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Looking After Your Feeding Rabbits: a simple guide

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Feeding Rabbits: a simple guide

Rabbits are now the third most popular pet in the UK, yet we still see problems with their husbandry, especially their feeding. 

Rabbits are herbivores (plant eaters) and as such, they need a diet that is rich in fibre to ensure the digestive system remains in good health and to prevent problems such as dental disease. Rabbit’s teeth continuously grow so they must grind this fibre to keep this growth in check. A diet lacking in fibre will result in dental disease and serious health problems. Rabbits will also re-eat some of their faecel pellets to extract nutrients that can only be digested a second time around. 

In the wild, rabbits would eat fresh grass, dry course grasses, wild plants and herbs. The diets of domesticated rabbits should mimic the diet of their wild cousins and hay and forage should form the bulk of a rabbits diet. This can be supplemented with fresh grass and wild plants such as dandelions, plantain and colts foot. You can buy ready made dried forage, such as dandelions and plantain to add to your hay

A small amount of fresh vegetables (broccoli, kale) and herbs (parsley, mint) can also be offered once or twice a week. Fruit (apple, banana) should be offered once or twice a month in small quantities as too much soft fruit and greens can cause diarrhoea. 

If you feed a good selection of hay, grass, forage and wild plants, there is often little need to offer any hard pelleted food. However, we are unlikely to exactly mimic the natural diet of a rabbit so a small amount of nuggets will ensure any missing nutrients are available. This type of food should form the smallest part of the diet. Our own Doolittle's Naturally Pelleted Rabbit Food is a nutritionally balanced complementary rabbit food suitable for rabbits of all ages.

A simple way to work out how much of each feed your rabbit needs is to give the equivalent size of your rabbits’ body in hay and forage and the equivalent size of your rabbits’ head in pellets. Cereal mixes often found in pet shops should not be fed as these encourage selective feeding and contribute to dental disease. 

Constant access to fresh water is very important and this can be easily achieved by offering your rabbit water in a drinker bottle or a bowl. Some rabbits like drinker bottles whereas others prefer water bowls.  There is no right or wrong way to offer this but you may find that water bowls are tipped over and can spoil the bedding. 

If your rabbit develops diarrhoea but is still eating, withhold the pelleted food and offer lots of hay, forage and fresh water. If the diarrhoea doesn’t resolve with 24-48hours, seek veterinary advice.Rabbits that don’t eat for 24 hours can be very sick so we recommend that in this instance your rabbit sees a vet immediately. 

We stock a full range of rabbit products but if you’re looking for something specific but can’t find it, just email: info@doolittlesdispensary.com and we’ll do our best to stock it for you.