It seems that rabbits eat all day long if they have a constant and unlimited supply of hay in their cage or hutch.
Is this feeding enough, or do rabbits need other types of food too?
And if so, how many times a day should I feed my rabbit to ensure they thrive and their digestive system functions optimally?
How Many Times to Feed Your Rabbit?
You should feed your rabbit between 0.5-1.5 cups of fresh leafy green vegetables and 0.25-0.5 cups of high-fiber pellets twice a day.
The best time to feed your rabbit is early morning before the sun is fully up and in the evening before it is fully dark.
Besides the leafy greens and pellets twice a day, your rabbit should have high-quality hay in their cage or hutch all the time so they can keep their digestive system running and their teeth from overgrowing.
Your rabbit should also have access to clean drinking water all day long.
Limit treats like bananas, carrots, beetroot, and dried fruits to small amounts.
When Should You Feed Your Rabbit?
Rabbits are crepuscular animals. In the wild, rabbits leave their underground burrows at dusk and dawn to eat, exercise and socialize.
Wild rabbits eat clover, grass, roots, tubers, weeds, and edible flowers.
This gives you a clue as to when is the right time for you to be feeding your pet rabbit: early in the morning and in the evening when your rabbit is most active.
When to Feed Your Rabbit by Age
Does the age of your bunny matter when it comes to feeding time? Not really, and here’s why:
Baby rabbits drink milk from the mommy rabbit with the rest of the litter.
At the three-week age mark, you can give the kits (baby rabbits) nibbles or a handful of alfalfa hay and pellets twice a day since they will still drink milk from their mom.
At the seven-week mark, ensure the kits have an unlimited supply of pellets and alfalfa hay, which provides your rabbits with the energy they need.
This is also the last week of drinking milk because the kits should be weaned when they are eight weeks old.
Also read: When do Baby Bunnies Leave the Nest?
When the kits have been weaned until they are seven months old, keep them on an unlimited supply of alfalfa hay and pellets.
From the three-month age mark, introduce about 0.5 cups of one leafy green vegetable at a time and feed this to your bunny.
For example, if you start with radicchio, then stick with only radicchio for about a week to make sure your bunny doesn’t have any digestive issues.
Then the next week, you can feed your bunny radicchio and another green twice a day for a week.
The following week, introduce a third green vegetable and continue like this.
You can also start feeding your rabbit one to two ounces per six pounds of body weight of fruit or high-calorie vegetables like carrot or beetroot every day.
If your bunny has any digestive problems with a vegetable or treat, make a note and don’t feed it again.
Young Adult Rabbits
When the bunnies are seven months to twelve months old, introduce timothy hay, grass, or oat hay in an unlimited supply.
You can also start feeding the bunnies twice a day.
Give them 0.5 cups of high-fiber pellets for every six pounds of body weight together with fresh, leafy greens.
You can also introduce fruit and high-calorie veggies as treats but make sure these are limited to one to two ounces of treats per six pounds of body weight.
Mature Adult Rabbits
Feed your mature rabbits an unlimited supply of high-quality oat hay, grass, and timothy hay.
Feed 0.25 cups of pellets per six pounds of body weight, two cups of three different kinds of leafy greens per 6 pounds of the body to your rabbit twice a day.
For example, you may choose to feed your rabbit basil, bok choy, and radicchio today and then do spinach, radicchio, and green peppers tomorrow.
Use treats like berries, bananas, and carrots in small quantities as rewards when training your bunny to do tricks.
Feed senior rabbits that are six years old or older the same healthy, balanced diet as you do for mature rabbits.
To recap, senior rabbits also need an unlimited amount of hay and feed pellets and fresh, leafy green vegetables twice a day.
If your senior rabbit struggles with losing weight, then feed them more pellets and alfalfa hay.
Before you introduce alfalfa hay, have a blood workup done via your local vet to check if your rabbit’s calcium levels are normal.
If they are normal, then you can feed alfalfa hay.
When Should You Give Your Rabbit Water?
Your rabbit should have an unlimited supply of fresh drinking water every day.
You can change their water bottles or water bowls at least twice a day: once in the morning and once at night.
Change the water more often in winter if you keep your rabbit outdoors and you live in an area where it snows.
Frozen water doesn’t help your rabbit so it’s essential to check that their water is drinkable in snowy conditions.
Some FAQs about Feeding Your Rabbit
Should I feed my rabbit once or twice a day?
It’s recommended to feed your rabbit twice a day.
Feed them three types of leafy greens and a small number of pellets in the early morning (dusk) and then again in the evening (dawn).
What should I feed my rabbit daily?
Your rabbit should have an unlimited supply of hay and water every day.
Then feed them pellets and leafy greens like arugula, butter lettuce, collard greens, romaine lettuce, thyme, and lemongrass twice a day.
You can also add some jewelweed, bindweed, borage, lavender, lemon balm, marigolds, and hibiscus to the leafy greens.
You can feed treats like kiwi, mango, asparagus, oatmeal, beetroot, and fennel in quantities of less than 2 tablespoons for a 6-pound rabbit when you train your rabbit or as a treat.
What should I not feed my rabbit?
Don’t feed your rabbit beans, cabbage, chocolate, nuts, pasta, yogurt, cheese, or anything dairy-based.
Avoid sugar, seeds, potatoes, peas, crackers, corn, cauliflower, or other human treats.
How much hay should my rabbit eat?
Your rabbit should have an unlimited supply of hay.
Timothy hay is the best because it is the coarsest and most fiber-dense, but you can mix orchard, oat, meadow, ryegrass, bluegrass, herbal, fescue, or marsh hay with the timothy hay for your rabbit.
Your bunny needs to constantly chew on the hay because the fiber is essential to keep its digestive system running.
Plus, the hay helps to wear down their teeth so your rabbit doesn’t struggle with overgrown teeth that are painful and that lead to other health issues.
Should I give my rabbit supplements?
Your rabbit doesn’t need additional supplements if they eat a healthy diet of 70%-80% hay, 10-15% leafy greens, 5% pellets, and 0-5% treat.
You can sometimes give your rabbit a salt or mineral block to alleviate boredom, but beware that these can lead to high calcium values, which isn’t good for your rabbit.
You can also give your rabbit a compressed block of hay, willow, or an apple twig to chew on.
If in doubt or if you aren’t sure your rabbit needs additional vitamin or fiber supplements, reach out and check with your vet.
Knowing what and when to feed your pet rabbits ensure they get the nutrients they need to be healthy and thriving.
Rabbits don’t need sugar for energy so avoid feeding them high-sugar treats. Keep these as rewards.
Your rabbit needs lots of hay and freshwater that you can fill up or refill twice a day.
Your rabbit also eats leafy greens, edible flowers, and rabbit-friendly weeds with some pellets twice a day.
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