BARBI BROWN'S BUNNIES - 3 B'S RABBITRY

HOW MUCH SHOULD MY BUNNY EAT?

DON'T FILL THE FEEDER!

The best indicator of your rabbit's health is his appetite. He won't eat if he doesn't feel well. If the feeder is kept full all the time, you won't know until it's too late that something is wrong.

ALWAYS FEED A MEASURED AMOUNT EACH DAY!

A rabbit won't eat if it isn't drinking. So keep fresh cool water available at all times.

Healthy rabbits appetites will increase slightly in cooler weather and decrease in warmer weather but are pretty consistent in dietary requirements.

From six to twelve weeks of age bunnies should be fed the adult ration TWICE a day. At 12 weeks, gradually begin to decrease the food to the adult portion ONCE A DAY using the following guideline:

An easy formula for an adult rabbit would be ONE OUNCE OF FOOD PER DAY PER POUND OF BODY WEIGHT. Weight will vary from one brand of feed to the next so this is a starting point and you may need to adjust up or down based on your rabbit's needs and the brand of feed you are using.

For example:

2 pound Netherland dwarf would get 2 oz. or a 1/4 cup;

4 pound Holland Lop or Mini Rex would get 4 oz. or 1/2 cup;

6 pound Mini Lop would get 6 oz. or 3/4 cup;

12 pound French Lop would get 12 oz. or 1-1/2 cups.

20 pound Flemish Giant would get 2 cups.

Remember these are general guidelines for a caged rabbit. It is better to see a bunny a little too lean than too fat. Like people, they live longer if they don't get too fat. Similarly, each will metabolize what they eat differently. The best guide is how your rabbits looks and feels. A basic guide to tell if one is too fat is to see if you can get a handful of loose skin over its' back. If not, its too fat! If you can feel every bone down its spine, it's too thin. Some breeds tend to be beefier than others.

There is no substitute for common sense! If you're feeding the scheduled amount and your rabbit feels too thin or too fat, adjust the quantity accordingly. If he still feels too fat or too thin, consult your vet to rule out parasites or a metabolic disorder.

Ask for a starter supply of feed when you purchase your bunny and continue using the same brand if possible. If the same brand isn't available in your area, ask for alternative recommendations.

Never change feed quickly. Mix the feed the bunny is used to with Old Fashioned Quaker Oats and the new feed. Gradually add more new feed and reduce the original feed. Abrupt change of feed causes deadly diarrhea. If rabbit develops diarrhea, take away the new feed and just feed oatmeal until diarrhea stops. Then reintroduce pellets slowly, mixed with oatmeal.

Rabbits need lots of roughage in the form of hay or straw to help prevent hairballs. Feed hay AT LEAST once a week. Bunny safe hays include Timothy Hay, Orchard Grass, Rye Grass, Blue grass, Meadow Grass. Grain hays like Oat , Rye, Wheat or oat-wheat-barley blends are excellent choices during a molt.  Alfalfa is very rich and can lead to the development of calcium stones if overfed.