The best diet for pet rabbits is one that is high in hay and low in added sugars. Rabbits have very sensitive GI tracts and require a specific diet to remain healthy.
TLDR: The main component of an adult rabbit’s diet should be Timothy or other grass hay. Juvenile rabbits do better on alfalfa hay because it is higher in calories and protein, but it’s actually a legume and isn’t suitable as the main source of hay for an adult.
The rest of the story is a little more complex but definitely not rocket science. Hay is an absolute necessity because it wears down their teeth. If the rabbit doesn’t have an adequate way to wear down their teeth they will actually keep growing right through the jaw which is exactly as painful as it sounds.
They also need free and constant access to hay to prevent GI stasis (seriously, I suggest clicking that link for more in depth info), which occurs when their diet is too low in fiber, etc. The rabbit will become impacted, which is a nice way of saying they are so constipated that they could literally die without immediate and intensive treatment. For what it’s worth, my old love of my life kitty Oliver had all kinds of GI problems and had to visit an emergency vet for an impaction and it was awful for him. An adult rabbit’s diet should or can include a small amount of daily pellets but should always consist mostly of hay.
Rabbits also need lots of leafy greens. There is some controversy over kale. Feeding in moderation seems to be alright but don’t overdo it, or skip it entirely if you have any concerns. Give them a cup twice a day. Here is a list of the best rabbit greens:
Of course your rabbit also needs delicious treats! They should have very small amounts of root vegetables, peppers or fruits. We’re talking about an ounce or less in most cases. There are also dried treats, but fresh is great when you can! Some great treat foods are :
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Peach (no pit)
- Summer squash