is the Basis of a Healthy Rabbit Diet
An unlimited supply of fresh hay is the single most important
part of a healthful rabbit diet.
extracted from House
Rabbit Society website
feeding of a pelleted diet to a house rabbit can lead
to obesity, heart and liver disease, chronic diarrhea,
and kidney disease as a result of the high concentration
of calories, low fiber, and high calcium levels in the
pellets," says Dr. Susan Brown of the Midwest Bird
& Exotic Animal Hospital in Westchester, Illinois.
The House Rabbit Society is hearing more and more of
rabbits who do poorly on a diet primarily of pellets.
Some rabbits are experiencing chronic intermittent diarrhea,
some produce too many cecal pellets, and many are very
overweight. Rabbits do not need a diet primarily of
pellets. Pellets are just convenience food, like feeding
your kids a Big Mac for every meal.
Pellet diets were originally formulated as an efficient,
economical, and easy-to-use method to promote rapid
growth and weight gain in rabbits raised for meat or
fur - rabbits not meant to live very long. This is not
the goal we want for our companion house rabbits, who
are expected to live out their full life potential of
8-10 years. The House Rabbit Society recommends a diet
of unlimited fresh grass or Timothy hay, a variety of
vegetables, and limited pellets (depending on your rabbits
age and other factors).
Removing pellets from the diets of some of our rabbits
was a traumatic experience (for us, not for the rabbits).
After many years of feeding a diet primarily of pellets,
many of our rabbits have come down with chronic problems
of clumpy or runny diarrhea and others have become quite
obese. We also receive many phone calls describing rabbits
with chronic diarrhea. These rabbits have been through
every conceivable test to try to diagnose the problem.
The owners have gone from one veterinarian to another
trying to find a solution and, finally, in desperation,
they want us to take their rabbits because of the mess
and the time involved in constantly bathing these rabbits.
The House Rabbit Society of Singapore favors feeding
Timothy hay or other grass hay for best results. Alfalfa
does not contain enough fiber to produce the desired
large, light-colored droppings that indicate optimum
digestive health. A "mix" of recommended hays
provides the healthiest diet for your bunny and can
be purchased from many pet shops in Singapore.
Click here for Types of Hay and Grasses
If you are supplementing a hay diet with pellets, avoid
packaged pellets that contain dried bananas, nuts and
seeds. These products are too high in sugar and carbohydrates,
and can cause obesity, diarrhea and other serious digestive
upsets. Limit your rabbit to plain, fresh-looking, dark
green rabbit pellets, giving approximately 1/4 cup per
5 lbs. of ideal body weight per day. Buy pellets with
a fiber content of no less than 18% and only in a quantity
that you will use within one month. Store pellets in
air-tight containers and keep away from moisture. Discard
pellets that are old, moist, or bug-infested.
There is a healthier alternative to alfalfa pellets:
Timothy Pellets. They are available through a couple
different sources, including Oxbow Hay Company's Bunny
Basics/T (for "Timothy") and American Pet
Diner's Timmy for Rabbits. These pellets are high in
fiber and low in protein.
When switching to Timothy-based pellets, remember to
make the change gradually. Mix a few Timothy in with
your current pellets, increasing the percentage of Timothy
pellets over a period of several days until that is
all you give.