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While the weather is nice, what better time to let your buns ‘assist’ with the gardening? Fresh grass is great (and essential) for a rabbit’s diet and dental health, so let them fill their boots and get grazing! If you have free range rabbits outside of a secure run, please make sure they are supervised, safe from predators and birds of prey, and there are no poisonous plants that they can nibble on!
Gut slowdown/stasis is when the digestive system slows down or stops working completely. This is very painful and potentially fatal to rabbits! If you notice changes to your rabbit’s eating habits or droppings, then this could be a sign of gut slowdown – and they need to see a rabbit-savvy vet right away! Rabbits will hide signs of pain, so please do not overlook the problem and wait until it is too late.
Do you find that certain foods make you bloated? 💨 Well, the same is for rabbits! While each rabbit responds differently to certain foods, foods typically high in carbs and sugar are often big culprits! A build-up of these toxins is very bad for your rabbits and can cause them a lot of pain. If you notice that certain foods make your rabbits bloated, this is a clear indicator that it does not agree with them and you should stop feeding it to them immediately.
With all the good weather we’ve been having, you might be out in the garden cutting the grass 🧑🌾🏡 But what do you do with all that grass? 🤔 Do you give it to your buns as a tasty treat? NO! ✋ And here’s why… When grass is cut by a lawn mower, it ferments at a significantly faster rate due to the excess heat. This accelerated fermentation can upset your buns’ tums, so it’s best to put any grass clippings in the garden waste bin and leave your rabbits to trim the lawn for themselves 🌱🐇
During the digestion process, food is separated into two parts, one part that can be digested and used, and the second that can’t be used for nutrients and is excreted as faecal pellets. The digestible part is mixed up with healthy digestive bacteria which breaks down and releases useful nutrients and energy. The rest is coated in a mucus which is excreted and re-eaten by the rabbit. After a few more hours of fermentation, these nutrients are then absorbed in the stomach.
Whether you grow your own or get them down the fresh produce aisle, rabbits love a tasty green treat! In fact, 10% of your rabbits’ diet should be made up of greens. But remember, there are a lot of natural sugars in fruits and veg which is bad for your buns, so it’s always healthier to stick to leafy green veg and herbs. Make sure they are safe to eat, always wash them first, and don’t overindulge.
In the wild, rabbits have evolved to spend many hours of the day foraging for food, meaning they spend more time searching, eat more slowly, and eat more appropriate food, reducing the chance that they will become overweight or ill. As pets, the need to forage is essentially taken away, so rabbits will eat very quickly, get bored faster, and move less, increasing risk of illness and obesity. This is why we should encourage foraging. Check out our website for tips on how to do this.
If you gave a kid a bowl of vegetables and sweets, they’d only pick out the sweets, right? Well, rabbits are the same. Some of you might have experienced your rabbits doing the same thing with muesli ‘rabbit mix’. This is called selective feeding, where they only pick out their favourite bits and leave the rest. This means that they aren’t getting all the nutrients they need. For a healthy diet, you should stay clear of the muesli and provide your buns with their body size in hay every day.
Did you know that if rabbits don’t eat enough hay they can die of starvation? This is because a rabbit’s teeth never stop growing which can lead to the development of painful spurs. These then cut their gums and tongue, restricting their ability to eat. Hay and grass however help to naturally wear their teeth down, maintaining dental health and preventing spurs from developing. This is why hay and grass is essential to rabbit health and should make up 85% of their daily diet.
Rabbits are selective eaters meaning that they pick out their favourite parts of their food first (which is often the unhealthy sugary bits) and leave the healthiest parts behind. This is why muesli is not healthy for rabbits! To make sure your rabbits get the most from their meals, their diet should be 85% quality feeding hay, 10% greens, and just 5% pellets. This will help prevent selective eating and ensure that your rabbits eat all the good stuff!
Having a healthy diet is a vital part of a rabbit’s physical health, including digestive, gut, and oral health. Obesity is a problem for many rabbits and, although they might not be as bothered about what they look like in the mirror, being a healthy weight is important as obesity can lead to arthritis and inability to groom themselves properly resulting in fly strike. In order to keep your rabbits a healthy weight, their diet should be made up of 85% hay or grass, 10% greens, and 5% pellets.
Holly and mistletoe (particularly the berries) are toxic to rabbits and should definitely be kept out of reach. Contrary to belief poinsettias are not actually toxic to rabbits, but the milk-like sap it produces can upset your buns’ tums, so it’s still advisable to keep these out of reach. Pine needles are mildly toxic and while they won’t cause any severe harm, they can cause irritation, discomfort, and possibly diarrhoea, so no rockin’ around the Christmas tree!
We might be encouraged to get our five-a-day, but fruits and veg are loaded with natural sugars and too much of this is very bad for your rabbits’ digestive and dental health. This is why fruit and veg should only be given as a tasty treat – just 10% of your rabbits’ diet in fact! The rest should be 85% fresh feeding hay or grass and a little 5% sprinkle of pellets.
