An ideal diet for a rabbit should mimic what wild rabbits get, which is mostly hay or grass and the rest leafy green veggies. A very small amount of treat food such as fruits, or pellets can also be offered. Treat foods can be used to train your rabbit.
The BSAVA (British Small Animal Veterinary Association) currently recommends that to keep teeth healthy, in addition to hay / grass, rabbits be fed at least 5 different types of leafy green vegetables every day. As a general guide rabbits should eat a diet 80% hay, 20% leafy greens – as a rough guideline – a pile of hay roughly the size of their body, and green the size of their head.
Rabbits can eat most plants, and when they are given lots of choice, they will avoid plants that are toxic.
The ideal diet for rabbits to prevent dental disease:
Recommendation from the BSAVA manual of rabbit surgery, dentistry and imaging
Tiny amount of good quality pellets (oxbow) or none at all
Small amount of hard fruit and root vegetables
Wide variety of leafy green herbs and vegetables
A constant supply of palatable hay
Twigs, branches and leaves, especially from fruit trees
How do I change a rabbit’s diet?
Slowly! It takes weeks for a rabbits tummy to acclimatise to a new diet. Gradually reduce the amount of pellets you feed by 5%, whilst adding new greens – a couple of small pieces a day for 2-3 weeks. Overfeeding one type of plant, or suddenly introducing large quantities of new plants can lead to tummy upsets or loose faeces.
Foods suitable for rabbits
Romaine (cos) lettuce
HERBS: Basil, Chervil, Coriander, Mint, Parsley, Rocket
Leaves and branches from fruit trees
Strawberry, blackberry, raspberry leaves
Tops from celeriac, beetroot, artichokes or other root vegetables
Cow parsnip (hog weed)
In small amounts only (these can make your bunny fat!)
Apples | Artichokes | Bananas | Beetroot | Carrots | Celeriac | Parsnips | Pears Swede |
(nb this is not an exhaustive list, and includes some British wild plants which may not be available in Australia.)