If you own, or have ever owned a bunny, you will know how sensitive their stomachs can be. You have to be vigilant about what you feed these little mammals, as many types of food can cause digestive issues.
Rabbits eat a herbivorous diet, meaning they only eat plants, veggies, and leafy greens. Their daily diet should consist mostly of hay, with smaller doses of fresh vegetables, and, occasionally, a limited amount of pellets.
Out of these, hay is the most important food item for a rabbit. That is why the bulk of a bunny’s diet should be high-quality hay.
So, rabbits eat hay, but what about grass? After all, hay is just dried or mown grass. Well, if you see a rabbit out in the wild, you’re likely to see it grazing on grass. You will often note that rabbits build their warrens (dens) near green spaces.
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This is so they can easily access the lush green grass to nibble on. Then, as soon as they’re full, they can retreat back to their warren for a post lunch nap.
As for pet rabbits, they can also eat grass from your backyard, as long as it is fresh and has not been treated with any chemicals.
Although rabbits can and do eat grass, there are certain factors to consider. For instance, you should never allow a rabbit to eat significant amounts of grass immediately, such as when they are young, as their stomach will need time to adjust to the new food.
Also, do not use grass that has been cut with a lawn mower, aka lawn clippings. The primary reason for this is that within just a few hours of the grass being cut, it begins to ferment, which is also the first step of rotting. This process is accelerated when the grass is clumped together and the temperature is hot. Fermented grass is bad for your rabbit.
Additionally, the inside of your lawnmower never gets clean, and always contains some amount of old, rotting grass. Your lawnmower could also contain the remnants of weeds and other plants that are dangerous to rabbits.
It is best to let your rabbit eat grass that is still growing. If you must cut the grass on your own, cut it manually, such as with a scythe, and immediately feed it to your rabbit. Don’t let it lie around for any length of time, especially in piles.
For the reasons mentioned above, it is important that you cut the grass by hand, and not with a lawn mower, even if you are going to feed it to your rabbit right away.
To find out more about the rules of feeding grass to rabbits, continue reading. We will be discussing how safe grass is for rabbits, how much grass is too much grass, and much more.
Can Rabbits Eat Fresh Grass?
Seeing a rabbit eat grass is one of the most natural sights to encounter. For wild rabbits, their diets are largely grass-based. For many, it can make up the majority, if not all, of their diet.
This trait is why domesticated rabbits tend to have a liking for grass. Let your pet bunny run around on your lawn, and they will probably start eating some grass.
In general, fresh grass is completely safe for rabbits to consume. However, there are always possible dangers lurking in lawn grass, so you must consider a few things.
Firstly, make sure your grass has not been chemically treated. If so, the grass could be toxic to rabbits.
Consider if your lawn grass has recently been cut by a mower. If so, fermentation will occur and could upset your rabbit’s stomach.
If you have other pets that use your lawn, they may leave urine on the grass, which can be toxic to rabbits. The same applies to any wild animals, such as birds, who may leave behind feces and urine on the grass.
If your rabbit has never eaten grass before, but you want to introduce it to them, you must do so slowly. Too much grass, all of a sudden, can cause stomach distress and digestive issues. In serious cases, this could be fatal.
If you consider these factors, and have ensured that your grass is safe, then your rabbit should be able to eat your lawn’s fresh grass with no issues.
By allowing your rabbit to exercise in your backyard and nibble on grass, it will satisfy their natural instincts, and provide them with nourishment.
To make sure your grass is safe for a rabbit to eat, we recommend setting up an exercise pen. Here, the grass can retain its freshness and be free from any outside dangers.
Alternatively, you could also implement a grass box onto your rabbit’s hutch. Here, they can enjoy some grass when they have had enough hay. As long as you change the grass regularly for fresh, clean grass, then your bunny will be happy.
How Much Grass Is Too Much Grass?
Once a rabbit is used to eating grass, you do not need to worry about how much they eat. It is like hay. Because grass is calorie-neutral, it is safe for rabbits to eat in large amounts and, best of all, it will satisfy their hunger.
But, the same does not apply to rabbits who are not used to eating grass. If you’re introducing grass to a bunny for the first time, do not let them gorge themselves straight away.
Any type of new food in their diets can upset their stomachs. If they eat too much grass at once, they may become sick.
You should introduce small amounts of grass to your rabbit’s diet. You can either grow your own or purchase it from a pet store. If you gradually introduce grass to their diets, they will slowly start to adapt to digesting it.
Always keep an eye out for any possible reactions after your rabbit eats grass. Check for any signs of digestion trouble, such as diarrhea. Diarrhea can be deadly for rabbits, as it leaves them dehydrated. If this persists, you must contact your veterinarian.
But, as long as you offer moderate amounts of grass, and do so slowly and gradually, your bunny will benefit from having grass in their diet in the long run.
Can Rabbits Eat Grass And Hay?
Yes, rabbits can eat both grass and hay. However, you should never replace hay with grass, unless strictly advised by a vet. Hay is full of fiber to aid a rabbit’s digestion, and it’s stronger than grass, helping a rabbit wear down their ever-growing teeth.
Grass should not be avoided, though. Rabbits tend to enjoy grazing, so allow them to eat grass as part of their diet. But, make sure 80% of their diet is made up of hay.
Rabbits do indeed eat grass, and they love nibbling on it. Just be careful when introducing it to a rabbit for the first time.