Natural Feeding for Rabbits
In the wild, grass is their staple diet. Sometimes they feel the need for a little variety and seek out dandelions, parsley, lettuce and other greens, but mostly they need grass, grass and more grass!
Grass should make up at least 85% of a pet rabbits diet
This is easy to provide for pet herbivores. You can cut clean grass for them ( not oily lawn mower cuttings) and put in their hutch or better still, put them out in an enclosed garden or a run on the grass. They love hopping about on the grass in the sun; we all need exercise and sunlight to stay healthy! They eat most of the time they're awake, so make sure grass or hay (dried grass) is always freely available with plenty of fresh, chemical-free water (i.e. filtered or bottled).
As their diet is naturally coarse and abrasive, it needs lots of chewing. This wears down the grinding surfaces of their teeth, keeping them sharp enough to pulverize the vegetation they eat. They also grow continuously from the roots.
If their food is not fibrous and abrasive (like most processed flake and cereal 'bunny mix'), it doesn't wear their teeth down, so they continue to erupt into the mouth, forcing the jaws apart. Then their curved front teeth don't meet any more, so they stop being worn down, but continue to grow, following their curved shape. Eventually, these front teeth (incisors) grow into the soft tissues of the mouth and nose.
The other problem with feeding processed 'bunny mix' food to herbivores is the demineralisation of the bones, resulting in osteoporosis (same in all animals, including humans!!). The weak bones are unable to support the teeth, which end up erupting up into the eye socket and down, out of the bottom of the lower jaw, because there is no room for them in the mouth.
Overgrowing teeth is the most common problem faced by pet rabbits, chinchillas and other herbivores. It often leads to abscesses and a slow, painful death. It is virtually impossible to cure but really easy to prevent by feeding them a proper natural diet.
If a rabbit is fed on a varied diet of hay, herbs, wild plants and vegetables there is no need for dried cereals, pellets or flaked food and no need for vitamin or mineral supplements so we do not sell any.
The other thing that is important is the amount of water your rabbit drinks. Dried foods such as hay will make tham drink more an there is recent evidence that some rabbit not not drink enough and as a consequence are prone to bladder problems.
Nipple drinker bottles are not the best solution rabbits will drink more in total from a simple open water dish and this is what we recommend.
They can drink four times as fast from a water bowl it has been shown (Harcourt BrownVet Times Feb 2011) Make sure is is kept clean and fresh.
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