Bunny’s Pellet-Free Diet

We keep mentioning that Bunny doesn’t eat any pellets and we keep getting questions about his diet, so here is a more detailed explanation of what we give him. We choose Bunny’s food based on three equally important aspects:

– It has to be fresh and healthy for rabbits.
– It has to be a good mix of Bunny’s favorites and food he tolerates.
– There cannot be more than 2 choices ‘high in calcium’ at a time.

Rabbit Breakfast Example Monday

Parsley, Broccoli, Green Bell pepper, Baby Carrots, an inch of cucumber, and inch of parsnip, a cube of Kohlrabi, Spring Greens, a piece of Strawberry, Mint, Cilantro.

The first one is easy. We made a long list of fresh foods that a rabbit can eat. The second one eliminates about a quarter of the items on the list, because there are certain foods Bunny will not eat, even if there is absolutely nothing else. Dill and mustard greens, for example. Since everyone has certain dislikes when it comes to eating and since he is spoiled, we don’t force him to eat food he hates. We will, however, combine any favorite (like an inch of parsnip) with food he will eat, but doesn’t get too excited about (a piece of celery, for example). That way he doesn’t get mad at us for the choices that day (We can’t have him be angry with us!), but he also gets a greater variety of nutrients. If he only ate his favorites, he’d get sick and overweight, ha! The third one limits us as far as some of the combinations go. Greens such as kale, parsley, spinach, or dill are high in calcium and even though Bunny gets plenty of water through drinking and eating and also only gets a small amount of everything, we like to be on the safe side, so we limit those choices to a high of 2 at a time.

Pet rabbit Breakfast Example Tuesday

Lettuce, half a stalk of Celery, Green Bell Pepper, a cube of Kohlrabi, an inch of Zucchini, a last piece of Parsnip, Kale, Cilantro, Broccoli.

Bunny has access to hay all day. He also gets about 2 cups of vegetables in the morning and 2 in the evening. The two cups are made up of about 8-10 different choices, so he gets a little bit of everything we have in the fridge for him. In the morning we generally hide his food all over the house, so he has to gather (which he loves). In the evening he mostly gets it in his bowl. Small treats are given to him a couple of times throughout the day. A treat could be a baby carrot, half a strawberry, or a pinch of chamomile flowers in one of his toys. We don’t give him any processed treats and he is just as excited as he would be otherwise. Vets recommend that rabbits get many small fresh meals throughout the day rather than be fed only twice, but we found that Bunny would stop eating his hay that way. Since hay is an important part of his diet and not having it gave him constant diarrhea, we decided that many small meals don’t work for us.

Pet rabbit in in Hay box.

He looks so cute and is so happy in his box of hay that we gladly endure a little hay on the carpet…

2-4 times a week we offer Bunny a bit of dry food. The choices mostly consist of dried vegetables, flowers, seeds, or leaves that are hard to come by around here, especially fresh. We give them to him to make sure his diet is as diverse as possible and he gets all the nutrients he needs. He may get a pinch of each of the following: All natural oats, nettle leaves, chamomile, spearmint, fennel seeds, dandelion root, nettle root, and rose buds. Anything “exotic” and edible, really.

Rabbit Breakfast Example Wednesday

Lettuce, Cilantro, Baby Carrots, an inch of Zucchini, an inch of Cucumber, Broccoli, a Blueberry, a bit of Banana, Kale, Fennel Greens.

I know that some people are concerned that not feeding pellets could mean that their rabbit will be lacking certain vitamins and minerals. Pellets only contain processed nutrients and no real vegetables at all (even if they are orange, there are no carrots in them). If you look at the food Bunny regularly gets and that we constantly rotate, can it really be that we are not covering something that the pellets provide? The equivalent question for humans could be, do you really think it would be better to eat McDonald’s and vitamin pills every day rather than cook fresh vegetables at home? Personally, I don’t think so. The images show Bunny’s breakfast the first 3 days of this week. He gets the same food for dinner, so imagine twice the amount per day (plus a Baby Carrot or other treat throughout the day plus Hay). Only 3 days and he has already eaten a large variety of vegetables. Tomorrow we’ll add Basil and Rutabaga (we ran out of Cilantro and Zucchini today). Be aware that Bunny is a small rabbit. Larger rabbits will need more food! And in case you are wondering, Bunny hasn’t gained or lost an ounce of weight in the past 6 months and he is at a perfectly normal weight according to the vet.