Trick or treat? 🐰🥕 Trick! Even though all the cartoons depict carrots being the main source of food for rabbits, they are actually very high in sugar which means that too many carrots are unhealthy for your buns. Hay should be the main source of food for your rabbits and carrots should only be given as an occasional treat. Carrots to a rabbit are like sweets to children – and rabbits have a mighty sweet tooth! So please take it easy with the ’treats’.
A suitable rabbit diet should be made up of 85% hay or grass, 10% leafy greens, and 5% pellets or nuggets (not muesli mix). Contrary to popular belief, carrots are not very healthy for rabbits because they are high in sugar content and should only be given in small portions as a treat. Hay or grass should make up the bulk of your rabbits’ diet because it is essential to their dental and gut health. As a rule of thumb, your rabbits should eat their body size in quality feeding hay every day.
Have you ever wondered why grass and hay is so good for rabbits’ teeth? 🤔 Rabbits’ teeth never stop growing, so they need to be worn down. To us, grass and hay feel soft, but if you magnify a blade of grass a few hundred times you’ll see lots of tiny spikes. These little spikes have the same effect as sandpaper on a rabbit’s teeth which wears them down as they chew. No other food can do this as effectively, which is why grass and/or hay is essential to maintain rabbit dental health.
Why is grass or hay vital to your rabbits’ diet? As well as preventing problems caused by dental overgrowth, the long strand fibre in grass or hay is vital to maintain healthy gut movement. If a rabbit’s gut is not moving as it should, then stasis can set in. This means that its system literally shuts down. This is often fatal. Providing your buns with the correct natural diet (85% grass or hay, 10% leafy greens, 5% pellets) can prevent this from happening.
Foraging is a natural rabbit behaviour and form of enrichment and entertainment for your buns, so you should encourage it. 🐇 Sprinkle their daily portion of pellets in their hay. 🐇 Hide hay in different places for your rabbits to find. 🐇 Try mixing up different species of hay too – they will love the different tastes and smells! There are all sorts of ways you can keep your rabbits entertained – and it’s a lot of fun to watch them figure it out!
When people think about rabbits eating, the first food that springs to mind is often carrots, 🥕 but this is wrong. While rabbits love carrots as a treat, they are high in sugar and too much carrot is unhealthy for rabbits. Think of it like us and chocolate, we love it, but it should never be the focus of our diet. A rabbit’s diet should consist of 85% grass or feeding hay. This is because these long fibres are integral to a rabbit’s digestive and dental health.
A rabbit’s teeth grow continuously throughout its life and can grow to astonishing lengths causing serious problems, such as gum problems, root infections, and abscesses. Grass and hay wear a rabbit’s teeth down naturally, preventing these dental problems from happening. No other food does this. This is why your rabbits’ diet should consist of 85% grass or feeding hay – not pellets and muesli. In fact, your rabbit should be eating their body size in grass or hay every day.
Who needs a lawn mower when you have rabbits?! 85% of your rabbits’ diet should be made up of grass or hay. Grass (or hay) is integral to both your buns’ digestive and dental health, so they should be eating their body size in grass or hay every day! Fresh grass is great for your rabbits, but please do not give your rabbits grass cuttings from the lawn mower because this grass has already started to ferment from the heat and can upset your buns’ tum.
Because your rabbits must constantly graze, their digestive health is vital to their physical wellbeing. You can keep your rabbits’ digestive system healthy by ensuring they eat their body size in fresh hay or grass every day and drink plenty of water. You can check your rabbits’ digestive health by examining their faeces. Good poop = large, dry pellets. Bad poop = small, runny, and foul smelling. Please visit our website for more information on healthy rabbit diets, digestion, and droppings.
It’s #NationalGardeningWeek! 👩🌾👨🌾 Are you a rabbit-lover with a green thumb? Then we have the perfect book for you! Gardening For Rabbits by horticulturalist and rabbit owner, Dr Twigs Way, is an essential read for rabbit-owning gardeners – exclusive only to RWAF! Inside, you’ll learn what to and what not to grow, what will grow in each season, and how best to design your garden with your rabbits' improved diet and welfare in mind. Get hold of your copy on our website – Hoppy gardening! 🐰
A healthy hay-rich diet is the best preventative of many painful and sometimes fatal health problems in rabbits, such as gut stasis, dental spurs, abscesses, and flystrike. This is why your rabbits’ diet should be made up of 85% fresh hay. If you rabbits lose their appetite, it could be a sign that they are feeling unwell, so keep an eye on how much they are eating.
Rabbits don’t have Oral-Bun, so how can we keep their teeth healthy? This is all down to their diet. A rabbit’s teeth grow continuously, and their incisors can grow up to 4-5 inches per year! Overgrowth is prevented by eating fibrous hay and grass which wears down their teeth naturally. This is why hay is so important to a rabbit’s diet.