Fresh vegetables should usually make up approximately 10% of your adult rabbit’s diet. Hay should consist of 80% of your rabbit’s diet. Vegetables provide additional nutrients and different textures and tastes — an enriching experience for your rabbit. Wet vegetables are also a good source of water if your bunny does not drink very much from his water bowl or bottle.
Amount to feed
For baby rabbits, vegetables should only be fed to after 12 weeks of age and introduced one at a time in quantities under 1/2 oz.
For adult rabbits, a good rule of thumb is approximately one cup of packed greens for every two pounds of rabbit. You may decide to feed more or less but keep an eye out for any change in litter habits and behavior. Some vegetables will cause diarrhea or gas. If you are introducing new greens to a rabbit, introduce only one type one day. This way you can easily tell if the food will not agree with your bun. Wait 24 hours to make sure there are no soft stools or gas problems before adding another vegetable to your rabbit’s diet. If the droppings are soft or the rabbits are gassy, discontinue the vegetable.
Be aware that every rabbit is different, and it is up to you to find the right balance for a healthy bunny. Some rabbits may not react well with greens at all and can thrive on a pellet/hay only diet.
Serve your vegetables wet to increase your rabbit’s intake of liquid. It will help keep his GI contents moving.
Do not serve your bunny spoiled vegetables. If you wouldn’t eat it yourself, don’t feed it to your rabbit. Rabbits can be even more sensitive to spoiled food than humans.
Care should be taken when feeding some of these as some vegetables may cause gas or other issues in some rabbits. Vegetables with a high water content can cause diarrhea and runny stool. Other vegetables contain higher amounts of sugar and so should be fed in moderation and best as a treat.
Leafy greens should make up approximately 75% of the fresh vegetables fed daily.
The remaining 25% of your rabbits vegetable intake may come from non-leafy greens, around 1 tbsp per 2 lb of bun.
Edible flowers and plants
These plants and flowers can also be used to spice up a rabbit’s veggies. Rabbits have more taste buds than humans and will appreciate food that actually tastes strong. You can also grow them fresh indoors in a pot if you’d like. If you pick them from outdoors, make sure they have not come in contact with cat, dog, or fox feces or treated with pesticides and chemicals.
See Homeopathy for Rabbits for some more flowers you may feed in small amounts as well as the nutritional and medicinal uses of various plants.
Vegetables to avoid
Like any other animal, rabbits should not eat certain plants. Our main Toxic plants article will address the plants that should be kept out of a rabbit’s reach. Always check that list first before feeding your rabbit anything new.
The ones listed below should be avoided for various reasons.
- Bamboo shoots – contains compounds that destroy nutrients.
- Cassava (Yuca) – contains compounds that destroy nutrients.
- Chocolate – poisonous to most pets.
- Coffee plants – contains compounds that destroy nutrients.
- Corn – rabbits cannot digest corn hulls, and they are just the right size to block the small intestine if not chewed properly.
- Diatomaceous earth – made from finely ground shells, and when ingested or breathed in, can act like razor blades; do not use in litter or food.
- Iceberg lettuce – safe for rabbits to eat, but low in nutrients and higher in water content than other darker lettuces. Large amounts can cause diarrhea.
- Maize – contains compounds that destroy nutrients.
- Garlic and onions – See Can my rabbit eat onion and garlic? for details.
- Raw anasazi, broad, common, lima, black, fava, horse, runner, garden, pinto, navy, kidney, soy beans and sprouts – contains high amounts of lectins which can damage intestinal walls and reduce nutrient absorption, but are destroyed by cooking and reduced by soaking, sprouting, or fermenting.
How should I store my bunny vegetables?
Vegetables tend to spoil easily and can be a hassle to prepare everyday. There are several products on the market that can help you store prepped vegetables for your rabbit in the fridge for longer periods of time than a normal food container or plastic produce bags.
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