The 10 most common rabbit feeding mistakes

In rabbit husbandry, feeding errors are considered fatal, because they can significantly affect health. The problem: most feeding errors do not become apparent immediately, but only after many years. For example, many rabbit seniors suffer from dental problems that can often be avoided with species-appropriate feeding. We will enlighten you below about the most common feeding mistakes and give important tips on how you can do better.

Mistake 1: Only hay is fed

It is true that roughage is extremely important for the digestive tract, so it should still be the main component in rabbit feeding. However, feeding hay exclusively can result in other diseases – for example, of the urinary tract. One of the reasons for this is that the animals automatically take in little fluid if they are fed only hay.
Our tip

Fresh grass and green salads as well as fruit and vegetables provide the rabbit with additional important minerals and optimally balance the fluid balance. Therefore, divide the feed into 50 percent roughage and 50 percent fresh feed.

Mistake 2: You feed unsuitable foods

The trade deludes inexperienced rabbit owners that purchased feeds are optimal for the animals. The opposite is the case. Rabbits do not need dry food. It neither aids digestion nor keeps the rabbit fit. For the rabbits indigestible components as well as numerous sugar additives do the rest, so that rabbits not rarely even become obese.
Our tip

If you absolutely want to use dry food from the trade, make sure that it has as coarse a structure as possible so that the teeth wear optimally.

Mistake 3: Too much sugar

It is not only feed types from the trade that contain a lot of sugar or are enriched with honey. Fruit also contains a considerable amount, in the form of fructose. Therefore, it is important that you offer the rabbit only a small amount of fruit daily, but all the more vegetables.

Mistake 4: The hay is contaminated

Those who have their own garden may make their own hay for rabbit feeding. This is generally a good thing. However, hay must be stored in a dry place and should never be stuffed into foil bags. This can cause mold to form, making the hay inedible on the one hand and making it sick on the other.
Mouse droppings in hay

If you find mouse droppings in the hay, you should also not feed it, as mouse droppings can transmit diseases.

Mistake 5: The hay is not replenished often enough.

Rabbits have a natural instinct with which they filter poisonous from non-toxic plants in nature. This is also the case with hay. Therefore, it is important that you always fill up the hayrack when there is still some left in it, because the hare may have exposed this remaining as “poisonous”. If you do not fill up with fresh hay and the animal eats the inedible hay, this can lead to serious problems.

Mistake 6: You offer the rabbit too little green fodder

Not only hay is important for the rabbit’s digestion, but also green food. In addition, the liquid it contains stimulates the bladder and kidneys, which is also important for the rabbit to enjoy the best health for as long as possible. During the summer months, you can always pick fresh greens from the meadow. In the winter, different types of cabbage as well as green salads are suitable to bring in the necessary kick of freshness.

Mistake 7: Too little water

Rabbits absolutely need water to aid digestion and for all other organs to work optimally. Rabbits that drink too little water therefore often suffer from health deficits.
Our tip

Most rabbits prefer to drink from a water bowl than from a drinking trough.

Mistake 8: You do not clean the bowls properly

Food and water bowls should be cleaned daily to prevent germ buildup. This doesn’t just include emptying out the bowls. It is equally important to wash them out thoroughly with water.

Mistake 9: Too little “bite-proof” food

Rabbit teeth grow throughout their lives and need to wear down regularly to prevent malformation and associated pain. It is important to offer the rabbit daily “bite-proof” food that promotes abrasion. Carrots or larger pieces of cabbage, for example, are suitable for this purpose.

Mistake 10: The feed changeover takes place too quickly

Especially the changeover from “dry” winter food to “fresh, green” summer food is often done too quickly. Change the feeding to fresh food slowly so that the rabbit’s digestive tract can get used to it. Otherwise, diarrhea or constipation may occur.

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