Feeding Your Rabbit
The pet rabbit has descended from the European wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus and is therefore adapted to thrive on a grass-based diet. The more the rabbits diet is varied from 100% mixed meadow grass grazing the greater the possibility of health problems such as dental disease, gastrointestinal problems, fly-strike and other related problems.
A Rabbit's Diet
Most rabbits will eat their own body size in hay each day and it is important in helping to keep teeth worn and providing fibre to prevent gastrointestinal disease. Fresh produce including leafy vegetables high in cellulose is also good for dental wear and should be fed at a rate of approximately one handful morning and evening. Good quality commercial rabbit pellets ensure rabbits receive the correct vitamins and minerals but should not be fed exclusively. As a guide feed one tablespoon of pellets once daily for rabbits under 3.5kg and two tablespoons once daily for rabbits over 3.5kg.
Keeping Your Rabbit Healthy
Rabbits are prey species and as such are very good at hiding signs of ill health; it is therefore vitally important that rabbits are checked daily during feeding times. Rabbit’s can also become easily stressed which can affect their normal feeding habits and health. Stressors can include change of housing, change of diet, transport, extremes of temperature, predators (including pet cats and dogs), loss of a companion or aggression from a dominant rabbit.
Urine and faecal scalding can initiate blow fly strike as well as unhygienic living quarters therefore it is important to be vigilant and check daily especially in the summer months.
Fly repellents are available at the surgery but the underlying cause of urine and faecal scalding should be investigated by a veterinary surgeon.