Diet

A poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to dental disease and digestive disorders, even obesity in some cases. So it’s very important to try and mimic what your rabbit would eat in the wild as much as it is practical.

Did you know

At least 85-90% of the rabbit’s diet should consist of hay, grass and dried grass, as a guideline as much as the size of the rabbit’s body! They also need a small amount of nuggets – 20-25g per kg ideal bodyweight is all that is needed. You also need to make sure they have some green leafy salad as part of their diet and water should always be made available.

The Excel Feeding Plan

92% of UK vets recommend Burgess Excel.

The Burgess Excel 5 Step Feeding plan was developed with vets to help rabbit owners provide their pets with all the nutrition they need. It is a complementary range that when used together delivers the high levels of fibre needed in a rabbit’s diet and effectively promotes and maintains the dental, digestive and emotional health.

DIET

Nearly all of the fibre in a rabbit’s diet comes from feeding hay and fresh grass. In fact, between 85-90% of your rabbits’ diet should consist of quality, fibre-rich feeding hay and fresh grass every day, with the remaining amount being made up of feeding nuggets and fresh leafy greens to provide them with the rest of the vitamins and minerals they need. Constant access to a clean water supply should always be available, and we encourage regularly checking your rabbits’ water supplies to check they’re not only accessible, but clean and fresh.

The Problems with Feeding Muesli

It is a common misconception that rabbits should be fed muesli, when in fact, research has proven that the feeding of muesli in rabbits can lead to severe health problems. Recent research conducted by The University of Edinburgh showed that rabbits fed on a muesli diet can result in some of the problems below:

  • Digestive Health – reduced gut function and a high number of uneaten caecotrophs (sticky droppings)
  • Dental Issues – overgrown teeth would prevent the rabbit from picking up food or drinking
  • Eating less hay – hay is vital to ensure wear of the continuously growing teeth
  • Lower water intake – water intake is important for urinary tract health
  • Obesity – eating muesli-style foods without hay can result in rabbits becoming overweight

What is selective feeding?

Rabbits fed on muesli-style foods will often selectively feed. This is where they pick out the high starch elements of the diet and leave the rest (typically the pellet or high fibre elements).

Selective feeding leads to the consumption of an unbalanced diet. In addition, hay intake and water intake are lower when muesli is fed leading to other potential dental and digestive issues. Over 90% of vets do not believe muesli style foods should be sold for pet rabbits*.

How do I transition my rabbits from muesli to nuggets?

If you are currently feeding a muesli style food to your rabbits you should gradually transfer your pets onto a hay and nugget based feeding plan over a period of between 14 and 28 days, by gradually reducing the amount of muesli and increasing the proportion of nuggets until they have completely replaced the mix.

*Independent research, conducted by VetSurgeon.co.uk and VetNurse.co.uk, 2013

Feeding Hay & Fresh Grass

Why do rabbits need so much fresh feeding hay in their diet? Hay is important in maintaining good dental and digestive health, preventing boredom through environmental enrichment and promoting positive foraging behaviours. Rabbits’ primary need in their diets, above everything else, is fibre! Without fibre, they can suffer from serious issues which can lead to death. Following a diet consisting of 85 -90% feeding hay and fresh grass is the best way to ensure your rabbits are being provided with the right amount of fibre.

A high-fibre diet means healthier rabbits!

Feeding rabbits a healthy and balanced diet helps promote a happier life! By following the Burgess Excel feeding plan, you can feel assured knowing the most important areas of your rabbits’ health are being taken care of:

  • Digestive Health – keeps the gut moving, helps to stimulate the rabbits’ appetite, maintains the healthy balance of the gut
  • Dental Health – the chewing motion as a result of eating hay and grass constantly wears down the teeth of rabbits, ensuring they don’t grow too long and lead to health complications!
  • Behaviour – encourages rabbits to search or ‘forage’ for food. Most of the rabbits’ time in the wild is spent looking for grass, hay, plants and herbs to eat. This keeps the rabbits busy, stimulated and exercised, which is why the right diet is key to helping rabbits express positive natural behaviour.