Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Why You Should #ChooseChocolate This Easter // Feeding Bunnies

From Regarding The Secret Life of Rabbits Choose Chocolate Campaign 

So you're thinking about getting a bunny this Easter? Easter and bunnies go hand in hand, it seems like a no brainer, right? Wrong. The decision to get a bunny is a big one, despite what many pet shops, books and websites will tell you, bunnies are not simple starter pets, they are exotic animals that need a lot of specialised care. This series of posts will take you through the basics of feeding, housing, heath care, happiness and cost to help you decide if buying a bunny is really the right choice for you.


Bunnies have very complex gastrointestinal systems and feeding your bunny the wrong diet can lead to illness and early death, once a bunny is sick it can die within 24 hours of the problem occurring. An appropriate, balanced diet is imperative for ensuring your bunny stays healthy and happy for years to come.


A good quality grass hay should make up the bulk of your bunnies diet - good quality hay should be sweet smelling and dust free. Hay can be found in some pet stores, fodder stores and through online suppliers. Hay is important to keep bunnies occupied and to help wear their teeth down as well as providing them with important fibre and nutrition. 


While pellets are not necessary for a well balanced diet they can ensure you are providing your bunny with all the nutrients that they need. The important thing to remember with pellets is that they are a supplement food and should be fed in limited quantities and should never be free fed. It's imperative that you choose the type of pellets that you feed carefully, many brands that you can buy from pet shops contain cheap grains and additives which are bad for your bunnies health, muesli feeds should also be avoided to ensure your bunny is getting all the correct nutrition and not just picking the foods they like best. Brands such as Oxbow or Burgess are a good bet for a well balanced pellet. 


It is important that bunnies get a variety of leafy green vegetables daily, the usual recommendation is around one cup of greens for each kilogram of body weight. It's important to give your bunnies at least three different varieties of different types of greens a day to ensure they are getting all the nutrition that they need. Another concern with leafy greens is the oxalic acid content of the greens you are feeding, greens with a high oxalic acid content should be limited to ensure your bunnies aren't getting to much. The House Rabbit Society has a really good list of greens to feed and whether they have high or low oxalic acid content. The Rabbit Welfare Association also has some great fact sheets with safe foods to feed your bunny and diet tips. 


Bunnies love treats but, like humans, too much of a good thing can cause problems. Fruits and vegetables with a high sugar content can be used as a tasty treat to help you train and bond with your bunny but they should be limited to 1 teaspoon per kilogram per day. Again, The House Rabbit Society has an excellent list of suitable fruits and vegetables. Oxbow also has an excellent range of treats designed specially for rabbits.  

I hope this gives you an idea of the complexities of feeding a bunny, check back here next week for an overview on the ins and outs of appropriate bunny housing.


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