What shall I feed my bunny?

James and Hyacinth, the BrightHaven Bunny

Ah, so you’re the proud new owner of an adorably hoppy bunny! If you’re like me, you discovered immediately that bunnies are not much like your other domesticated pets. While my cat meows for my attention and my dog runs and plays, the bunny blinks and has her own set of vocabulary.

Why does she grind her teeth when I rub her head? (she’s purring) Why does she thump that back leg when I try to catch her to put her back in her cage? (she’s displeased or scared), why does she rub her chin on_____? (there are a couple of theories on this: 1)she’s marking this item as her territory or 2) she’s saying “grace” and will be back soon to eat this item…) and finally, what shall I feed her?

You’ll be amazed at how simple your bunny is to feed. You may have bought her for companionship, for show or to help your garden along. Whatever your reason, your bunny will give you some great garden amendment. What’s even better is that most of your bunny’s food can come straight from the garden! Don’t mess around with those brightly colored, artificially sweetened and flavored foods from most pet stores. Buy bunny the basic pellets–low protein and high fiber–and then supplement her diet from there.

Why low protein/high fiber? Bunnies need extra fiber to help get rid of the hair in their digestive systems. While they clean themselves like a cat does, bunny can’t regurgitate a hairball, so it needs to come back out!! What’s the best source of fiber? Give your bunny plain old wheat straw. We use straw as bunny bedding so it’s right there for her consumption as well. Another plus of using straw as bunny bedding is that the straw can be dumped right into your garden or compost pile along with bunny droppings! You want to stick with the low protein food to help protect bunny’s weight and kidneys.

But what are some specific foods I can feed my bunny? After some trial and error, we have a few specific foods that bunny Hyacinth seems to really enjoy.

  • mint
  • strawberry leaves
  • radish tops–but not too many b/c they make her poop kind of soft!
  • baby carrots
  • mayhaw branches
  • pinecones (unscented)–I discovered this when Hyacinth kept stopping to nibble the scented pinecones!
  • grape leaves–I have yet to try these but they were recommended by Suburban Farmer and she KNOWS!

What should I not feed bunny?

  • spinach–too high in oxalic acid and calcium for bunny’s kidneys!
  • sweet fruit–can be fed very sparingly
  • nuts and legumes
  • meat–bunny’s a vegetarian!
  • any chemically treated veggies

I hope you have found this little essay to be useful to you and your new bunny raising experiment. Above all, have fun with that little bundle of fluff. Let her run around and play–but keep that cutie safe! Your bunny loves to chew wires, furniture, shoes, clothing, etc…

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