Ashlea Veterinary Centre Ltd, Unit 2b Port Road Business Park, Carlisle CA2 7AF Reg no: 4759132
The rabbit has a unique biology, with a digestive system developed to suit a high fibre, low protein, low fat diet, and an extremely high requirement for calcium. These facts have important consequences to us as owners in terms of the feeding, housing and exercise of our pet rabbits.
Rabbits have ‘open-
In the wild rabbits are browsers, selecting the plants they like and ignoring others. If we choose to offer our pets solely shop-
However if your rabbit cannot have access to a garden then you will have to rely on commercially produced foods. By feeding good quality hay we can provide the rabbit with essential roughage and help to keep their teeth trim. Beware of old hay as it tends to be low in calcium and laden with mites and fungal spores; a commercially prepared, dried fresh grass can be purchased from the practice or from good pet stores.
Pet shops will frequently make up their own ‘rabbit mixes’; these mixes tend to be dominated by cereals, biscuit and peas, all low in calcium but balanced by the inclusion of a calcium-
A balanced ration is only balanced if your rabbit eats every part of the mix; if he is selective it may be necessary to change to another diet. Within the practice we stock Burgess Supa Rabbit Excel Pellets – an ‘all-
It is important for the health of our pet rabbit that we maintain an adequate fibre intake and avoid obesity. Although pelleted diets are marketed as ‘complete’ diets we would encourage rabbit owners to use them only as a minor part of the diet, feeding them perhaps during the evening while leaving the rabbit with access to fresh hay and water during the remainder of the day. Store bought rabbit treats should be avoided as they are often full of sugar and fattening seeds and can lead to obesity. Even root vegetables, including the classic humble carrot, are now thought to have worrying amounts of sugar within them!
In summary a balanced diet for rabbits should consist of :
70% grass/hay 20% vegetables 10% rabbit mix/pellets