Wild rabbits eat grasses! They will browse on herbs and other plants, but the bulk of their calories come from grass. Our pet rabbits are often fed the wrong diet, as we want to give them variety and feel that they might get bored with the standard bunny diet – but do not be tempted.
Baby rabbits feed solely on milk for 3 weeks. From 3 to 7 weeks they should have access to alfalfa hay and food pellets and they will wean themselves by about 8 weeks of age.
Between weaning and 6 months, your young rabbit can have unlimited alfalfa hay and you can use a “junior rabbit” pelleted food. At 3 months, you can start introducing vegetables, but only ever introduce one at a time, as if it causes digestive issues, we will know which the offending vegetable is. Never feed large amounts of vegetables, as rabbits are not really designed to have foods other than grass!
From 6 months to 1 year, you should feed less alfalfa hay and junior pellets and introduce grass hays and/or oat hay (all day access). Alfalfa is very rich in calories and calcium and at this stage we need to add more fibre and reduce the calcium levels, to avoid obesity and kidney problems. Pellets are also very high in calories but still an important dietary requirement and you should change to an adult rabbit formula and measure out the daily allowance, rather than feeding it ad lib.
Mature rabbits should have unlimited access to hay or grass and the measured amount of pelleted food and some vegetables. Senior rabbits may need an increase in pellets if they are having problems in maintaining their weight.
Vegetables which are usually fine to feed rabbits include: Alfalfa, Basil, Beet greens, Broccoli stems, Brussels, Carrots with tops attached, Celery, Dandelion, Peppers, Kale, Mint, Parsley, Radish Tops, Spinach, Watercress and Wheat Grass. Fruit is not a good idea as it is high in sugars and can cause tooth problems.
Chewing toys can provide entertainment for rabbits! You can give plain cardboard or untreated wood (prunings from the garden from apple trees are useful, but avoid cherry tree wood!) or specially designed toys for rabbits.