sufficient weight is maintained, continue adult diet.
  • Frail, older rabbits may need increased food to maintain weight. Annual blood work-ups are highly recommended for geriatric rabbits. Please consult your veterinarian.

Recommended Veggies

Select at least three kinds of vegetables daily. A variety is necessary in order to obtain the necessary nutrients, with one each day that contains Vitamin A, indicated by an *. Add one vegetable to the diet at a time. Eliminate if it causes soft stools or diarrhea.

Basil
Bok choy
Carrot tops* (Carrots themselves are a treat)
Cilantro
Clover
Collard greens*
Dandelion greens and flowers (no pesticides)*
Endive*
Escarole
Mint
Mustard greens*
Parsley*
Pea pods (the flat edible kind)*
Peppermint leaves
Raddichio
Radish tops
Raspberry & blackberry leaves
Romaine lettuce* (no iceberg/light greenleaf)
Watercress*
Wheat grass

* = Contains Vitamin A, please give one each day.

Use Sparingly

Alfalfa, radish & clover sprouts
Beet greens (tops)*
Kale* (!)

Recommended Treats

Carrots
Apple (remove stem and seeds)
Blueberries
Melon
Orange (including peel)
Papaya
Peach
Pear
Pineapple
Plums
Raspberries
Strawberries

Sugary fruits such as bananas and grapes should be used only sparingly, as occasional treats. Bunnies have a sweet tooth and if left to their own devices will devour sugary foods to the exclusion of healthful ones. Don't let them guilt you into giving the a whole banana!

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"Reflection Of Compassion" is a lovingly commissioned series of original watercolor and gouache illustrations created especially for SaveABunny Rabbit Rescue by artist Elizabeth Koval Maffeo. (All images copyright 2008 SaveABunny. All rights reserved.)