Hay is the Basis of Your Rabbit’s Diet. An unlimited supply of fresh hay is the single most important part of a healthy rabbit diet. Not only does it wear down your rabbit’s continually-growing teeth, but it also aids in proper digestion.
San Diego House Rabbit Society (SDHRS) recommends that you feed your rabbit a diet consisting of unlimited fresh grass hays (NOT alfalfa hay), fresh greens daily (if your rabbit tolerates them) and a small amount of high-fiber pellets of a type that is appropriate for your rabbit’s age and nutritional needs. Young rabbits (under 4 months old) should receive only a small amount of simple greens such as a few sprigs of parsley or cilantro, until their digestive system becomes used to them. Introduce new greens slowly, and one at a time to ensure they do not cause soft stools.
Twenty years ago, people used to feed their rabbits pelleted foods, almost exclusively. They were using the same thing that breeders of meat and show rabbits used and that’s all they knew to do. Today, we have learned that rabbits need a diet that consists primarily of grass hays, some fresh greens and only a small amount of pellets – if at all. Pellets were meant to induce fast growth and put on weight quickly. Those rabbits, unfortunately, were not meant to live long lives. Today, we want our rabbit companions to live out their expected lifetimes of 8 to 12 years. To support this we need to keep their diet lower in calories, high in fiber, and restrict sweets such as fruit, carrots or “processed” pet store treats.
Our goal, when teaching you about a rabbit’s healthy diet, is for you to understand that the diet must be tailored to “your” rabbit’s specific needs. We can start with general guidelines, but working with your rabbit-savvy vet, you can determine the best diet for your rabbit. a service to our rabbit community, SDHRS sells freshly-packed boxes of hay at our Bunny Supply Store in Kearny Mesa and other hay sales outlets throughout the county. This makes it easy for you to the get the healthy hays that your rabbit needs. Depending on the location, our boxes of hay include a mix of the following: Timothy Grass, Orchard Grass, Oat Hay, 3-Way Hay (Oat, Rye, Wheat) mix, and a tiny bit of alfalfa. What we pack often depends on what is in stock at the time. But, rest assured, we are packing hays that we know to be healthy and safe for your rabbit.