Bunny Treats for Your Pet
Lets just admit it, we love to feed our rabbits bunny treats. Watching those cute little noses wrinkle as they eat some goodies is just fun. While we may want to keep the rabbit’s diet as close to natural as possible, it still is ok to bring a treat to our pets or farm rabbits and watch them eat enthusiastically. We have both house rabbits and farm rabbits and they all love a treat. Rabbits are herbivores and this means they should mainly be eating plants. Fruits and vegetables are a product of plants and should be given in moderation.
Is feeding your pet rabbits complicated? Not really! Since rabbits are herbivores they are happy with grasses and legumes. Rabbit diets should consist of water, pellet food, and hay. These should be the core of a good rabbit feeding program. There are many rabbit formulas to choose from and for the most part the all purpose timothy pellet will be the right choice. If you have a rabbit with a specialized need, such as lactating, or fiber producing then you may need to choose a specialized formula. Most pet supply dealers should be able to help you choose the correct ration for you pet.
What vegetables and fruits can you give for bunny treats?
The following list is not all inclusive. You may find a treat the is the favorite of you bunny. And with any treat, it is important to remember that a small amount is fine, but a large amount may cause health problems.
Carrots– everyone thinks of carrots when they think of bunny treats. And it is true that rabbits love carrots. Carrots are also high in sugar, so a little bit goes a long way.
Apples – Pears – Bananas – Also good choices but in limited amounts. These are high in sugar also.
Leafy Greens, including Kale, Spinach, Romaine, and other leaf lettuces. Avoid iceberg lettuce as it is mostly water and can cause diarrhea. Some greens are high in oxylic acid which can damage kidneys if fed in high amounts. Spinach, and Swiss Chard are in this group of greens, so limit these to one leaf per rabbit per day.
Leafy green plants such as dandelion greens, and plantain leaves are great treats and high in nutrients and vitamins.
Herbs – Adding fresh herbs to your rabbits diet will boost immunity and overall good health. The top herb to consider adding would be Chamomile for calming and soothing, particularly during the first year of life when the hormones are raging. Occasionally adding some oregano for immune health can be beneficial too. Lavender is also sometimes used to increase calming but only a pinch! Brittany May from Happy Days Farm recommends using these three but only using the Chamomile regularly. She notes that in the wild, rabbits would find what they needed to feel good. In captivity, we need to supply these herbs, occasionally. (Simple Herbs for a Stressed Out Rabbit)
Remember that feeding only fresh fruits and vegetables is not the natural diet of rabbits. Even the famous Peter Rabbit ended up sick in bed after visiting Mr. McGregor’s garden!
A final word about diarrhea in rabbits. Feeding the wrong diet to your bunny may lead to diarrhea. Diarrhea is a symptom not a disease in itself. Diarrhea can be very serious and lead to death quickly. Keep some whole oats or oat hay on hand. I find it easier to keep some whole oats in the house in case there is an occurrence. Feed a good size handful of oats. Do not use the sugar sweetened oatmeal mixes. Use whole plain oats.
Baby rabbits are particularly susceptible to diarrhea from eating fresh greens and fruits. Do not feed baby rabbits any fresh foods until they are fully developed. At that point, introduce fresh produce very slowly so that your rabbit can enjoy the bunny treats without getting sick. I waited at least 10 weeks of age and started with offering a small piece of carrot as a treat.
Lots of Rabbit info here
I write about many homestead and livestock related topics on the blog Timber Creek Farm. Do you want to know more about raising chickens? My new book, Chickens From Scratch, is available now through the Timber Creek Farm website or from Amazon.com