Every year, around this time, Burgess rabbit food manufacturers and the veterinary community start a week of rabbit awareness. We bring you tips and hints to ensure we as owners understand our bunnies and what is best in terms of their care and welfare.

Today is diet…

Every day, the majority of your rabbit’s diet should be hay. As a guide, a pile as big as your rabbit should be given to them on a daily basis. Extensive chewing and the fibre needed for a healthy digestive system is provided in hay. Too often we fall into the trap of feeding what looks more appetising to us, including a muesli diet and leafy greens. But this leads to obesity, a reduced gut health and dental disease in our rabbits. If you feel this may apply to you, below is a guide to enabling your bunny to eat more hay and a healthier diet.

Move away from Muesli!!

Muesli diets lead to selective feeding by your bunny. You will notice every day there will be a shallow layer of the grains they chose not to eat at the bottom of their bowl which goes into the bin before you top up the bowl with new food. This leads to them missing out on vital nutrients. Feeding a pelleted food means they cannot only eat the more fatty, rich pieces and gain a balanced diet.

If you take the challenge to move your rabbits away from muesli you should transition their diet slowly over a four-week period, as depicted in our visual guide below. Make sure you don’t overfeed and increase the overall portion size over this period and make sure your rabbits have access to unlimited high-quality feeding hay. Hard food should not make up more than 5% of their daily intake of food- much smaller than you thought hey?!

What about greens?

What you can give daily in small handfuls…

Grasses (not lawn chippings), dandelion leaves, plantain, rose bush leaves, nasturtium, wild geranium, strawberry and raspberry leaves, hazel tree leaves and branches, willow tree leaves and branches, apple tree leaves and branches, Hawthorn, brambles, goosegrass, blackthorn, nettle (dried), cauliflower leaves, celery leaves, green pepper, kale, mint, romaine lettuce, spring greens.

What you can give occasionally in small amounts…

Apple (pipless), banana, savoy cabbage, turnip, carrot tops, swede, spinach, parsley, basil, dill, oregano, coriander.

What to NEVER, ever, ever Give…

Apple pips, avocado, potato, potato tops, rhubarb (leaves & stalks), tomato leaves, locust pods and beans, any plant that grows from a bulb, bluebell, yew, foxglove, garlic, onion, shallots and chives, hemlock, buttercup, dock, ivy, poppy, privet, primrose, ragwort.