What should you feed your pet bunny? Many people think that bunnies thrive on lettuce and carrots only. However, the truth is that your bunny needs a balanced diet because they have a sensitive digestive system. On the other hand, there are also numerous misconceptions about what you can feed your bunnies.
When you feed your bunny a specific food for the first time, it must be done gradually to allow the digestive system to adjust.
The unique ability of your bunny to process nutrients and fiber allows bunnies to adapt to various environments. The sensitive digestive system of bunnies means you must be mindful and extra-careful of what to feed your bunnies.
Bunnies are relatively greedy eaters. While their diet should predominantly consist of water and fresh hay, up to 20% of the diet can include fresh food that humans eat, which are fruits and vegetables.
Fresh foods are always best and safe for bunnies, especially those that are high in nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and fiber, while being low in acid and sugar.
When preparing your bunny’s diet, rotate the foods you feed him or her to allow your bunny to have a wide variety of nutrients. Also, all of them are different, thus when introducing a new type of food to your bunny, give him a small amount and observe his reaction. Keep a close watch for any signs of diarrhea or soft pooh.
What your Bunnies can Eat
Bunnies love a good meal. Your bunny will be happy with a balanced diet of vegetables, hay, pellets, and freshwater. Serving your bunny with a poor diet can lead to indigestion, weight problems, illness, and even death.
Hay is a bunny’s staple food. It should make up the bulk of your bunny’s diet. You should always have hay readily available at all times. Your bunny would love alfalfa hay.
Hay is an essential food for bunnies because it contains vital fiber they need to promote digestive health. Hay also wears down a bunny’s teeth for good dental health because his teeth grow continuously.
Hay should be placed at one corner of a bunny’s liter. Hay, in the litter box, will encourage your bunny to use the box. Additionally, bunnies often poop while eating hay.
Choose fresh hay that smells and looks clean and not hay that looks moldy, brown, and does not smell fresh. It is best to buy hay in bulk from a local farmer or buy in bags from your local pet store.
Feed your bunny small quantities of pellets. Make sure always to purchase fresh pellets because your bunny’s nose can easily detect stale pellets. Make sure too to choose pellets that are rich in fiber and low in protein.
Avoid pellets that are mixed with certain treats such as dried corn because aside from being unhealthy, these additives may cause issues with your bunny’s sensitive digestive system. Limit your bunny’s intake of pellets as they grow older, especially when you often purchase high-protein pellets because this can lead to many health issues and obesity.
Your bunny should always have a fresh supply of fresh water at any given time. Hang a water bottle with fresh water in their cage although, bunnies also love to drink water from a bowl. You can also opt to include an ice cube in your bunny’s water dish on a hot day.
To encourage your bunny to drink enough water, you can dip his vegetables in a fair amount of water.
Vegetables are the favorite foods of bunnies and should always be part of their daily diet. Always make it a point to feed pesticide-free and fresh vegetables. Thoroughly wash vegetables too, before feeding them to your bunnies.
Introduce new vegetables gradually to observe their reaction. Never feed your bunny leaves from your houseplants because most of them are poisonous to bunnies. You can feed your bunny these vegetables:
- Carrot tops (they should be given sparingly though because they are rich in calcium)
- Mustard Greens
- Broccoli leaves (avoid feeding your bunny with the tops and stems because they can cause him to be gassy)
- Dandelion leaves
- Dark leaf and Romaine Lettuce (except iceberg lettuce and cabbage)
- Collard Greens
- Bok choy
- Kale (not too often)
Fruits are best given as treats. They should, however, be given only in small amounts because of their sugar content. Choose organic fruits (pesticide-free). Make sure they are thoroughly washed, too, before feeding to your bunny.
Feed your bunny any of these fruits once or twice per week.
- Apples (minus the seeds)
The amount of fruits you can feed your bunny depends on his age.
Your bunny will love to be fed treats, but too many treats can affect their health. Do not feed your bunny treats that are high in carbohydrates (bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, pretzels, cereal, or chips).
Avoid feeding your bunny commercial bunny treats that are high in sugar and fats (yogurt chips). Chocolates are toxic to bunnies and should never be fed to them.
What your Bunnies cannot Eat
Several foods can impact your bunny’s digestive system and overall health. Some foods are surprisingly poisonous to your bunny, too.
Being a vegetable, cauliflower should relatively be healthy for your bunny. Although vegetables are good sources of fiber and high-fiber hay, cauliflower can cause your bunny to be gassy and bloated.
While fruits are tasty snacks for your bunny, avocados are not included in the list. Avocados are fatty fruits and can be deadly for your bunny when ingested.
- Iceberg Lettuce
You should never feed your bunny iceberg and other light-colored lettuce because they can contain lactucarium. Lactucarium is a harmful chemical for the health of your bunny. Besides, lettuce is mostly water and will not add any nutrients to the diet of your bunny.
● Hamster Food
Aside from your bunny, you may have a pet hamster, too. You should however, avoid feeding both pets with the same foods. For instance, your bunny will not benefit from hamster food because it contains little to no nutrition.
Cereals such as muesli (a processed food consisting of peas, flaked maize, grains, seeds, peas, and pellets) can cause your bunny to have tummy and tooth problems.
Never feed your bunny chocolates because this sweet treat is poisonous to him.
Bunnies are herbivores – plant-eating animals. Domesticated and wild bunnies would never eat meat.
● Peanut Butter
Peanut butter and walnuts are high in fat and should never be fed to your bunny. The peanut butter will not benefit your bunny in any way, but instead, give him a tummy ache.
Oatmeal will not cause your bunny any harm, but it is not an ideal meal for them. Your bunny will better appreciate a continuous serving of hay, greens, and freshwater. Oatmeal will not contribute anything to your bunny’s nutritious diet, so rather not feed them with it.
Walnuts are low in fiber but high in fat. Walnuts can, therefore, cause your bunny to have indigestion. Fresh herbs and vegetables are better snacks for your bunny than walnuts.
The list mentioned above is a good guide when deciding on what to feed your bunny. Your pet bunny needs a healthy and well-balanced diet, thus making sure to feed them nutritious foods. On the other hand, avoid foods that are harmful to your bunny.
Be extra-cautious when deciding on what to feed your pet bunny so you can enjoy each other’s company for many years.