What do rabbits eat? [Comprehensive Rabbit food guide for every rabbit farmer ]

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rabbit foods

What do rabbits eat, essential rabbit food list

Feeding is an important rabbit rearing, the food you give to your rabbit determines how productive and healthy the rabbits will be.

This is the reason why every rabbit farmer should seek for answers to the what do rabbit eat question.

So, as a rabbit farmer, it is very important you understand what your rabbits love to eat and drink.

In this rabbit food guide, you will learn what to feed your rabbits and what not to feed rabbits.

In addition, you will also learn how to source for your rabbit food.

Read also: 15 Essential tips: How to take care of rabbits for high productivity

Feeding in rabbits

Rabbits are herbivores and therefore live on grasses, roots fruits and vegetables.

Their Gastrointestinal tract produces special droppings called cecotrophs “night faeces”, that they consume so they can be digested a second time.

rabbit foods

So, you will most likely not see much of your rabbit faeces because they are consumed after dropping them but what do rabbits eat?

Read also: 10 best rabbit breeds in Nigeria and their characteristics

What do rabbits eat?

Rabbits eat majorly hay, a little amount of fruit and vegetables with very few pellets as treat.

Rabbits get lot of nutrient from hay therefore it is the most important part of rabbit daily diet.

Quality grass-based hay such as brome, Timothy or orchard should make up the bulk of your rabbit’s daily diet.

Pellets, fruits, fresh vegetables and water are also vital component of the rabbit food but most not be taken in excess.

List of what rabbits like to eat

1. Rabbits eat Hay

Hay is one of the best foods that ruminants and herbivores eat, Rabbits belong to that class of animal.

Therefore their food should contain plenty of Hay after been weaned and as they mature. 

What do rabbits eat

Hay are grasses, legumes, or other herbaceous plants that have been cut and dried to be stored for use as animal food.

It is an important animal food particularly for large grazing animals raised as livestock, such as cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. 

However, it is also fed to smaller domesticated animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

Read also: Easy step by step rabbit feed formulation practical guide

Hay is very useful in rabbit, it is very important for efficient gut function and movement.

It is also important in keeping the length of their teeth in check.

Simply put, you can’t answer the what do rabbit eat question without mentioning hay

Rabbits who are not given any kind of hay are likely to suffer from painful abscesses due to long teeth and other illnesses. 

2. Concentrates and Pellets should be part of your rabbit food

Pellets are a formula that helps rabbits to get deficient nutrients in Hays, therefore it must be used to complement Hay.  

Pellets are also good after weaning your rabbits, so, after weaning, start with pellets and gradually introduce Fresh grass and Hay to them.

what do rabbit eat and drink

As the weeks continue, increase the Hay/Grass for them. It will get to a stage; they will be looking forward to your coming. 

Note that as the food intake increases, their poop increases. 

Rabbit is a wonderful animal that can poop while eating

 3. Rabbits eat Fruits

Almost all fruits that humans eat are good for rabbits as a treat but not as the main food or regular meal.

Carrot for example should be given as a Treat. 

It’s high in sugar and not good in large quantity for rabbits.

Note: Fruit is very good for the rabbits not as a meal but as a treat.

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Fruits with high sugar content should be restricted to treats only no matter the temptations.

Which Fruits can rabbit eat?

The following fruits can be offered to rabbits but as treat

  • Alfalfa
  • Apple
  • Banana (fruit and peel)
  • Blackberry
  • Cherry
  • Apricot
  • Currants
  • Nectarine
  • Cucumber
  • Grapes
  • Mango
  • Orange
  • Melon (all melons)
  •  Papaya
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon.

You can give your fresh leftovers to them too but not anyone that’s already in contact with SALT.

4. Rabbits eat Vegetables

It is also important that you feed your rabbits vegetable. 

Vegetables are a good source of valuable roughage, as well as vitamins. 

You should offer your rabbits vegetables as early as 3 months of age.

Introduce new vegetables one at a time and gradually, don’t rush vegetable on the rabbits. 

Feed the rabbit different varieties of vegetable lefty, dark and root vegetables.

Read also: Food security: NALDA set to launch ‘Grow Your Farm’ project

Continue to add new varieties and observe the rabbits, once your rabbits are used to different vegetables, mix the vegetable and feed them.

Which vegetable can rabbit eat?

