Importance of proper rabbit nutrition

Apr 19, 2021

The basis for the best ration for rabbits consist of high-quality pellets, fresh, clean water, and possibly limited fresh vegetables.
You should start them off with pellets that are fortified with digestible fiber and balanced specifically for rabbits as opposed to straight alfalfa pellets. All ingredients should be of high quality to insure proper digestibility for nutrient availability. If pellets contain ample soluble fiber, feeding hay is not necessary. However, offering high quality, finer stem, and leafy hay can be successfully fed.
Offering vegetables as a treat is a good addition to proper rabbit rations. Remember, the animal can be picky if these vegetables are not fresh. The following are acceptable for rabbits: alfalfa, clover, broccoli, collard greens, carrots/carrot tops, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, parsley, and spinach. All of these have a considerably good Vitamin A content. Remember, these should be considered treats offered periodically and not the main focus of the diet.
Stages of development
Resting does and bucks – offer high quality pellets at the rate of 1.25 oz. per lb. of bodyweight (approx. 4 oz.)
Lactating does – offer high quality pellets at the rate 1.5 oz. per lb. of bodyweight (approx. 7-8 oz.)
Doe and litter (to 3 weeks of age) – offer high quality pellets on a free choice basis. It is possible females & babies (kits) could consume up to 1.0 lb. depending on the number.
Doe and littler (3 weeks to weaning) – offer high quality pellets on a free choice basis. It is possible females & kits could consume up to 2.0 lbs. depending on the number.
Growing rabbits (4 – 7 lbs.) – offer high quality pellets at the rate of 1.25 oz. per lb. of bodyweight (approx. 5 – 8 oz.).
Rabbits should be fed differently at the various stages of their growth. This should aid in healthy development without digestive upsets. Avoid any sudden changes in diet; new feed should always be transitioned slowly. Always provide fresh clean water for ad libitum consumption.
For more information on all things small animal care related visit your local Co-op. Find the Co-op nearest you here. For more content like this, check out the latest issue of the Cooperator.

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