Religious symbolism aside, nothing quite says Easter, especially to younger people than chocolate eggs and bunny rabbits. A rabbit is often the first pet we receive as children and aims to teach them how to look after another living creature.
Bugs Bunny and a range of other cartoons and movies usually associate rabbits with eating only one thing, carrots! We see it as children and could be forgiven for thinking there is little else, but that’s not the case. With Easter inevitably coming along, let’s take a look at what you can feed your rabbit, but also what NOT to feed them!
Food Your Rabbits Can & Can’t Eat
When looking at what to feed your rabbit, it’s important to think about them, not in a contact pagehutch
, but out in the wild. Before they were domesticated, and still now, wild rabbits don’t eat fruit and vegetables. Whilst it can be a nice treat every so often for your caged pet, carrots and lettuce (and similar vegetables) shouldn’t form the main part of your rabbit’s diet. The problem with those foods is that they are high in sugar, albeit natural sugar. If you want to give your rabbit some fresh vegetables, choose leafy greens or grass.
Can Rabbits Eat Lettuce?
The other problem with lettuce is that it contains a chemical called lactucarium, which, in large quantities, can be harmful. It’s a milky fluid that is secreted by a number of lettuce varieties from the stem. It’s worth bearing in mind that we say ‘large quantities’ when talking about a small rabbit, it doesn’t have to be very much from our perspective to be considered large to them.
With lettuce, it’s also worth noting that the different varieties have different implications for your rabbit. If the lettuce leaves are lighter in colour, you’ll find that they’re mostly water and therefore, offer very little in terms of nutritional value. If you’re going to give them lettuce, then choose varieties that have darker leaves and are more fibrous in nature. This will mean that they are higher in fibre and will have more nutrients. That said, that shouldn’t mean you give them it too often. If you’re going to add lettuces like romaine to your rabbit’s diet, do it gradually to avoid stomach upsets.
Can Rabbits Eat Muesli?
As humans learn more about healthy eating, breakfast cereals and muesli begin to overtake the full English breakfast. Whilst it might be good for us, muesli is bad for your rabbit. Whilst it might look perfect to give to your bunny, it can cause some serious health problems for them. Keep the so-called ‘rabbit food’ for humans.
Other Foods Your Rabbit Shouldn’t Eat
Whilst we’re on the subject, other foods to avoid giving to rabbits include things like avocados, chard (aka silverbeet), bread, pasta, biscuits, yoghurt drops, and walnuts. If you’ve got a hamster and want to combine food, then try to avoid doing that too. It won’t necessarily harm them, but hamsters and rabbits have very different dietary requirements. Rabbits need high-fibre foods and hamster food will not offer that to them.
Can Rabbits Eat Hay?
The best thing to give your rabbit to eat is probably going to be already in good supply in your home and that is hay! Hay isn’t just to be used for their bedding. Providing it’s fresh and dust-free, hay should be the main dietary source for your rabbits. Hay helps them to keep their teeth clean and their stomach's healthy. Not only that, but it encourages your rabbit to forage and graze. A natural instinct for rabbits that can get lost when living in a hutch.
Can Rabbits Eat Chocolate?
There’s no denying that rabbits and chocolate are quintessentially associated with Easter, but when it comes to real life, they should never be mixed. Never ever give a rabbit a bar of chocolate as it can be poisonous. Stick with the tips above, keep the chocolate for you and you’ll both have a great time this Easter.
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