Small cup of oats for rabbit.

A little “dry treat” in between on special days. Nettle Roots, Nettle Leaves, and Chamomile with a pinch of Oats. Sometimes we add other food such as Rose Petals or Dandelion Root.

Please know that we don’t think that our “system” is the one and only way. It just works well for us. I wouldn’t go to a friend or co-worker and tell them that they are feeding their children all wrong, because they don’t give them enough of this or too much of that. We all want the best for our pets (and children) and we all judge what the best may be based on our own conscience. That being said, if you are interested in Bunny’s schedule, we will post an example of a typical month soon!

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Author: Bunny Approved

13 Comments

  1. Karen
    Karen On August 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

    thank you so much for posting this – seeing the photos also helps – :)

  2. Verica
    Verica On September 17, 2013 at 7:58 am

    thank you so much, and are eagerly waiting for the continuation ….my english is very bad, but you understan me :)

  3. laurel
    laurel On October 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I was just what kind of seeds can they eat or can they eat all kinds of seeds?Thank you :-)

    • Bunny Approved
      Bunny Approved On October 28, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      They can eat many kinds of seeds! Just be careful, because they are high in calories and should only be fed occasionally and in small quantities, especially when it comes to indoor buns. And they have to be seeds that don’t have anything added (salt, for example), weren’t roasted, and don’t have any chemicals on it. You could try fennel seeds, sunflower seeds, daisy seeds, wild grass seeds (the kind we give out as a sample with any order), cornflower seeds, chamomile seeds, sesame, and more.

      • Jordan
        Jordan On April 13, 2014 at 7:32 pm

        Where did you get this from? I have read on every single rabbit website (must be nearing 30 different ones now) that rabbits should not eat seeds. I have been a rabbit owner for 6 years now with 4 different rabbits and thought I had everything nailed. You seem to know what your doing though, so I’m a bit torn now.

  4. Lily and Stitch
    Lily and Stitch On March 25, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Hi! I was just wondering if there would be a replacement for lettuce in a bunny meal that does not throw everything off balance. My bunny Stitch, has an allergic reaction whenever he eats lettuce, so if there was a healthy alternative that you knew of, it would be much appreciated!

    • Bunny Approved
      Bunny Approved On April 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      Everything green and leafy or a particular kind of lettuce? What kind of reaction does he have? If it’s just one kind then you don’t have too much to worry about. There are so many greens they love and can have: turnip greens, a bit of kale, mustard greens, carrot tops, and more. Just make sure you offer one new thing at a time and only a small amount at first.

  5. Heidi Hess
    Heidi Hess On April 11, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    You feed your bunny almost exactly like I feed mine. My vet got me off pellets years ago and I have never looked back.

  6. Lily and Stitch
    Lily and Stitch On April 26, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you! And Stitch is mostly allergic to romaine and other common lettuces, such as iceberg and boston. After eating it, he gets sick and has diarrhea, so we have stopped feeding him it. Not sure what it is about it, but was just wondering what the best alternative was.

  7. CaptainRisu
    CaptainRisu On April 9, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    I am also curious about the information in regards to feeding your rabbits seeds. I’ve always been under the impression that seeds were bad for digestion, which is why it’s recommended to feed pellets without seed or nuts. Curious to learn more!

    • Bunny Approved
      Bunny Approved On April 9, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Seeds are high in calories and fat and should definitely not be a part of the every-day diet! However, rabbits in the wild eat seeds every now and then and so do our house rabbits – check their hay for the flower heads with seeds! Good quality hay, especially first-cutting, usually has some in there. They help keep the bunnies healthy. I am not saying offer tons of seeds every day, but if you offer a couple of natural sunflower seeds or a sprinkle of fennel seeds a week or less, that’s okay. Hope that makes sense. :)

      • CaptainRisu
        CaptainRisu On June 12, 2015 at 6:34 pm

        It does, thank you!

  8. Lauren
    Lauren On November 19, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Do you have any tips for bunny “meal planning”? As in, what nutrients are in what foods and what nutrients are needed by bunnies so that we can choose an appropriate variety/combination of veggies? I don’t think we will be able to do as wide a variety as you have, so when we’re picking our greens we want to make sure we get a good variety that meets our bunny’s needs.

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