Rabbits eat grass! The major part of their diet should be grass, dried grass or good quality hay as they need high levels of fibre to ensure proper digestive function.
Rabbits also enjoy fibrous leafy weeds and vegetables in small amounts – dandelion, groundsel, broccoli, carrots, etc.
Rabbits do not need high levels of protein, fat or carbohydrates, so only an eggcup-full of proprietary rabbit food is needed each day.
Rabbits like to graze all day, so ‘ad lib’ access to hay or grass is the best. Constant chewing keeps their teeth in good condition.
Rabbits need room to move around and exercise. Their hutch should be high enough that they can stand upright in it, and at least three times as long as it is high. Daily access to the garden or a bigger outside run is essential.
Clean the hutch regularly to reduce the risk of infection and parasites.
Rabbits need at least 6 hours sunlight a day, as this is important for teeth and bones, so ideally they are out in a run every day (weather permitting!).
Rabbits like being together, and are best kept in pairs, although single ‘house rabbits’ do enjoy human company!
Rabbits produce two types of faecal pellets. The hard, dry pellets are made of indigestible fibre that they cannot use. They also produce soft, moist pellets called caecotrophs that are eaten as they are passed – this allows the rabbit to absorb essential vitamins. If the rabbit has bad teeth or is obese, these cannot be eaten, and the rabbit may become deficient in some vitamins.
Rabbits often have a problem with soiling around their bottoms, which can attract flies to lay their eggs there which then hatch into maggots – this is a condition called fly strike, and can be life-threatening. Soiling may occur if the rabbit is obese and cannot clean its bottom, or if the rabbit’s diet does not have enough fibre in it. ‘Fly-strike’ can be limited by applying an ‘anti-maggot’ preparation that can be obtained from your vet.
We would like to introduce you to the Pet Health Club from Isabelle Vets that aims to bring you peace of mind by covering nearly all of the routine costs and procedures that are not covered by pet insurance.