What's for dinner, Bugs?
Your rabbit cages are not complete without proper food for your rabbits. A good diet promotes health, beauty, and happiness, and it doesn't take a rabbit long to figure out you're the hero who keeps bringing the good stuff to the happy rabbit hutch.
Four food groups
Domestic rabbits do best on a mixed diet including quality pellets, hay, fresh vegetables, and the random treat. Just like with humans, treats should be limited. Always keep your rabbit cages stocked with fresh water in a clean dispenser.
Rabbits are herbivores and need lots of fiber in their diet. Choose pellets that are more than 18% fiber. Quality pellets have more food and less filler, so they can sour over time. To keep your food fresh, don't buy more than a month's worth.
What the hay?
Hay is a natural snack for rabbits. It cleans their teeth and their innards, so they need access to it all day long to aid digestion and prevent hairball blockage. They won't overeat. Add fresh hay to your indoor rabbit hutch once or twice a day.
The salad bar
A good salad for you is a good salad for Bugs. Just leave off the dressing. Leafy greens and root vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and turnips (include the tops and the root) will help your rabbit shine inside and out. Go light on spinach and kale, which are nutrition-rich but also high in oxalate, a salt which in large amounts, can lead to kidney stones.
What's for dessert?
Fruit, given sparingly, is a perfect treat. Rabbits love the sugary sweetness, but they tend to eat it in place of more healthful vegetables, so control the portions. Pet stores sell a grand variety of rabbit yummies, but consider them junk food, good only for the occasional indulgence. Most treats spoil fast, so remove them from your rabbit cage when treat time is done.
Through the ages
Baby rabbits will eat only mother's milk for the first three weeks, then start nibbling on alfalfa grass and pellets. They'll make the switch naturally. Start adding vegetables at 3 months. At 7 months, start limiting the pellets to a half-cup for every 6 pounds of rabbit, and switch from alfalfa to hay and oat grass, which have fewer calories and have calcium. Increase the vegetables. You can help underweight or overweight rabbits by adjusting the amount of pellets they get, which are high in calories.