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Feeding Your Rabbits
Rabbit food pack: click to enlarge The care and feeding of your rabbit is of great importance. Proper feeding and watering helps maintain the rabbit’s health. Rabbits on a maintenance diet are different from those being fed for show or high production but many pet owners find and follow information that is detrimental to their rabbits.

There are rabbit pellets for pet or maintenance that can provide nutrition that is easy to measure. A general guide is an ounce of pellets per pound of body weight. For small breeds this may be 2-4 ounces and is not free choice pellets! Rabbits overfed have more health problems and a shorter lifespan.

In addition to pellets clean hay for roughage is a basis for a rabbit’s diet. This can be grass hay or even dried lawn clippings providing they are thoroughly dried. Some rabbits also enjoy a handful or two of fresh grass a few times per week. Fruit tree or berry bush trimmings can not only provide something the rabbit enjoys, a means of naturally trimming their teeth and something that keeps the rabbit “busy”. These like the grass should always be unsprayed.

Cabbage and vegetables that are high in water content can upset the rabbit’s digestive system but carrot tops, dandelion greens and many other vegetable trimmings can be occasional treats as well.

Rabbit drinking bottle Clean, fresh water is the cheapest "food" you can provide for your rabbit. Rabbits with insufficient water often go off feed. Water may be provided in an open bowl or crock or in a bottle or nozzle hooked to the water supply. Open bowls are easy for many rabbits however they can easily become contaminated with feces or food dropped in them. If not attached to the cage some rabbits make it into a toy and dump food and/or water.

A three sided shelter on legs where these cages can be secured inside the shelter is planned, with more space between the two rows to allow for more angle on the divider, which allows manure and waste to go into a house hold type gutter than drain into a bucket for the compost pile.

Other options are water bottles. The larger bottle (above) is good for those in warm climates to insure the rabbit has plenty of water all day. The smaller bottle further back is more suited for temporary use or in traveling. The advantage to bottles is the water stays cleaner and fresher as hay, manure and other debris cannot get into it. Clean water is important to the rabbit's diet especially in hot weather.

I in the above photo, the bottle should be attached to the door of the cage. It is filled from the outside of the cage with a J that goes into the cage so the rabbit has access to the pellets from inside.

Hay: the most important diet component for rabbits There is a great deal of misinformation on the internet that is followed by pet owners until their animal gets sick or dies. Many of the problems are not even issues in the breeders' world, indicating that the often recommended feeding practices on many pet sites truly are not for the benefit of the rabbit. Rabbits do sometimes enjoy rolled oats, but should not be fed corn. Corn is too fattening and will usually result in a rabbit "blowing" or shedding the coat. If your rabbit loses hair constantly try increasing the fiber in the rabbit's diet. Fiber builds fur. A handful of sunflower seeds, especially the "black oil" ones a few times per week can help the coat as well.

A good diet is important for the overall health of your pet rabbit!
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