You should feed your rabbits 1/4 cup of pellets per day (1 ¾ cups per week). However, this amount can vary depending on your rabbit type. Dwarf rabbits should be fed 1/8 cup of pellets per day.
One of the most important aspects of owning a pet rabbit is knowing how much to feed them. This can be tricky, as overfeeding your rabbit can lead to health problems, but underfeeding them can also be harmful.
Although the general rule is to feed your rabbit 1/4 cup of pellets per day (or ⅛ cup if you have a dwarf rabbit), it’s important to remember that pellets are not an essential part of a rabbit’s diet. If you accidentally feed them less than the recommended daily amount, it’s not a big deal. As long as your rabbits have plenty of access to hay and fresh water, they will be fine.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Factors To Consider When Deciding How Many Pellets to Feed Your Rabbit
- 2 What Can Happen if My Rabbit Eats Too Many Pellets?
- 3 Are Pellets Required in a Rabbits Diet?
- 4 At what Age Should Rabbits Start Eating Pellets?
- 5 Tips When Feeding Pellets to Your Rabbit
Factors To Consider When Deciding How Many Pellets to Feed Your Rabbit
1/4 cup of pellets per day is a general rule. The amount of pellets YOUR rabbit eats per day will vary. Several factors determine how many pellets a rabbit should eat per day, including:
Size of The Rabbit
This is the biggest factor determining how many pellets per day your rabbit should eat. Small rabbits (such as dwarf rabbits) only need about 1/8 cup of pellets per day. However, bigger rabbits DO NOT need more than 1/4 cup of pellets daily. Pellets are not an essential part of a rabbit’s diet, so there’s no need to go beyond 1/4 cup, regardless of how big your rabbit is.
Age of The Rabbit
Young rabbits (under 4 months old) tend to eat more pellets than adult rabbits. This is because they are still growing and need the extra nutrition pellets provide. However, it’s important to remember that young rabbits should NOT eat alfalfa pellets. Once a rabbit reaches 4 months old, it can be slowly transitioned to an adult diet.
Activity Level of The Rabbit
More active rabbits will burn more calories and need more food than sedentary rabbits. If your rabbit is very active, it may need a little more than 1/4 cup of pellets daily. However, it’s important not to overfeed them. If your rabbit is gaining weight, cut back on the pellets.
Pregnancy or Lactation
Pregnant and lactating rabbits need more food than rabbits that are not pregnant or nursing. This is because they need extra nutrition to support their growing babies. Pregnant and lactating rabbits should eat about 1/3 cup of pellets per day.
Health Status of The Rabbit
Rabbits that are sick or have a medical condition may need more or less food than healthy rabbits. For example, rabbits with GI stasis may need to be syringe-fed a high-fiber diet. On the other hand, rabbits that have dental problems may not be able to eat pellets at all and may need a diet of soft foods.
Different types of pellets have different nutritional values. For example, timothy hay pellets have a higher fiber content than alfalfa pellets. As a result, timothy hay pellets are better for rabbits that are prone to GI stasis. On the other hand, Alfalfa pellets are better for young and pregnant/lactating rabbits. Alfalfa pellets tend to be higher in calories, so quantity should be limited.
What Can Happen if My Rabbit Eats Too Many Pellets?
It’s always better to err on the side of caution and feed them fewer pellets than you think they need. Although pellets contain plenty of healthy nutrients, too many can cause significant health issues, including:
The first issue you’ll likely run into if you feed your rabbit too many pellets is constipation. Pellets are high in fiber and can cause rabbits to get backed up. If your rabbit is constipated, it may stop eating, have a decreased appetite, or stop using the litter box.
Completely opposite of constipation is diarrhea. Too many pellets can cause diarrhea in rabbits. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration and malnutrition, so it’s essential to get it under control as quickly as possible. If your rabbit has diarrhea, it may have a watery stool, a decreased appetite, or stop using the litter box.
Another issue you may run into if you feed your rabbit too many pellets is weight gain. Just like humans, rabbits can become overweight if they eat too much and don’t get enough exercise. Overweight rabbits are more likely to suffer from health problems like heart disease, arthritis, and respiratory problems.
Are Pellets Required in a Rabbits Diet?
The simple answer to this question is no, pellets are not required for rabbits to live a long and healthy life. Rabbits in the wild don’t eat pellets and have survived for thousands of years.
However, just because they aren’t required doesn’t mean they don’t offer benefits.
Pellets Offer a Good Mix of Nutrients
One of the main benefits of pellets is that they offer a good mix of nutrients. For example, most pellets contain 14-18% protein, which is vital for muscle development and growth. They also contain about 2% fat, which is important for a healthy coat.
Pellets are a Good Source of Fiber
Another benefit of pellets is that they are a good source of fiber. Rabbits need a high-fiber diet to stay healthy and prevent GI stasis. Most pellets contain around 18% fiber, which is ideal for rabbits.
Pellets are a Good Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Pellets are also a good source of vitamins and minerals. For example, most pellets contain vitamin C, essential for a healthy immune system (although too much vitamin C can be harmful). They also contain calcium, which is important for strong bones and teeth.
Keeps Rabbits From Getting Bored
Pellets also have the added benefit of keeping rabbits entertained. Rabbits eat hay all day, which is great because a lot of hay is required for a healthy rabbit, but pellets offer a change of pace.
Pellets Can Be Used to Train Rabbits
Pellets can also be used to train rabbits. For example, if you want your rabbit to stay in their cage, you can use pellets to reward good behavior.
At what Age Should Rabbits Start Eating Pellets?
Rabbits can start eating pellets as early as 4 weeks old. However, it’s important to remember that young rabbits should not eat alfalfa pellets. Once a rabbit reaches 4 months old, it can be slowly transitioned to an adult diet.
Tips When Feeding Pellets to Your Rabbit
Best Time of Day to Feed Pellets To Your Rabbit
The best time to feed pellets to your rabbit is in the morning. Pellets are a good energy source and help rabbits stay active throughout the day.
Not All Rabbits Enjoy Pellets
Just because pellets are good for rabbits doesn’t mean all rabbits will enjoy eating them. Some rabbits are picky eaters and prefer hay or other foods. If your rabbit doesn’t seem to like pellets, don’t force them to eat them.
Introduce Pellets Slowly
If you are introducing pellets to your rabbit for the first time, it’s important to do so slowly. Start by giving them a small amount of pellets and gradually increase the amount over time.
Pellets are not an essential part of a rabbit’s diet, but they offer many benefits, including a good mix of nutrients, a good source of fiber, and the ability to keep rabbits entertained. If you decide to feed pellets to your rabbit, do so slowly and in moderation. Rabbits over six pounds should eat 1/4 cup of pellets per day, and rabbits under six pounds can eat up to 1/8 cup of pellets per day.