Rabbits make great pets, and with the right care, they can live for years. Your rabbit can be your new best friend or may make an ideal pet for your children. While rabbits require less intensive care than many other pets, they do need a quality rabbit food and a proper diet to stay healthy. Vegetables and fruits are an essential part of that diet, and your rabbit will be delighted when you incorporate blueberries, carrot tops, and other foods into his diet.
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Designing your rabbit’s diet
Fruits and vegetables are just one part of your rabbit's diet. The RSPCA recommends that you provide your rabbit with a bundle of fresh, quality hay daily. The bundle should be about as large as your rabbit. You should also feed hay nuggets or pellets daily, and provide your rabbit with constant access to clean, fresh water.
According to Vet West, you should store your rabbit's hay in a cool, dry area. Keep the hay in an open bag to allow for air circulation and to help prevent mold. If hay gets damp or dirty, discard it. When you buy hay, look for hay that is available in loose, long strands, since rabbits tend to prefer this over compressed or chopped hay.
Once you have established this basis for your rabbit's diet, it's time to incorporate some vegetables and fruits, which can add variety, moisture, and new textures into your rabbit's feed.
Vegetables for rabbits
Vegetables are great for rabbits, but you should focus on offering your rabbit more fresh, leafy greens than other types of vegetables. The House Rabbit Society states that about 75 percent of the fresh food portion of your rabbit's diet should consist of leafy greens. This means that a two-pound rabbit should eat about one pound of leafy greens per day.
Your rabbit can eat any leafy green that humans can eat. Common leafy greens include romaine lettuce, kale, basil, dandelion greens, carrot tops, red or green lettuce, and arugula.
Additionally, you can feed your rabbit other vegetables, including carrots, broccoli, celery, bell peppers, and summer squash. These vegetables should only make up about 15 percent of your rabbit's diet.
Fruits for rabbits
You can also feed your rabbit fruit for some variety in his diet. Best Friends recommends that you feed fruit only once or twice a week. When you feed fruit, give a small portion of about two tablespoons per five pounds of your rabbit's body weight.
Your rabbit will enjoy many different fruits, including apples (without seeds), bananas, blueberries, peaches, pears, plums, and even watermelon.
Foods to avoid
While the above rabbit foods are considered safe for rabbits, there are also some foods that you should be sure to avoid. Vet West notes that starchy foods or foods that contain high amounts of sugar can cause an upset stomach in rabbits. Avoid foods such as peas, corn, bananas, grapes, wheat, crackers, bread, pasta, rolled oats, breakfast cereals, and seeds.
Introducing new foods
Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems, so introducing new bunny food needs to be done carefully. The Rabbit House recommends that you introduce new foods one at a time and in small portions. This way, if your rabbit doesn't tolerate a particular food, you'll know just which food is the problem and will be able to try something else.
Younger rabbits are more sensitive than adults, so you should be extra careful when introducing fresh fruits and vegetables. If you get a young rabbit that's over eight weeks old, give her a week to settle into her new home before you start to introduce fresh foods.