Keeping rabbits healthy is not a difficult task, let’s break it down real simple:
Start with their home – the hutch. Large rabbit hutches are important not just for allowing rabbits to have lots of space to exercise and play in, but also sleep in too. We would hate to be cramped up in tiny sleeping quarters, especially with other people, so rabbits are no different. Considering rabbits are highly social creatures and LOVE the company of other rabbits – ensuring you have plenty of space for more than one rabbit is important to their health and happiness.
The other big advantage of large rabbit hutches is that they don’t need to be one solid unit – you can start with a basic hutch but build its size up modularly via connecting tunnels and runs to it. This allows you to configure the layout of the hutch to be as fun and interesting as you can make it for your rabbits, whilst also ensuring it fits comfortably within whatever dimensions of free space you have to install it in.
Key take-away here, don’t scrimp on space – get a large rabbit hutch, as large as you can afford/fit. Your rabbits will thank you all the more for it!
So what bugs a bunny food-wise? (see what I did there!) Actually, more thank you think judging by what we all see and hear on our TV screens. It’s no surprise that when we think of rabbits – one most famous bunny of them all springs to mind, good ol’ Bugs Bunny from the WB cartoons. Bugs is always munching on a carrot so it’s no surprise that time and time again we see people dropping piles of chopped up carrots and other veg into their hutches each day as the main part of their diet.
This makes sense right, vegetables are healthy – and rabbits do eat vegetables, so all is good right?
Not necessarily. Did you know that carrots are in fact very high in sugar and as such should only be fed to rabbits occasionally and in small amounts! Naughty Bugs, hope he brushes his teeth regularly…
The main, staple daily diet for rabbits should consist of mostly hay and/or grass. This is what they would feed on in abundance in the wild, so no difference when at home as a domesticated pet. This contains what their bodies need to stay healthy. You can supplement this core diet with leafy green vegetables (such as cabbage) along with a small, measured amount of rabbit food pellets that you can buy at any pet store. If you stick to this as a core daily diet for your furry little ones, they will be just fine.
What about Lettuce?
Lots of people tend to feed lettuce leaves to their Rabbits. They’re fairly cheap, big leaves and rabbits seem to love chewing on them, so what’s wrong with them? Well, lettuces whilst seeming like they might be a good, healthy source of food are actually mostly all water and have very little nutritional value to them at all (especially the lighter colored varieties). If you do decide to mix in some lettuce into your Rabbit’s diet – make sure it’s from the darker leaf lettuces.
Another reason why you don’t want to feed too much lettuce to Rabbits, is that its actually bad for their digestion believe it or not and can cause tummy upsets in large quantities. Feed lettuce in small amounts and introduce this gradually into their diet and you should be fine.
Commercial Rabbit food – a good staple daily diet?
Actually, and maybe surprisingly, giving too much commercial rabbit food to your pets (such as pellets, nuggets & muesli, etc.) can cause weight gain and can also cause rabbits to not want to eat enough hay & grass any more (as commercial food is always infused with tasty flavors!). Instead, as stated before – much better to mix this in as part of their main diet, supplementing it with commercial pellets/food.
It’s very important to not replace a rabbits diet of hay and grass with commercial food, as hay and grass help to keep their teeth worn down and not get too long or sharp, plus it allows them to indulge in their natural foraging behavior that they would do in the wild. This helps alleviate boredom, increases happiness as well as mobility and fitness.
If you follow the above guidelines (yes, they are simple) then your rabbit will have as healthy a diet as they need and will be happier at the same time!