The best vegetable for rabbits are 

  • Asparagus
  • Kale
  • Beetroot
  • Marog
  • Cauliflower leaves
  • Baby Sweet Corns
  • Bell Bok
  • Romaine lettuce (not Iceberg or light coloured leaf)
  • Spinach (only occasional)
  • Eggplant (purple fruit only; leaves toxic)
  • Grass (if cut from your own chemical/fertilizer/poison free back yard-I spread it out and dry it)
  • Okra Leaves,
  • Rocket (also known as Arugula)
  • Spring Greens

and Pumpkin should be fed to the rabbits

Read Also: How to start snail farming business successfully

5. Rabbits need Treats

It is important to supply rabbits with treats high in calories such as oats, barley and fruits should be given sparingly. 

What do rabbits drink?

6. Rabbit needs Water

You cannot properly feed your rabbit without including water.

Water is an important part of rabbits diet and it should be available to them at all times. 

what rabbits eat

The water should be changed every day and the water feeder or bottle cleaned with dish soap at least once a week. 

Here are precaution to be taken when feeding your rabbits

  • While feed your rabbits, ensure that all food materials are fresh and free of insects or ants.
  • Ensure that all food materials are washed thoroughly before supplying them to your rabbits.
  • Do not feed your rabbits roadsides material or contaminated food material.
  • Feed the rabbits at least once a day or twice.
  •  Ensure you feed them hay regularly
  • Do no feed them processed food materials because it can upset their system.
  • Do not change their food type suddenly, slowly integrate any food material to the rabbits.

Read also: How to easily start and make money from snail farming business

  • If you start changing their food and notice that their poo is becoming soft, withdraw the food, and  allow four days before adding the food again. this will help them readjust.
  • Ensure that they are comfortable while eating and not being disturbed. though they mostly eat at night or calm hours.

Let’s consider what Rabbit should eat or not eat. If you see too many of your rabbit faeces in the cage.

It means there is a problem and therefore should seek the help of a vegetarian.

What not to feed rabbits

With what do rabbits eat answered, here is a look at what rabbits do not eat.

Like we rightly stated before, not all foods are good for your snails.

There are fresh vegetables that are good for Rabbits while there are some that are not good for rabbits like cabbage.

Read also: Apply for 2021 IITA/IFAD Agrihub Training Project For Unemployed Nigerian Youths

  1. Processed food

Your rabbit should NEVER be given any processed food or cooked meal meant for human.

These food materials are capable of causing health challenges or killing rabbits.

They have a delicate digestive system that could lead to diarrhoea and eventual death.

2. Canned Food

Canned food is forbidden for your snails. Rabbits can’t stand salt and sugar in their system. 

3. Cabbage

If you must allow them to graze in the garden, avoid leaves that are not recommended like Cabbage. 

Cabbage is always recommended as part of fresh vegetable component in rabbit diet and it also contains Calcium that is needed for rabbit ever-growing teeth.

But overshooting the 15% mark for cabbage also cause them to bloat and with that, they will be uncomfortable and distressed.

how to care for rabbits

So, it is better to be avoided, or better still carefully supplied to the rabbits.

4. Iceberg lettuce

Do not feed a rabbit iceberg lettuce as it is void of nutrients, it is mostly water and will fill a rabbit up unnecessarily.

5. High carbohydrate containing foods

Food that contains too much carbohydrate is also not good for rabbits.

Too many carbohydrates can lead to enteritis or other conditions/illnesses in rabbits.

6. Chocolate

Your rabbit should never be fed Chocolate, it is no-no for rabbits.

Chocolate  sweet treat can be poisonous to rabbits therefore, it should never be included in your rabbit diet.

7. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter has high fat content, it is of no meaningful use to the rabbits.

It will do nothing for the rabbit except to cause tummy ache. This will make the rabbit restless and can lead to sickness.

8. Meat

As herbivores, meat is of no nutritional benefit to rabbits. It shouldn’t be considered a part of their diet.

 9. Potatoes

Potatoes are not harmful to rabbits but they contain high carbohydrate and starch.

High carbohydrates and starch in the rabbit system can lead to digestive complications.

it is therefore, better to avoid them than cause harm to the rabbits.

10. Walnuts

it is not good to feed Walnuts to the rabbits, walnuts have high fat content.

Too much fat is bad in rabbit, it causes difficulty in digestion.

Walnut is better avoided in your rabbit food program.

Summary of what do rabbits eat

What do rabbits eat is the right question any rabbit farmer should have answers for.

Rabbit foods are common but one has to be careful about what you feed your rabbits.

Feeding is quite an important management practice. 

Supplying the right proportion of rabbit food should be every farmer’s priority. 

If you can follow these feeding rules, you will eventually avoid veterinary office for a long time.

We hope this post has been helpful in your understanding of rabbit food and how to formulate rabbit food.

Let us know your thought in the comment box below, as always, we will love to hear from you.

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