Guideline Two

Happy Rabbit has a daily unlimited supply of fresh hay and clean water.

Rabbit teeth grow their entire life. It is very important to give your rabbit a daily unlimited supply of fresh hay to prevent your rabbit from having teeth problems because they are too long. Besides hay, you can give him willow branches to chew on. Hay is also very important for the digestive system of your rabbit. A rabbit needs lots of fibre to keep his gut active. The digestive system of a rabbit is very complex. A rabbit MUST eat hay!

Sometimes you hear that rabbits do not need water. People think this, for example, because they have never seen a rabbit drinking in the wild. Even so, rabbits in the wild do drink water and your pet rabbit needs a bowl or drinking bottle of fresh water every day.

And what about vegetables and pellets? Yes, your rabbit needs those too, but be careful not to feed too much! And not every vegetable is suitable for your rabbit! Be aware that you feed your rabbit bits of pellets that all look the same so he cannot be picky. Maybe you feed your rabbit mixed bits (sort of like muesli). This has several disadvantages as your rabbit may be picky and only eat whatever he likes best, rather like when you only eat the inside of your bread and leave the bread crust. If you are changing anything in your rabbit’s diet, please do so gradually and mix the new pellets with the old pellets every meal, adding a bit more of the new pellets each time. After a week or two, the change will be complete and you can continue with the new pellets. The same goes for vegetables. Not every type of vegetable is suitable for your rabbit and not every rabbit likes all vegetables. A daily bite of chicory, endive, lambs lettuce, radish and celery is a good supplement. Rabbits love apple, banana and carrot but these contain lots of sugar which is very bad for your rabbit so only feed them a small slice a day. If your rabbit is not so into fresh vegetables you may consider feeding him dried herbs as parsley, nettle or birch leaves.

The best balance is 80% hay, 10% vegetables or dried herbs, 5% pellets. The last 5% may consist of small pieces of (dried) fruit which you can also use as treat or reward at training.

If you feed your rabbit anything for the first time, try just a very small amount of it and only one new item at a time. When this goes well, the droppings look good and it looks like your rabbit does not have a stomach ache, then you can give your rabbit a little bit more the next day. And so on. As soon as you notice your rabbit may have some problems with the food, stop feeding that item or cut back the portion.

A rabbit in the wild does not get a bowl of food on a daily basis. He spends hours each day searching for food. Make sure your rabbit can spend some time searching for food. Hide the food throughout his hutch under the hay, behind his toys or make something with newspapers, empty toilet rolls or empty egg boxes.