Rabbit Food Proportions

Maintaining a balanced diet for your rabbit is essential for their health, happiness, and longevity. Knowing the correct proportions of different food types helps in providing the necessary nutrients, preventing obesity, and promoting digestive health. This article outlines the ideal proportions of hay, fresh vegetables, pellets, and treats in a rabbit’s diet.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet

Rabbits have specific dietary needs that, when met, ensure they thrive. A balanced diet helps:

  • Support their digestive system
  • Maintain healthy teeth
  • Provide essential nutrients
  • Prevent obesity and related health issues

The Core Components of a Rabbit’s Diet

1. Hay (80-85% of the diet)

Primary Role: Hay is the cornerstone of a rabbit’s diet, crucial for digestive health and dental care.

  • Types of Hay: Timothy hay, orchard grass, and meadow hay are the best options for adult rabbits. Alfalfa hay, rich in protein and calcium, is suitable for young rabbits under six months but should be limited for adults.
  • Feeding Guidelines: Provide unlimited access to fresh hay daily. It should be available at all times, ensuring that rabbits can graze and chew as they please.


  • Fiber: Hay is high in fiber, which is vital for a rabbit’s digestive system.
  • Dental Health: The constant chewing required helps wear down their continuously growing teeth, preventing dental problems.

2. Fresh Vegetables (10-15% of the diet)

Primary Role: Vegetables add variety, moisture, and essential vitamins and minerals to a rabbit’s diet.

  • Leafy Greens: Include a variety of leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, kale, bok choy, and parsley. These should make up the bulk of the vegetable portion.
  • Other Vegetables: Offer non-leafy vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots (in moderation due to their sugar content).

Feeding Guidelines: Provide 1-2 cups of fresh vegetables per 5 pounds of body weight daily. Rotate vegetables to ensure a wide range of nutrients.


  • Hydration: Fresh vegetables contain water, helping to keep rabbits hydrated.
  • Nutrients: They are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, contributing to overall health.

3. Pellets (5% of the diet)

Primary Role: Pellets provide a concentrated source of nutrients, ensuring rabbits receive a balanced diet.

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  • Types of Pellets: Choose high-fiber, plain pellets without added seeds, nuts, or dried fruits. Look for a fiber content of at least 18%.
  • Feeding Guidelines: For adult rabbits, limit pellets to 1/4 cup per 5 pounds of body weight daily. Young rabbits can have more, but portion size should decrease as they mature.


  • Balanced Nutrition: Pellets are formulated to provide essential nutrients that might be missing from hay and vegetables.
  • Convenience: They are easy to measure and feed.

4. Treats (5% or less of the diet)

Primary Role: Treats should be given sparingly and used mainly for training or bonding purposes.

Most rabbits love Grapes as treats, however, as per Wassam, a Rabbit expert suggests while answering Do Bunnies Eat Grapes, that “Grapes are a tasty treat for rabbits and provide some nutritional benefits. However, due to their high sugar content, it’s important to offer grapes as an occasional treat and in small quantities.” – in his article What do Bunnies Eat.

  • Healthy Treats: Opt for healthy options such as small pieces of fruit (apple, banana, berries), herbs (parsley, basil), and commercially available rabbit treats that are free from artificial ingredients and high sugars.
  • Feeding Guidelines: Treats should be an occasional indulgence, not a daily staple. Limit to a teaspoon-sized amount per day or less.


  • Enrichment: Treats can be a source of mental stimulation and enrichment.
  • Bonding: They can help build a bond between you and your rabbit during training or playtime.

Avoiding Harmful Foods

Certain foods can be harmful to rabbits and should be avoided altogether:

  • Sugary and Processed Foods: Avoid giving rabbits candy, chocolate, or human snacks.
  • Toxic Vegetables and Plants: Onions, garlic, potato leaves, and rhubarb are toxic to rabbits.
  • High-Calcium Vegetables: Limit vegetables high in calcium, like spinach and parsley, to prevent urinary problems.

Monitoring and Adjusting the Diet

It’s important to monitor your rabbit’s weight, health, and behavior to ensure their diet is meeting their needs. Adjust portions as necessary based on their age, health status, and activity level. Regular veterinary check-ups can also provide insights and help in making necessary dietary adjustments.

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