What should I feed my rabbit?
Rabbits and fibre are great friends; they need extremely high levels to keep their digestive system and their teeth in good shape. Rabbits have highly complex digestive systems, and to keep healthy they perform what we would deem to be strange behaviour when it comes to their digestion.
Rabbits have the ability to produce 2 different types of poo! You will likely have found evidence of the hard droppings in your rabbit’s enclosure when you have cleaned it out. However, they also produce poo which is smaller, shiny and sticky. Rabbits eat these sticky droppings they produce as these are where essential nutrients are found, and they re-digest them to absorb the essential nutrients. This is why the diet should be 85-90% hay to keep their digestive system working well.
Yes, you read that correctly - rabbits eat their poo!
However, the occasional treats of Apple (pipless), banana, savoy cabbage, turnip, carrot, swede, spinach, parsley, basil, dill, oregano, coriander can be given in moderation. After all, we all like a treat.
Rabbits also love gnawing things – if you don’t give them something appropriate with which to do this, they may eat their home! Fruit tree branches are good for giving to your rabbits so they can express this behaviour which should hopefully prevent any destructive chewing due to boredom.
What should I never feed my rabbit?
Never feed the following foods:
Apple pips, avocado, potato, potato tops, rhubarb (leaves and stalks), tomato leaves, any plant that grows from a bulb, bluebell, yew, foxglove, garlic, onion, shallots, chives, hemlock, buttercup, dock, ivy, poppy, privet, primrose, ragwort. If in doubt do not feed it to your rabbit. Cereal bar-like treats can be very high in sugars which may reduce your rabbit’s hay intake so these are best avoided. You can find more information on rabbit nutrion from Burgess.