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Feeding Rabbits

Brownish red bunny

One of the joys of keeping pet rabbits is bringing them a delicious treat and watching their enthusiastic dining. These adorable animals are strict vegetarians that can live solely on a diet of quality hay. Most rabbit owners prefer feeding commercially manufactured pellets, which are formulated to meet all the animal’s nutritional needs. They don’t need anything else, but few can resist giving their friend a treat.

Mother rabbits wean their babies at about six weeks. It’s fine to add a bit of timothy hay to the hutch just before weaning. A general rule of thumb is to feed about a half cup of pellets each day for every six pounds of body weight. That’s not a lot of food, and makes rabbits inexpensive to keep. Like humans, most rabbits lead a sedentary lifestyle and can overeat, so it is important to limit food.

Rabbits love food diversity, so treats add zest to a purely pellet diet. They love apples, pears, grapes, and even bananas. And like Bugs Bunny, most rabbits love carrots! Keep fruit portions very small to avoid stressing the rabbit’s delicate digestive system – a few tiny chunks twice a day is plenty. Present any new food in a tiny quantity and make sure it agrees with the bunny before feeding it again.

Although it’s easy to over-feed a rabbit, water is another matter. Rabbits need fresh clean water available all the time. In summer’s heat they will drink much more than in the winter, but even in winter they must have constant, fresh water. Small electrically heated pet bowls keep water ice-free during the coldest weather, but remember that rabbits love to chew on wires, so either buy a pet bowl with the electrical cord protected, or make the wire inaccessible to your bunny.