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Thread: A meal plan for rabbits

  1. #1
    Young Bun
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    Default A meal plan for rabbits

    Hi sorry if this has been posted already, I have been searching this forum for a while (guest not a member) looking for something similar and haven't found anything hence why I am now posting. We have two guinea pigs and two rabbits.

    I had never had guinea pigs growing up so found myself doing so much research into their diet and needs etc. One thing I found useful was a daily meal diary of what other members of a were feeding their GPs and I found out I was massively over feeding ours.

    I was hoping if you could maybe post what veggies (portion sizes too) are given to your rabbits daily so I could work out some sort of meal plan to ensure I'm feeding them correctly and giving them enough variety too. We have done so much research already but just wanting to make sure.

    Hope this makes sense and thanks in advance

    Sarah

    (Edit) Ps. I love the idea of foraging for them so am trying to get my head around it and plan)
    Last edited by Sarah298; 05-08-2016 at 05:48 AM.

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper daphnephoebe's Avatar
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    It really depends on you.
    Many people on here have different feeding patterns etc.

    My girls get hay and veg in the morning. They have a small bowl which has kale, celery and broccoli (if we give them something different they refuse to eat). This is the bowl:
    http://www.thepetexpress.co.uk/small...RKUaAmNG8P8HAQ

    They have their food scattered on the floor the bowl is really just to measure.

    Throughout the day we give them different forage; willow, hawthorn, maple, rose, plantin, dandelions etc

    In the evening they get two egg cups of dried food scatter fed and extra hay.

    They occasionally eat other veg, but they're a fussy pair and prefer their routine food.

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    Last edited by daphnephoebe; 05-08-2016 at 09:29 AM.
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  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper joey&boo's Avatar
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    Welcome to RU Sarah, I lurked as a guest for many years too

    The bulk of a rabbits diet - 80% should be hay, forage or grass. Hay should be free fed & you want to see your bunnies eat loads of it.
    I'd estimate mine have half hay, half fresh forage (I've also dried loads for winter). They have 2 trays of fresh a day, between three of them. I also add a handful of green oat readigrass to their hay which mine love.

    I don't feel like mine need nuggets but they do get 8g each of excel (a small handful between three), scatter fed at night

    If you search for 'My Foraging diary' on here there is a thread we update regularly that has lots of ideas & photos.

    This site (& vet) is amazing (Frances Harcourt Brown feeds her rabbits just forage) - if you can get your diet close to a wild rabbits I'd say that is a good thing

    https://www.harcourt-brown.co.uk/art...od-for-rabbits

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper
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    Hello there! Pleased to see you are taking your rabbits' diet seriously. Basically their diet should comprise 80% hay, then the remaining 20% made up of dried food (pellets) and veg or forage or herbs. We reckon on an eggcup full of pellets per day per rabbit, mine get a little less than this and thus they are all good hay eaters. I tend to stick to Spring Greens but you can give them Brocolli stem etc. Mine don't get a huge amount. They love the long grass if you can find some which looks fresh or Dandelion leaves etc. Rabbits and Guineas love Readigrass as well so that is something different you can give them. Hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Alpha Buck EyerollChamp's Avatar
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    Hi Sarah, welcome to the forum!

    Great idea! You'll find as many answers as you do replies, I expect. The main thing which doesn't change is at least 90% hay. This is very important for teeth and digestion. Mine have Timothy and Oat hay but I know a lot of people use baled which is cheaper and just as good if they'll eat it.

    On top of that I give them fresh forage in the evenings, about the size of an average bunny. I heartily recommend the book by Twigs Way on foraging for rabbits, available from the RWAF website. You'll find it's very easy and so, so satisfying when you see them going mad for it!

    Last thing at night they get a very small handful of burgess excel pellets each which I scatter in some dried forage (I buy burgess as I'm useless at drying my own but a few people on here manage it).

    I was giving them lots of fresh greens until I realised they weren't eating their caecotrophs (the smelly poos that look like very unappetising raspberries). This indicated they were a little overnourished. They tolerate the fresh forage loads better.

