If you are thinking of getting a rabbit for a pet or you currently have a house rabbit, I’m sure this is one question you must have been ruminating on. “Can I give my rabbit cooked food from my kitchen?” or “Do rabbits only eat carrots?” are other questions you might also have. In this article, I will be discussing the different types of acceptable foods rabbits can eat.
So what kind of human food can rabbits eat? There are a number of foods humans eat that rabbits can also eat. First of all, it is handy to not that cooked food will not cut it. Yes, they won’t. Only fresh food is acceptable. About 75% of your rabbit’s fresh food intake should be from leafy greens. The other 25% should go to rabbit treats such as berries, apples and carrots and other food supplements.
There are some foods considered safe for human consumption. Know that, they can be toxic to rabbits. So, therefore, whenever in doubt, don’t let your rabbit eat that food. For prevention they say, is better than cure as rabbits are said to have a very delicate stomach.
What is a healthy diet to feed a pet rabbit?
Rabbits all over the world consume a wild variety of plant variety which in turn help them live longer, fulfilled lives. Those in the wild consume a greater lot of dry and fresh grasses and plants with leaves. Rabbits also tend to eat bark on trees, sprouts, seeds, twigs and other nutritious foods in small amounts. Just like you have a diet plan; rabbits also need to have a daily diet plan. Indeed, it is very important to know and decide on a healthy diet for your house rabbit.
A healthy diet for house rabbits should be composed of majorly grass hay which is a source of vitamin A and of course, water. There are different varieties of hay such as timothy, orchard, oat hay, brome, etc. They can even be mixed up but try and avoid alfalfa hay for adult rabbits. Alfalfa should instead be given to younger rabbits as their primary source of hay as it is very high in calories and proteins.
Hay provides essential fibre which is good for the digestive health of the rabbit. Also, hay helps wear down a rabbit’s teeth which is ever-growing. This makes for good dental health.
Aside hay, you can include a controlled portion of leafy greens and commercial pellets as you deem fit. The leafy greens should be fed as a variety mixture consisting of cabbage, kale, parsley, mint and even broccoli. Other vegetables that a rabbit may enjoy include basil, celery, dill, watercress, lettuce as well as many others. The list is indeed endless.
Fruits can also be fed to them in small amounts. This is because they have high sugar content. Since they are usually sweet and rich in sugar, they make for great training treats. Some fruits rabbits can enjoy include strawberries, apples (with no seeds), pineapple (with the bark peeled), banana, etc.
Note however that before introducing any fresh foods to a rabbit, it is necessary and best if he has been eating grass for a minimum of 2 weeks. A regular supply of water will also not go amiss.
What happens if a rabbit eats only carrots?
Carrot and carrot tops are one food that contains important nutrients necessary for the growth of rabbits. They include fibre, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, thiamin, potassium, niacin and manganese.
We all know that rabbits love carrots but know however those entire carrots are not recommended. Why do you may ask? This is because carrots have high sugar content. Since rabbits love sweet food, of course, they would love eating carrots but it is necessary you know to offer them in moderation or as a rare treat, definitely not as a daily routine.
If a rabbit ingests the only carrot, the rabbit can become obese and can also end up having digestive issues. That’s putting in mildly though. If your rabbit eats only carrots, it will die. Here’s why.
There’s a lot of sugar in carrot which will definitely lead to the rabbit developing diarrhoea and consequently, malnutrition. Also, with no hay in its diet, their digestive system would stop functioning properly (often referred to as gastrointestinal stasis).
Just like other herbivores, rabbits are sensitive to disruptions in their digestive system and severe diarrhoea can be quite lethal for them especially if they stop eating (this happens because he is uncomfortable and he would have stopped pooping by now) which can lead to death.
Since they can’t throw up either, if they ingest anything bad for their system, they can’t get rid of it just like humans, cats or any other mammals.
So if you love your bunny that much, be particular about the food you feed it. Invest in a lot of hay. Avoid giving your rabbits any roots from carrots as they also contain high sugar content.
However, you can freely feed your rabbits with carrot tops or leaves. If feeding your adult rabbit carrot tops, make sure you include it in the mix of 3 – 6 different vegetables it should be fed every day.
Can Rabbits eat Guinea Pig Food?
Though rabbits and guinea pigs are lagomorphs and rodents respectively, they have similar food needs. They both need vegetables in more quantities than fruits. However, when it comes to pellets, the situation is different. Since they have similar dietary needs, the rabbits will not suffer if they nibble once or twice from foods formulated for guinea pigs.
So can rabbit pig eat guinea pig food? Oh yes! But not as a habit though and not as frequently as you might want to.
Teach yourself not to solely feed your rabbit just guinea pig food on its own. Their digestive system might just get used to it and it will not be efficient in producing its own vitamin C. Though foods for both animals are similar and it is safe for your rabbit to eat guinea pig food, it is better your rabbit eat food that has been specially formulated for it.
If it seems as though your rabbit does not tolerate fresh food or vegetables, do not panic or worry too much. Hay which makes up about 75 to 85% of your rabbit’s diet is rich in protein, vitamin A and D and other vital nutrients. Also, you do not have to worry about vitamin C intake for your rabbit as it obtains its own vitamin C naturally, so much unlike humans.
You can also always introduce pellets to your rabbit’s diet.
If you want to introduce new foods to your rabbit’s diet, ensure you do that slowly so the body has time to adjust. You can wait 12 hours after administering the new food to see if the rabbit tolerates a type of fresh food. If it seems as though your rabbit doesn’t tolerate fruit or vegetable, it will produce loose stools or have diarrhoea.
If an adverse reaction is observed, take it away immediately and try to get an alternative. Always wait for at least 6days before trying something new again.
Take care also with the vegetables not to chop them too much. Rabbits prefer to gnaw at whole pieces as it helps to wear down their teeth. The only exception is with celery as it is best to cut them to smaller pieces to prevent your rabbit from choking from strings.