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Why is diet so important?
• Feeding is perhaps the single most important factor in maintaining a healthy rabbit
• In the wild rabbits eat grass! They may graze for 6-8 hours plus per day. Their whole digestive tract – from
teeth to gut’s end is adapted to this diet & eating habit
• Rabbit teeth grow continuously throughout life. They depend on their diet to help wear down their teeth &
keep all their teeth in good shape. Without healthy teeth a rabbit will not lead a happy & healthy life
• Rabbits are also naturally ‘coprophagic’, meaning they eat some of their own droppings. They need to do this
in order to keep themselves and their digestive tract healthy
• Many commercial “rabbit” foods do NOT contain enough fibre, which is essential to good pet rabbit health.
The fibre content of your pet rabbit’s diet should be greater than 18%

Staple Diet: Keep it simple. Provide them with a “Hay and Veggies” diet.
Give them hay – Provide your rabbits with a constant supply of good quality fresh grass or grass hay eg;
Timothy, Oaten, Pasture, Paddock, Meadow or Ryegrass hays. (Not Lucerne or clover hays as they are too high
in protein and calcium). This is paramount in providing the complete diet and encourages “chewing” for long
periods of time
Veggies are good too – Feed fresh leafy greens & vegetables. As a guide, feed around 2 packed cups of leafy
greens per kg (at least 3 different varieties) per day, some examples are;
Veggies: broccoli, cabbage, celery, endive, beet/carrot tops, brussels sprouts, spinach leaves, Bok Choy, dark
leafed lettuce varieties (no iceberg lettuce)
Herbs: parsley, dandelion, coriander, basil, dill, mint etc
What about treats? Treats may be offered in small quantities (only 1-2 tablespoons per rabbit per day!)
Some examples are; most fruits, root vegetables (carrot, sweet potato), capsicum
No-Nos! (these should not be offered to pet rabbits). Cereals, grains, nuts, seeds, corn, beans, peas, breads,
biscuits, sweets, sugar, breakfast cereals, chocolate!

Other Important Points
• Rabbits should NOT be fed on “pellets” or “mixes”. Many commercial rabbit pellets do not meet the nutritional
analysis as set out below. If pellets are offered, consider them as treats. They should only be offered in treat
• Try to keep feeds & feeding habits consistent. Any changes made should be made gradually (over a 2-3
week period) to minimise digestive upsets
• Other supplements, salt licks etc aren’t necessary
• Providing other objects to chew on is also a good idea, try offering items such as wooden chew blocks, old
telephone books etc. If their hutch is of wooden construction it may be chewed, so beware!
• Always have fresh clean water available – preferably from a water bottle type drinker. Open water bowls may
be soiled by the rabbit which could promote disease
• If possible, allow rabbits to have access to natural unfiltered sunlight, UV light is an important factor in their
Vitamin D metabolism
Suggested Pet Rabbit food analysis
Crude fibre >18% (Indigestible fibre component >12.5%) Phosphorus 0.4-0.8%
Protein 12-16% Vit A 10,000-18,000 IU/kg
Fat 1-4% Vit D 800-1200 IU/kg
Calcium 0.6-1.0% Vit E 40-70mg/kg

Rabbits can make ideal loving pets. They have special needs that must be met to enable them to live a happy and healthy life.
There is a wide variety of rabbit breeds. It is important to familiarise yourself with what a rabbit needs & what you are able to
provide. There are many aspects to housing, feeding, handling, health & veterinary care to consider. (more…)