There are often a lot of misconceptions about rabbits, for example, a common question that people pose is whether they’re rodents or not! Similarly then, another question that gets asked frequently is whether rabbits are herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores!
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If you’re unsure as to whether rabbits are herbivores or not, then this guide will give you all the information you need to know about a rabbit’s diet, detailing the types of food that they eat, as well as how much they eat, and when they eat it!
What Do They Eat?
Rabbits are strictly herbivores, with their diet being entirely plant-based. The main reason for this diet is that they require a lot of fiber.
Additionally, the front four teeth of a rabbit will grow endlessly, and they need to be able to wear them down in order to maintain a healthy length. So the only way for them to be able to wear down these teeth is through the consumption of a lot of fiber.
Typically, rabbit food consists of grass and hay, along with some leafy green vegetables, which mimics exactly what most rabbits would tend to eat in the wild.
Can Rabbits Eat Meat?
You should absolutely never, under any circumstances, feed your rabbit meat. They’re unlikely to take it, and if they do, they’ll only do it once.
Rabbits are simply not designed to be able to consume meat, and if they do manage to eat a small amount, then they’ll like suffer from serious problems in their digestive system
As a result of eating meat, a rabbit will likely suffer from extremely loose faecal matter, as well as being incredibly ill. In fact, if a rabbit eats a certain amount of meat, then it’s likely to die.
This is because they are simply not adapted to be able to consume and process the high amounts of protein and fat that meat contains, and the lack of fiber in the meat means that even if the rabbit managed to survive the illness after eating the meat, it would most likely then die as a result of the lack of nutrition provided.
What Should I Feed My Rabbit?
There are a few things that go into a rabbit’s diet, so if you’re unsure as to what you should be feeding your rabbit, then hopefully this guide will help to provide you with some clarity as to what a rabbit’s diet should look like!
This long stemmed fiber is the staple part of any rabbit’s diet, since rabbits are grazing animals, they should have an unlimited amount of hay for them to be able to graze on all day long. This hay should also be fresh on a daily basis!
The best type of hay for a rabbit is grass hay, particularly timothy, oat, orchard grass, or brome hay.
Whether you feed them one specific type of hay or a variety of different hays, it makes no real difference, just ensure that the hay is fresh and has no mold, as this can make your rabbit sick.
Pellets are something that you can include into your rabbit’s diet definitely, but they aren’t something that should make up a large portion of it however.
As a general rule, an average-sized rabbit should only really be eating a quarter of a cup of these pellets per day. Even if your rabbit is bigger than the average size, you shouldn’t really increase the portion, seeing as they’re not crucial to your rabbit’s diet.
Rabbits absolutely love eating vegetables, and most of the green leafy veggies that you can buy from your local grocery store will absolutely be safe for your rabbit. In terms of portion size, you should limit their vegetable intake to around two cups a day, or about 10% of their diet. As part of the vegetable variety, you can also feed your rabbit herbs, such as basil.
Variety wise, keep it to about two to three different vegetables, and you should only add one new vegetable at a time. This is especially important as rabbits have rather sensitive stomachs, and introducing more than one new vegetable at a time could lead to particularly bad diarrhea.
Different types of vegetables can be consumed by rabbits daily, whereas others should be fed to them sparingly, no more than twice a week.
Able to be fed daily:
- Bok Choy
- Carrot Tops
- Bell Peppers
- Brussel Sprouts
Vegetables that you should feed once or twice a week:
Although not a natural part of a rabbit’s diet, you can absolutely feed them a small amount of fruit each week! The rule to stick to is 1 to 2 tablespoons of fruit per 5 pounds of body weight.
Similarly to the vegetables, you should introduce each new fruit incredibly slowly to your rabbit.
Fruits to feed your rabbit:
Foods To Avoid
Other than meat, there are a few other foods that you should avoid feeding your rabbit, and we’ve compiled a small list of them here:
These are just a few examples of things that your rabbit shouldn’t be eating, and this is because they lack the correct nutrition for your rabbit, and will likely cause them to become seriously ill or die.
So you should absolutely avoid feeding any of the above listed foods to your rabbit at any cost.
To summaries, rabbits are not omnivores, they are complete herbivores and have an entirely plant-based diet. You shouldn’t feed your rabbit meat at any cost as you’ll risk making them seriously ill, and could potentially kill them too.
This guide also contains a handy list of foods that you are able to feed your pet rabbit, from hay, to vegetables, and fruit too. Included as well are some other foods aside from meat that you should avoid, so that you know how to keep your rabbit happy and healthy!