Feeding your Rabbits

You need to get fresh feed, thats of good quality. Good quality rabbit feed should have 16% to 18% protein and have a minimum of 16% fiber. Always look at the pellets when you buy the feed, they should be green and smell fresh, make sure they have no mold on them. They shouldn’t look dried out or stale. Spoiled rabbit feed, can cause your rabbit to be ill or lose condition. Feed can also be infested with mites so look out for that.

To keep your feed fresh, we use a large outdoor garbage can with a tight fitting lid. This way it can be wheeled around and hold a little over 100lbs of feed.

How much you feed your rabbit depends on a few things. I generally let my babies, nursing or pregnant moms eat as much as they like with a constant supply of timothy hay. I avoid excessive treats that can make them obese. As a breeder there are certain weight limits for each of the breeds if you want to be able to show them.

When you have young rabbits learning to eat pellets you should give them steam rolled oats, and hay. Oats are easier on the young bunnies stomach then the pellets. After a few days you can try mixing the oats into the pellets. Also, never give rabbits under the age of 6 months any kind of greens, carrots, or fruits. This will get them sick and they will have diarrhea. Sometimes older rabbits will get diarrhea when you give them carrots, if this happens, take the carrot away and give them some oats or hay.

We use an Edstrom automatic watering system in the barn. It provides a fresh clean source of water to all the rabbits, 24/7. Rabbits need to drink lots of water to be healthy and should never be left without water. No matter how hot or cold it may be, they need water. Never let your rabbit go without water if their bottle or crock is frozen over. Give them a new one with fresh water, swap them out between days and nights.

If your water lines freeze (the small flex tubing) use a hair dryer on the lines until it thaws or provide temporary crocks to drink from. We put in extra pipe insulation when we put our water line into the barn so we haven’t had any problem with frozen or bursting pipes, even on the rare occasion we get around 0. For colder climates you might have to shut the water off completely, in which case you should provide crocks with water until you can use the lines again.

Rabbits should have hay all the time, but I usually give mine hay once a week and it lasts that long. You can install hay racks to limit any being wasted or making a mess on the floor. In a pinch you can push a thin layer of hay between the cage wall and the J feeder to hold it into place and to give the rabbit access. Timothy hay is best. Alfalfa hay is very rich and should not be an every day treat. Straw provides little nutrition but the rabbits will eat it anyway. Most of the hay bales around here are Bermuda grass which is acceptable for nesting material.