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Rabbits eat!

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Last week we talked about the diet of parrots. Wasn't that fun?! Well, this week we'll talk even more about diets, but this time for rabbits. We realize most of you are dog and cat owners, but there really are a lot of bird and rabbit owners out there too, believe it or not, as well as mice and rats and chinchillas and... and... and... all of which we see for boarding at DKC.

Children especially love rabbits and, thankfully, they're fairly easy to take care of (the rabbits, not the children of course!). And if you're in to rabbit training (rabbit training?!), they can even jump over obstacles and through hoops, like in an agility ring. 

Rabbits mainly feed on grass, forbs and leafy weeds, all of which are rather difficult to digest. So, they pass two different kinds of stool, one of which is actually eaten by them immediately afterwards, re-ingested to extract all the nutrients. In fact, their digestive tract has a very delicate ecosystem, so rabbits need to have food available at all times, the absence of which for extended periods of time can lead to serious illness - a rabbit which has not eaten for 24 hours should definitely be checked by a vet ASAP!

Contrary to common belief, rabbits do not need to be fed on mixes of seed or dry food. Instead (and in addition to grass, forbs and leafy weeds), it is lots of vegetables, salad and fruit that they need for a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet.

 

Rabbit Rules:

  • Rabbits mostly need grass or dried grass - in other words, hay! Fresh grass must not be wet! This is very important because not only does the hay regulate and stimulate the digestive system, it also acts as a kind of tooth brush, keeping the teeth short and in shape. Rabbit's teeth are constantly growing, so check them on a regular basis.
  • Lots of different fruit and veggies! Go for variety and plenty of it! And during the hot summer months, watermelon, cucumber and tomato will keep your bunny well hydrated.
  • Dried banana and apple slices can also be given as treats (but not too much).
  • Dry food is generally not needed, but if you do, keep it in small amounts of no more than between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon per day.
  • And of course, fresh water must always be available. Most rabbits can learn to drink from a special rabbit/rodent bottle, which helps to keep the water clean.

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