This information applies to rabbits which are new to your home, and existing rabbits – regardless of age. Whether you have a new pet rabbit or are just making changes to your existing pet’s basic diet, go slow with all dietary changes.
Vegetables (greens) should be added one at a time. If you have a situation where a new pet rabbit has been fed improperly prior to coming to your home, use your best judgment. If you deem it necessary, seek the advice of a rabbit-savvy veterinarian and/or research as much rabbit-related information as possible.
Baby rabbits (kits) will nurse 4-6 weeks during which time they start eating the scraps of whatever their mom is eating in the nest. This allows their gut flora and digestive system to develop and adjust properly. At about eight weeks old, they are ready to be adopted into their forever families. At about 12 weeks old, most rabbit kits are ready to have greens introduced into their regular diet. However, like any-age rabbit, greens should be introduced in small amounts, one at a time. After introducing the new green/vegetable, wait a week or two and make sure there are no digestive problems (running poops, gas, et cetera) before adding another.
As rabbits age, they should be introduced to appropriate fresh, clean, organic greens such as parsley, dandelion leaves, romaine lettuce (in small amounts), strawberry stalks and leaves, the leaves of some trees and so on. It is best to feed your rabbit on a schedule and keep his/her diet simple throughout life. Not all rabbits can tolerate the same types of foods. Introducing vegetables (or any food) one at a time will allow the digestive system to adjust and also let you know which foods your pet can handle.
Before bringing a new pet rabbit home, regardless its age, find out exactly what its diet has been and stick to that diet for the next week or two. Rapid diet changes can cause any rabbit’s gut flora to fall out of balance. This can, and often does, cause health problems such as constipation and diarrhea. Both conditions can be fatal if not handled quickly and properly. Pet rabbits which are new to your home will already be stressed due to the change in environment. Sudden dietary changes only make things worse.
Avoid giving your pet rabbit brassicas (cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, collard greens, bok choy, cabbages, et cetera) on a regular basis. Brassicas have been known to cause health problems in rabbits if fed on a regular basis. If fed at all, feed them to your pet very sparingly (once a week, at most). Here is a very short, but helpful video, on this topic.
Please Note: Love Your Rabbit does not support raising rabbits for consumption and/or animal testing and/or science experiments (where the animal is at risk for injury, pain or death).
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