    Hope this helps!

  6. #6
    Forum Buddy Kara's Avatar
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    Hello & welcome.

    This is an interesting thread and you will see it vary between owners but the main thing is hay!

    Mine have their litter trays stuffed with hay & I add random piles through the day, I also make toys with the "posher" hay and refresh as and when it's needed.

    Mine get a heap of forage most days, usually hawthorn, willow, dandelions & grass & then any other bits I can find.

    They get a handful of pellets morning & night (2 bunnies) and Ted gets a little less
    Bead (him) & Thread (me) is our little outlet for our talents (ha!)

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  7. #7
    Young Bun
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    Thanks for your replies everyone

    When we first rescued them, we were advised to give our girls a small plate of vegetables morning and evening and pellets throughout the day as we rescued a stray and one of her babies, mum was massively underweight (we did hold off feeding the baby veggies until she was old enough and have introduced some gradually). Now mum has gained the weight we need to start cutting right back. Would I do this straight away or reduce it slowly?

    We have already sampled hay from the hay experts which they loved but I am aware they should be eating more so will have a go at some of the toys I have seen and guessing this would come after I reduce their other food.

    Where do you all go to forage or do you grow the plants? I'm really liking this idea so will order the book eyerollchamp suggested and have a look at the foraging thread and get reading . We have already been growing different types of grasses outside for them but I'm thinking of maybe trying to grow some of these other plants to get to a natural diet.

    Also, I know with GPs their diet can be difficult to get around to start with, what with vit C, sugars, high calcium, gassy etc... I know rabbit tummies are sensitive but are they as sensitive as GPs? Our girls would do anything for kale and broccoli but are fussy with other vegetables and I'm reluctant to feed them these everyday as I worry about the side effects of them?

    Sorry for all the questions, I have always gone by pets come first regardless

  8. #8
    Wise Old Thumper daphnephoebe's Avatar
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    Gradually cut back on the pellets, you'll notice as you cut back on these they'll start eating more hay naturally.

    You can add in the new toys before you're cutting back as they'll figure it our during this time.

    I grow dandelions in my garden (I have a tray especially for them). For things like willow, hawthorn etc I go to my local park, woods etc & even my mums back garden. I try to avoid areas that I know have a wild rabbit population and keep away from main roads.

    Rabbits are generally good at producing all their vitamins etc within their own bodies & don't need a massive amount available in their diet. They can have sensitive tunnies so always introduce new things slowly, and only one new thing at a time so you can monitor for tummy upset. My girls can be fussy over their veg so they get the fussy ones on rare occasions just as a change.

    Its lovely that you're asking so many questions and trying to get it all right first time.
    Even the strongest need to have a day of weakness

  9. #9
    Forum Buddy Kara's Avatar
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    I forgot to say I rarely give greens now - spring greens / kale type greens, I stick to forage & herbs

    I avoid all fruit too unless trying to tempt a poorly one, they do get banana occasionally and strawberries if we have any teeney ones growing

    ETA; local hedgerows are usually good, just be aware of if next to a main road avoid etc

    I grow plantain which id devoured and you can buy the seeds online
    Last edited by Kara; 05-08-2016 at 03:25 PM.
    Bead (him) & Thread (me) is our little outlet for our talents (ha!)

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  10. #10
    Warren Veteran Amy104's Avatar
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    Whilst the hay needs are similar for both piggies and rabbits (should be the main part) my bunnies probably get less veg than the piggies as they don't need the vit c. They both get the same veggies/herbs, I try to offer 3/4 a day rotating so that different vitamin needs are met. I'm not a very confident forager and also feed very minimal pellets to the rabbits so like to make sure I have their needs covered. Too much sugar/calcium can be as detrimental to rabbits as it is piggies. As can gassy veggies, though this is not something I've ever had a problem with in piggies or rabbits, mine all eat small quantities of brocolli and cabbage regularly with no problems.
    I Suffer From Multiple Rabbit Syndrome
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