The best food for rabbits can be found in a fresh, lush meadow with many different wild herbs and grasses. The long-eared bats’ diet is purely vegan, which means they only eat plants. The following tips tell you what to look out for when feeding rabbits.
“Om-nom-nom, that’s delicious,” says this rabbit in the green field – Shutterstock / Sergey Kudryavtsev
When it comes to the right diet for rabbits, the wild relatives of the tame bunny noses are the best example. Their food consists of green grass, various wild herbs, twigs and other plants that they find in meadows and bushes. The hoppers don’t need grain that much because it usually contains too much starch. Animal products that contain milk or eggs, such as yoghurt drops, are not suitable for rabbits!
Variety of choices is important in rabbit diets
Wild rabbits eat small amounts of green fodder throughout the day. To ensure that their nutritional needs are adequately covered, they make their diet very varied and choose what is good for them. Tame rabbits also prefer this form of feeding, where they can choose from a large selection of fresh food to their heart’s content. This feeding method is called “ad libitum” – that’s Latin and means “at will” – and should be made up of five feed groups:
- ● Meadow greens (grasses, wild herbs such as dandelions, etc. Attention! Wild garlic is poisonous!)
- ● Green fodder (greens from carrots, kohlrabi, radishes etc. as well as kitchen herbs)
- ● Hay (dried meadow greens)
- ● Vegetables, especially leafy greens (lettuce, etc., broccoli, carrots)
- ● Branches including leaves of bushes and trees
From time to time, about once a week, you can also offer your dwarf rabbit some peeled cucumber or washed pieces of pepper. In this size range, fruit is usually accepted, especially apples, and occasionally berries. Fruit contains a relatively large amount of sugar, so it is not recommended for daily feeding. In addition, lagomorphs need sufficient fresh water. Small water bowls are ideal, as the fur noses are used to drinking from streams and other bodies of water or puddles in nature. Change the water several times a day to keep it fresh.
Fresh green fodder for rabbits
It would be best if you gave your rabbits a run-out in your garden in spring, summer and early fall, so that they can feast on fresh greens right at the source. Alternatively, it is best to pick a colorful selection of grasses, wild herbs, twigs and leaves outdoors and offer them to your fussy noses. Furthermore, the animals need fresh, clean and high-quality hay at their disposal around the clock, both in a rack and on the stable floor.
In the supermarket there are sometimes boxes with the leaves and greens of kohlrabi, carrots and other vegetables. If they are not too wilted, you can ask if you can take them with you for your pets. Tip: To be on the safe side, rinse the greens before feeding and then put them in a vase with water – then they will be juicier later. You can also supplement the menu with kitchen herbs such as basil, parsley, lemon balm or mint.
Rabbit diet in winter
In winter, the supply of meadow green is naturally very limited. Then it is particularly important to feed them good quality fresh hay. There are also so-called dried herbs, which are also a good substitute for the meadow greens in the cold season. Sunflower seeds without shells and other seeds and seeds can also be served in moderation. They are very high in calories due to their fat content, so don’t overdo them. Since the dwarf rabbits absorb less water through their food as a result, you may have to change the water in the bowl more frequently. Leafy greens and kitchen herbs as well as fruit and other types of vegetables can also still be bought in winter, but should not replace dried meadow greens.
Caution! Dry herbs are not the same as dry food that you can buy ready-mixed in stores. Many experts advise against using the ready-made dry food, as the nutrient composition is unfavorable for rabbit relatives.
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