Are you considering a rabbit for a pet, or do you already have one? Do you drink almond milk because it is good for you? Do you wonder if it is good for your pet rabbit?
Almond milk is a drink made from ground almonds often used in place of regular dairy milk. It does not contain cholesterol or lactose and is acceptable for vegans and vegetarians as it has no animal products. It is also gluten and casein-free and occasionally comes in flavors such as chocolate or vanilla and the usual plain.
So can rabbits drink almond milk? No. It is not good for their digestion and could make them sick, especially if they drink more than just a drop. Avoid giving them almond milk and stick with water. It is far better for them and will provide both the refreshment and nutrition they need.
What Does A Rabbit Need?
Rabbits, like all other animals, require a combination of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, in addition to vitamins, minerals, and water. Of course, the needs will vary by species, age, health, and pregnancy-related changes.
Below are a few essential facts about the rabbit digestive process and nutritional needs:
- A rabbit’s digestive tract is sensitive, and some changes from a healthy diet can cause GI stasis. A rabbit’s digestion can slow to a dangerous level when this occurs and cause severe health issues or death.
- Rabbits require a lot of fiber to maintain a healthy digestive tract.
- Hay is essential for a rabbit’s dental health, as frequent chewing wears down their teeth that are continuously growing.
- Rabbits can actually make some of their own nutrients!
What should you feed your rabbit?
Contrary to what most people believe, rabbits require more than just lettuce and carrots. They need a balanced diet of fresh veggies, hay, fruit, and some pellets.
Rabbits have extremely sensitive digestive tracts, so introducing hay or pellets or new vegetables and fruits must be done gradually to allow the rabbit’s system to adapt.
Meeting Dietary Needs of Your Rabbit
It is surprising to learn that rabbits have a rather complicated digestive process. Actually, a rabbit’s digestive tract is physiologically more similar to that of a horse than other small mammals.
In the wild, rabbits eat many different leafy plants, grasses, sprouts, and even some bark, twigs, and fruit or seeds. However, every rabbit is different, and several factors, such as age, weight, preference, health concerns, and more, come into consideration when developing an individual diet.
You may find your vet doesn’t want a particular rabbit on any pellets or that some veggies are not the best choice for a rabbit with certain health conditions. It is vital to work with a qualified vet who has a rabbit care background to develop personalized diets for each rabbit in your care.
In general, rabbits should have a diet that consists primarily of 80% hay or grass, followed by appropriate vegetables. The list below shows good fruit and vegetable choices and the ones to avoid feeding your rabbit.
As rabbits are grazing animals, they need to have an unlimited supply of fresh hay daily. Hay is the core of a rabbit’s diet. The bottom of a rabbit food pyramid would contain long-stemmed ﬁber, hay, which makes up 80 to 90 percent of a rabbit’s diet.
Feed your rabbit grass hays. Appropriate types of grass hay for bunnies are brome, oat hay, orchard grass, or timothy. Your rabbits can be fed either a mixture of grass hays or one type.
Make sure you purchase the freshest hay available and check for any mold or dust, which could make your rabbit sick. Alfalfa hay should not be fed to an adult rabbit as it’s a legume, not a grass, and is too rich to be fed daily. Alfalfa can be given to rabbits occasionally at treat time.
Rabbits under a year old can be fed alfalfa hay, but they should be fed grass hay as they age, especially if they are also fed alfalfa pellets.
Timothy hay pellets can be fed to bunnies in small portions. An average-sized, 6–10-pound adult rabbit only needs a quarter cup of pellets each day. Rabbits under five pounds need just one-eighth of a cup of pellets.
Rabbits weighing more than 10 pounds do not require more than a quarter cup since it’s not a critical part of a rabbit’s diet. Rabbits under a year old can eat alfalfa pellets. Make sure they are grass hay, rather than alfalfa if you provide your younger rabbit with pellets of alfalfa.
