Vegan living 101: Bunny Style
Updated: Apr 25
Learn what the best foods are for your vegan bunny (and you)!
Welcome to our blog post! Here we attempt to give you a fresh perspective on everything bunny and rabbit related based on our experiences in The Rabbitry. Enjoy!
Have you ever seen a rabbit peacefully grazing in your back yard? Munching on twigs, sprouts, fruits, seeds, dry and fresh grasses, wild rabbits consume a wide variety of vegetation to create a balanced diet.
Now, have you ever seen a pet store rabbit eating from a bowl of grayish looking pellets? What a contrast from their ancestral roots!
Your rabbit is a fun vegan just waiting to show you how tasty a varied diet can be! Just remember to start slow. Ensure your rabbit has been eating grass hays for at least a few weeks before introducing new foods. Also, organic is best. Make sure the food, whether organic or bought commercially, is scrubbed and washed well. And if you choose to allow you rabbit to free roam in a secured area, or if you are gathering fresh grasses and dandelion roots yourself, ensure the area is free from pesticides and other chemicals that could harm your rabbit.
First, the majority of your rabbit’s diet should be comprised of any type of grass hay. Grass hay provides a rich source of calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and even protein. Munching on hay promotes healthy teeth which is essential to proper oral care for rabbits because their teeth never stop growing. This is also why rabbits need wood sticks and other items to chew on to keep their teeth in top shape. Hay also keeps a rabbit’s gastrointestinal tract healthy. This can prevent GI stasis in your rabbit, which can occur due to hair, obstructions, and a change in intestinal bacteria. The best types of hay include timothy, oat, orchard, and meadow. Variety keeps rabbits healthy and happy by stimulating their senses and excitement since they never know what they will get next! Alfalfa is often thought of as a hay, but it is actually a legume. While it is perfectly fine to feed your rabbit alfalfa, be careful as to how much you feed. Alfalfa is high in calories and protein. An indoor rabbit does not have the same calorie needs as an outdoor rabbit, so for the sake of your rabbit’s waistline, limit the alfalfa!
About 75% of the fresh food you will feed your rabbit will come from leafy greens. Remember, if the leafy green is safe for you to consume, it is safe for your rabbit to as well. When thinking of proportions, a good rule of thumb would be to feed your rabbit 1 cup of leafy greens per 2 pounds of you rabbit’s body weight. You will also want to change up the variety so that your rabbit will not be overfed one type of leafy green constantly which could cause a buildup in their system and complete mental boredom!
Another important component of your rabbit’s diet is fresh foods. Fresh foods help to provide additional nutrients to your rabbit’s diet and the different tastes and textures will enrich your rabbit’s day to day experiences. Vegetables, like root or flowered, are great choices to add in with leafy greens. These should be fed in smaller quantities. About 1 to 2 tablespoons per 2 pounds of body weight a day would suffice. Avoid onions, leeks, chives, or anything from this family of vegetables because they may cause anomalies in your rabbit’s blood.
Now in the wild, rabbits will rarely get to indulge in fresh fruit. This is because fruit is seasonal and not available all year round. So, when a wild rabbit comes upon fruit, they go crazy! This is a natural instinct for a rabbit because in the wild, a rabbit never knows when they will get their next meal. House rabbits still have this ancestral drive, so they cannot control themselves when it comes to fruit. Since fruits can only be fed to a companion rabbit in small amounts, using about 1 teaspoon of fresh fruit per 2 pounds of body weight per day is ideal. Fresh fruit also holds two important purposes beyond nutrition: it makes for a delicious and motivating training treat and it helps you to check on your rabbit’s health every day. A rabbit who does not want their favourite fruit may be sick, so contact your vet asap! Also, be careful about dried fruit. Dried fruit is approximately 3 times as concentrated as fresh fruit, so keep that in mind when choosing your rabbit’s treats.
Here is a list of some leafy greens most rabbits enjoy:
· Basil (any variety)Bok Choy
· Beet greens
· Carrot tops
· Cucumber leaves
· Dandelion greens
· Dill leaves
· Frisee Lettuce
· Mint (any variety)
· Mustard greens
· Radish tops
· Raspberry leaves
· Red or green lettuce
· Romaine lettuce
· Swiss chard
· Turnip greens
Here is a list of some root and flower vegetables most rabbits enjoy:
· Bell peppers
· Broccoli (leaves and stems are fine)
· Brussel sprouts
· Chinese pea pods (the flat kind without large peas)
· Edible flowers (roses, nasturtiums, pansies, hibiscus)
· Summer squash
Here is a list of some fruits most rabbits enjoy:
· Apple (No stem or seeds)
· Banana (No peel)
· Berries (any type)
· Cherries (No stem or pits)
· Melons (Peels are fine)
· Pineapple (No skin)
· Plum (No pits)
· Star Fruit