A friend of mine recently rescued a neglected “jail” bunny whose owner had been feeding it mostly carrots!! I find many people have ‘funny’ ideas about what constitutes a good diet for rabbits.
Though pet stores hawk the well-known alfalfa pellet as the all-purpose food, this is actually not a good diet for an adult rabbit. The most important item in a rabbit’s staple diet is HAY. For adult rabbits this should be timothy or grass hay NOT ALFALFA. There is an abundance of calcium in alfalfa that can lead to a condition called ‘bladder sludge’ which can be deadly.
So, though young rabbits may have a alfalfa pellet, in small amounts (HAY is still the mainstay) adults should have a timothy hay based pellet as supplement to the hay.
Pet stores also lure the human tendency to look for novelty by offering lots of fancy pellets with fruit, grains, colors, etc. These high calorie foods are not good for the gut system of rabbits, which needs a high proportion of fiber in order to operate in good health. Sugars from fruits should be offered very sparingly—a apple core or pear piece once a day at most. Fruit sugars can cause loose stools and upset the beneficial bacteria in the rabbit’s intestinal tract. And carrots are sweet!! So, minimize the carrots.
Hay should always be in the rabbit’s litter box and should be augmented daily.
My rabbits enjoy chewing the bark off cuttings from my Chionanthus tree. Since bunny teeth are always growing, they need appropriate chewing items to satisfy this urge to chew. When you provide them with these things, they are much less likely to gnaw on the furniture!!