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Bunny Safe Foods

Rabbits in the wild all over the world successfully consume a wide variety of plant material.
Various types of dry and fresh grasses and plants with leaves comprise the largest portion of
the wild rabbit diet. Rabbits will also eat bark on trees, tender twigs and sprouts, fruits, seeds,
and other nutritious foods in small amounts. 
The majority of a rabbit's diet should be composed of grass hay. Grass hay is rich in vitamins A and D as well as calcium, protein, and other nutrients. Eating hay promotes healthy teeth and gastrointestinal tracts and should be available to your rabbit at all times. Varying the type of grass hay or mixing hays is a great idea (such as timothy, orchard, oat hay, brome, etc). Avoid the use of alfalfa hay as the primary source of hay due to the fact it is very high in calories and protein. Alfalfa is not a grass, but rather a legume (in the pea and bean family). Fresh foods are also an important part of your rabbit’s diet and they provide additional nutrients as well as different textures and tastes, which are enriching for your friend as well. Fresh foods also provide more moisture in the diet, which is good for kidney and bladder function. The bulk of fresh foods should be made up of leafy greens (about 75% of the fresh part of the diet). 
An approximate amount to feed would be around 1 cup of greens for 2 lbs of rabbit body weight once a day or divided into multiple feedings a day. Many plants contain a naturally occurring chemical called alkaloids, which are mild toxins that protect plants in the wild. The one most talked about with rabbits is oxalic acid and it is completely harmless to animals or humans when consumed in small amounts. The 2/6 amount of oxalic acid within each plant can vary significantly due to several factors including the composition of the soil the plant
grew in, the time of year, and the age of the plant. Most of the fresh vegetables we feed
rabbits have a low to zero level of oxalic acid but a few, most notably parsley, mustard
greens, and spinach have relatively high levels. The toxicity of oxalic acid comes with
feeding large quantities of foods high in this chemical and can result in tingling of the skin,
and the mouth and damage to the kidneys over time. These foods are nutritious and do not need to be excluded from the diet if you feed them appropriately. 
Some folks are concerned that your rabbits need to acquire a significant amount of vitamin A
from greens. As mentioned above, hay is rich in vitamin A, so it is unnecessary to be
concerned about the specific vitamin A content of the greens. Just for information though,
kale is extremely rich in vitamin A as well as most of the leaf lettuces. 
Foods that are notorious for causing rabbit GI problems when fed improperly are grains of any kind and legumes (beans, peas, etc). Even starchy root vegetables and fruits if fed to excess with their high load of sugars and starch could be a problem and should only be fed as a very small part of the diet.

If collecting wild foods such as dandelion greens, make sure they are from a pesticide-free  area.


These foods should make up about 75% of the fresh portion of your rabbit’s diet (about 1 packed cup per 2 lbs of body weight per day).

Leafy Greens I (need to be rotated due to oxalic acid content and only 1 out of three varieties of greens a day should be from this list)

  • Parsley

  • Spinach

  • Mustard greens

  • Beet greens

  • Swiss chard

  • Radish tops

  • Sprouts (from 1 to 6 days after sprouting, sprouts have higher levels of alkaloids)

  • Dodgy the bunny, photo by Tammy Brown

  • Leafy Greens II (low in oxalic acid)

  • Arugula

  • Carrot tops

  • Cucumber leaves

  • Endive

  • Ecarole

  • Frisee Lettuce

  • Kale (all types)

  • Mache

  • Red or green lettuce

  • Romaine lettuce

  • Spring greens

  • Turnip greens

  • Dandelion greens

  • Mint (any variety)

  • Basil (any variety)

  • Watercress

  • Wheatgrass

  • Chicory

  • Raspberry leaves

  • Cilantro

  • Radicchio

  • Bok Choy

  • Fennel (the leafy tops as well as the base)

  • Borage leaves

  • Dill leaves

  • Yu choy


These should be no more than about 15 % of the diet (About 1 tablespoon per 2 lbs of body weight per day).

  • Carrots

  • Broccoli (leaves and stems)

  • Edible flowers (roses, nasturtiums, pansies, hibiscus)

  • Celery

  • Bell peppers (any color)

  • Chinese pea pods (the flat kind without large peas)

  • Brussel sprouts

  • Cabbage (any type)

  • Broccolini

  • Summer squash

  • Zucchini squash


These should be no more than 10% of the diet (about 1 teaspoon per 2 lbs of body weight
per day). NOTE: unless otherwise stated it is more nutritious to leave the skin on the fruit
(particularly if organic), just wash thoroughly. IF you are in doubt about the source of the fruit
and you are concerned about chemicals in the skin, then remove it.

  • Apple (any variety, without stem and seeds)

  • Cherries (any variety, without the pits)

  • Pear

  • Peach

  • Plum (without the pits)

  • Kiwi

  • Papaya

  • Mango

  • Berries (any type)

  • Berries (uncooked)

  • Pineapple (remove skin)

  • Banana (remove peel; no more than about 2 1/8 inch slices a day for a 5 lb rabbit…they LOVE this!)

  • Melons (any – can include peel and seeds)

  • Star Fruit

  • Apricot

  • Currants

  • Nectarine

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