Oathay or teff and grass should make up 80-90% of the diet. A bunny should be allowed all day, unlimited access to hay. Fresh teff or oathay should be supplied every few days.
Bunnies under 6 months of age can also have lucerne added to their diet. This is high in calcium and helps with their growing bones. But after 6 months of age, the calcium content of lucerne is too high for the adult bunny and can lead to illness if given regularly.
Straw should be avoided as a food, as the nutritional content is very low.
The benefits of hay for bunnies
- Keeps the digestive system constantly moving. This prevents blockages which can be fatal.
- Helps to keep their constantly growing teeth at the correct length and prevent dental problems
- Prevents boredom as bunnies are constantly foraging and rearranging the hay to find the best bits
- Encourages good litterbox habits; they eat and poop at the same time.
Greens and Vegetables
These should make up 15% of the diet. This is roughly 1-2 cups per day per bunny. Have a look at the safe list to work out what you can feed your bun. By feeding a variety of greens and vegetables, you’ll give your bunny a good selection of different vitamins and minerals. You’ll also get to know which are your buns favourites.
Pellets are an extra supplement to a bunny’s diets. One egg cup sized portion of pellets, per bunny, per day is sufficient. If you are feeding fresh hay and a good amount of greens and vegetables, then you may find that you don’t need to add pellets as well. But if you’d like to include them, then use a standard brown pellet brand. These are often sold in bulk at your local animal feeds shop. Avoid buying any muesli mix or pellet mixes, these are not good for bunnies despite manufacturers indicating them as safe for rabbits. Feeding these mixes can lead to health problems and obesity.
Keep treats to a minimum for your bunny. They are often high in starch or sugars which aren’t processed well by your buns digestive system. To prevent any health issues only give a small, thumb-sized portion of treats 2 or 3 times a week. Have a look at our treat list to see which items are “better” to feed bunnies as treats.
Bunnies drink a lot of water. They need unlimited access to fresh water all day and night. Some bunnies can drink from a water bottle if they’ve been taught to use it. But most bunnies prefer to have a large bowl of water to drink from.
Dealing with the peeps and poops
Bunnies make wonderful pets for many reasons, but one in particular is that they are able to be trained to use a litterbox. Training your bunny to use a litterbox can make cleaning their space or enclosure much easier. It is never too late to start teaching your bunny to use a litterbox, it is often simpler to train an older bunny who has been sterilized. Bunnies tend to catch on quickly and it usually doesn’t take too long for them to get into the habit of usingit.
You’ll need to first set up the litterbox. Things you’ll need are:
- Cat litter tray – the deeper and bigger the better
- Eco-wood pellets – these are optional, but they keep the odour from the litter tray away longer as well as making the cleaning of the tray easier.
- Hay – which ever hay your bunny is currently eating
- White vinegar – works really well for removing odour and stains from the litterbox when cleaning.
Setup of the litterbox
If you’re using the eco-pellets, sprinkle a handful on the base of the tray. It doesn’t need to cover the base.
Next place the hay on top to fill the tray generously.
Your litterbox is now ready to use.
Bunnies tend to eat and poop at the same time. The hay in the litterbox encourages them to sit in the box and eat. If you’re using a net or basket, place the litterbox directly below the hay net. Scoop up any poops which land outside the litterbox and add them into the box.
Bunnies also always like to urinate in the same place. If they don’t naturally use the litterbox for this, then you’ll need to encourage them to do so. When they urinate outside the litterbox, take the newspaper or a paper towel soaked with the urine and place it into the litterbox. Clean the area around the litterbox well with the white vinegar to remove the smell of the urine outside the box. You may need to persevere for a few weeks until your bunny gets the hang of using the litterbox. If they really insist on urinating elsewhere, it might be a better idea to move the litterbox to their chosen place instead.
The average life span of a bunny is 8 – 12 years.
Bunnies are herbivores.
They belong to the scientific group called Lagomorphs
Their teeth grow continuously throughout their life and need to be worn down by chewing. They have 28 teeth.
Bunnies are crepuscular. This means that they are most active at dawn and dusk.
A male bunny is called a buck and a female is known as a doe. Baby bunnies are called kits and collectively they are known as a litter.
The female doe has a 31 day gestation period and can fall pregnant again directly after giving birth.
Kits are born blind and deaf. They only begin to open their eyes and can hear around 10-12 days old.
Mother bunnies only feed their young once a day. They don’t spend any time around the nest and it often looks like they are neglecting their young. They behave like this to protect the kits from predators by not drawing attention to the nest.
Bunnies can turn their ears around 180 degrees.
Bunnies ‘binky’ when they’re happy. This act of joy is characterised by a hop in the air, twist of the body, and kicking of the feet.
They are social animals who like the company of their own species. Single rabbits can become lonely.
Bunnies and guinea pigs don’t make good companions. Although similar in size, the species should be kept apart. Both animals use different methods of communication, so they can’t understand each other and they need different diets. Rabbits can and do injure guinea pigs.
Being a prey animal, bunnies don’t show weakness or that they are ill. So the best way to tell the health of your bun is by their poops.
Bunnies cannot vomit.
Bunnies need to digest some of their food twice therefore healthy bunnies eat soft “cecotropes” poops, these look like a bunch of grapes. The hard, round pellets poops you see are from the second round of digestion.