House Rabbit Diet

Often we are provided with the wrong information when purchasing a rabbit from pet stores. For starters, you should always try to adopt from your local shelters and rescues. There are a lot of rabbits that need homes so please, adopt. I know not all countries have rabbits at shelters so you have no option but to purchase one at a pet store. When you do, make sure you walk in there with the knowledge, most employees at pet stores aren’t equipped with proper information and you end up with incorrect dietary options.

Most pet stores sell young rabbits as dwarf rabbits, they’re so young that you won’t know the difference until they are fully grown. Once you take the bunny home, schedule a vet appointment to find out an approximate age and hopefully their gender. Doing this early on will help you determine what stage in a rabbit’s diet is right for them. If your rabbit is still a baby, your vet will advise you on what to feed it and when to switch them to an all-hay diet.

A house rabbit’s diet should consist of good quality pellets, fresh timothy hay, water, and vegetables. When switching your young rabbit to hay, it should be alfalfa hay it’ll help them gain weight and grow healthy. Once they are of age, switch them to timothy hay. There are several varieties of hay and brand names, it’s basically up to your rabbit as sometimes they are picky. But always have fresh hay for them, always provide unlimited hay for them.

Diet according to age
One to six-month-old
  • Birth to 3 weeks of age they should only have their mother’s milk
  • 3-4 weeks mother’s milk, nibbles of alfalfa hay and pellets
  • 4-7 weeks mother’s milk, access to alfalfa hay and pellets
  • 7 weeks to seven months – unlimited pellets, unlimited hay
  • At 12 weeks introduce vegetables. One at a time at quantities under 1/2 ounce
7 months to a year
  • Introduce timothy hay, grass hay, and oat hay and decrease alfalfa hay as it is fattening
  • Decrease pellets to half a cup per 6 lbs body weight
  • Increase daily vegetables gradually
  • Fruits should be given on a daily rotation, but no more than 1 oz. to 2 oz. per 6 lbs body weight
1 to 5 years old
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pellets depending on their weight
  • Minimum 2 cups of chopped vegetables per 6 lbs of body weight
  • Fruit daily rotation no more than 2 oz. per 6 lbs body weight
Senior (6 years and older)
  • If their weight is stable, continue with the adult diet
  • If your rabbit is frail he or she may need unrestricted pellets to keep weight up. Alfalfa can be given to underweight rabbits, but only if calcium levels are normal. Annual blood work is highly recommended, even up to twice a year for geriatric rabbits.

You can increase their daily vegetables gradually, if they like them. Fruit can be introduce into their diet, no more than 1 to 2 ounces per body weight.

Older rabbits might be frail and may need unrestricted pellets to keep weight up. If your older rabbit cannot maintain a healthy weight, you can feed them alfalfa hay, but check with your vet as their calcium levels need to be normal.

This information is based on a normal rabbit’s diet, not all rabbits are equal and some might need special care. Like I have mentioned before, Cooper does not eat hay; to read more about his diet go to the Cooper tab of my website.