Feeding Rabbits for Optimum Nutrition

Feeding rabbits a healthy mixture of pellets, hay and a few treats will keep them happy and strong.

| June 2012

Whether your goal is to raise one rabbit or a larger herd, the expert advice in How to Raise Rabbits (Voyageur Press, 2008) will tell you all you need to know. With more than 200 color photographs, the book covers all aspects of raising rabbits, including organic and free-range rabbitries. Learn how to choose and buy the right rabbits for you, breed your rabbits, show rabbits at fairs and more. In this excerpt from Chapter 4, “Feeding Your Rabbits,” learn how to keep your rabbits healthy and happy with a proper diet. 

Wouldn’t it be delightfully simple if you could just toss a few carrots in each cage and head off to work for the day? No hay, no pellets, no measuring! While feeding rabbits isn’t quite as easy as that, it really isn’t terribly difficult either. Once you’ve established a feeding program that works for you and your rabbits, your daily feedings should be simple and straightforward.

Basic rabbit nutrition

As with all types of livestock animals, rabbits need a well rounded diet that fulfills all of the necessary requirements for basic nutrition. This means that their diet must include ample sources of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. With the wide variety of pelleted feeds that are available today, it’s easier than ever to provide proper basic nutrition for your rabbits, but a well-rounded diet also contains other important elements: water and hay. Let’s discuss the components of feeding rabbits a healthy diet.

Rabbit pellets

If you ask a group of rabbit breeders what they feed their rabbits, I can pretty much guarantee that the vast majority of them will reply that they feed some type of pellets. Pelleted feed has become the industry standard for many reasons.

Using pellets takes the guesswork out of providing a diet for your rabbits. With a quick examination of the tag, you will know exactly what is included in each and every feeding. Pellets are easy to measure, which ensures that you are able to feed the same amount each day, and they are an easy way to provide all of the nutrients that your rabbits need for optimum health and growth.

There are many companies that produce rabbit pellets, and it seems that each type is supported by legions of rabbit breeders who believe strongly in the benefits and quality of their chosen product. It can be a little overwhelming to flip through the latest Domestic Rabbits magazine and read through the ads for rabbit feeds. Each one is endorsed by rabbit breeders, exhibitors, and judges, and each feed is seemingly better than the last. How, then, do you determine which feed will best suit your needs?

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