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O2009-17

Dear Reba Rabbit

What should I feed my rabbit?

Reba Responds

We rabbits should eat according to a food pyramid, just like you humans.

The foundation of our pyramid, the food that makes up most of our diet, is fresh grass hay. We can have unlimited access to timothy, Bermuda, brome, oat or orchard grass hay. However, adults shouldn’t eat alfalfa, because it’s too high in protein and calories.

“Real” hay, with its long fiber strands that help grind down our teeth, is better than processed hay cubes.

The second tier of the rabbit food pyramid has three compartments: greens, lettuce and herbs, all of which we may eat daily. Greens include kale, collard, spinach, Swiss chard, dandelions, carrot tops, radish tops, and mustard and turnip greens.

Good lettuce choices are romaine, green leaf, endive and escarole; avoid iceberg. Our favorite herbs are cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, lemon balm and basil.

Tier three of the food pyramid comprises plain rabbit pellets, which you may feed in small amounts: a quarter to a half cup daily.

The tiny top of the pyramid is fruit. Apples, pears, cantaloupe, watermelon, bananas, strawberries and blueberries contain sugar, so we may eat only small amounts as occasional treats.

We shouldn’t consume such sweets as yogurt drops or honey sticks, because they have too much sugar and will make us fat. Also off limits are nuts and seeds, which can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems.

While we rabbits are vegetarians, some veggies, including beans, corn, potatoes and onions, are bad for us. Carrots may be fed in limited quantities.

I eat healthfully, using this food pyramid as my guide. Your rabbit should do the same.

 

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