Look for pellets with high ﬁber content — the higher, the better. Do not buy the rabbit pellets containing dried corn, nuts, and seeds added because those foods can potentially be very harmful to rabbits.
A favorite with rabbits! Only feed two cups of fresh vegetables daily to your adult rabbits. Smaller dwarf breeds and rabbits weighing under five pounds should be fed one cup of fresh vegetables daily. Two or three different vegetables are best.
Add one new vegetable at a time, watching for signs of diarrhea or loose stool because of their delicate digestive systems. Some vegetables can be given daily, while others should be fed once or twice a week.
Rabbits love vegetables and herbs, which are their favorite foods. Most greens found in a grocery store are safe for rabbits, with a few limitations and exceptions, which we will discuss.
Vegetables You Can Feed Your Rabbit Daily
- Bell peppers
- Bok choy
- Carrot tops
- Brussels sprouts
- Boston bibb
- Green leaf
- Red leaf
- Okra leaves
- Radish tops
Vegetables You Can Feed Your Rabbit Once or Twice a Week
- Broccoli — stems and leaves only
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens (pesticide-free)
- English daisy
You should feed your bunny fruit once or twice a week. The correct size serving of fruit is one or two tablespoons for every five pounds of their body weight. Either one type or a mixture is acceptable. Fruit should be added slowly into their diet and one type of fruit at a time.
Fruit to Feed Your Rabbit Once or Twice Weekly
- Apple — no seeds
- Cherries — no seeds
Treats to Feed Your Rabbit Sparingly
Like many people, rabbits have a sweet tooth. As with people, treats are at the top of the food pyramid for bunnies and should be given infrequently. Healthy treats for your rabbit include small pieces of fresh or freeze-dried fruit, natural, unprocessed mixes with hay and dried flowers, and Oxbow brand rabbit treats.
Make sure you always read the ingredient list on store-bought treats because not all of them are safe for bunnies. Avoid treats that include preservatives, artificial coloring, and added sugar, and never give your rabbit people treats.
Do Not Feed Your Rabbit These Foods
Some food can make a rabbit very sick. Do not give the following foods under any circumstances. The following foods are difﬁcult for rabbits to digest and can cause serious digestive problems.
- Any kind of human treat
- Corn or corn-cob treats
- Iceberg lettuce
- Beet Greens
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
A bunny needs an unlimited supply. They need to remain hydrated, so their unlimited supply should be changed daily. The container the water is in needs to be cleaned with soap and water every other day. Water bottles do not clean easily and are difficult for rabbits to use. Bowls are better. A ceramic bowl is the best, as it is heavy and does not tip over easily.
A typical, happy and healthy rabbit should drink around 10% of its body weight in water. If your rabbit weighs 4 lbs., it should drink a minimum of 6 oz. of water daily. One cup of water daily is plenty to keep rabbits healthy.
Some FAQs for Rabbit Lovers
- Do rabbits need feeding daily?
- A rabbit should eat twice daily, morning and evening. Their diet should consist of unlimited access to grass or hay—a handful of vegetables, fruit, or leafy plants.
- A small amount of high-quality commercial rabbit mix or pellets — up to 25g per kg of the rabbit’s body weight
- Can a rabbit recognize its owner?
- Rabbits can bond closely with their owners.
- They recognize their owner by voice and sight and will even come when called. Bunnies may even follow their owners from room to room, then jump up on their laps when called.
- Will a rabbit stop eating when full?
- No. They are grazers by nature, so they keep on eating.
- How long can a rabbit go without eating?
- 12 hours.
- Your rabbit should always be eating. And should never go more than 12 hours with food.
Rabbits are fun pets to have. Now that you know how to feed them, you should know how they show their appreciation for your good care.
- They groom you as a way to show their affection
- They circle your feet to show an excited affection
- They constantly want to be petted
- They lay next to you
- They blink when they see you
- They sit on your lap
- They purr when you pet them
Who wouldn’t love to have a pet rabbit!