With their distinctive mane of fluffy fur, little Lionhead rabbits are unmistakable. But do you know what should be on your?
Your Lionhead rabbit’s diet should include tasty, wholesome food to keep them happy and healthy – and this means understanding a little about bunny nutrition.
The wild bunny diet
Wild bunnies, foraging in meadows, like to munch on weeds, grasses and wildflowers, along with flower and vegetable plants. These foraged foods are naturally high in fibre, which keeps a rabbit’s delicate digestive system functioning properly, and also helps to wear down their continuously growing teeth.
When choosing lionhead rabbit food, it’s best to pick natural foods that mimic what wild bunnies eat, as this is key to health and vitality.
Burgess in-house vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes MVB MRCVS, who oversees recipe development and product production, advises:
“Our pet bunnies, who enjoy roaming our homes and gardens, benefit from eating a diet which is similar to that of their wild cousins.”
So, when it comes to planning a suitable lionhead bunny diet, you should choose natural, rabbit-safe foods that are high in fibre for healthy digestion, have no artificial colours or flavours, and contain a carefully formulated balance of nutrients. Our mint Lionhead rabbit food is a great example.
LION HEAD RABBIT PROFILE
Size: Extra small, Lionhead bunnies weigh about 1.36kg (3lb)
Coat: Lionhead Rabbits have soft, woolly medium-length fur that requires regular grooming. These manes are known as either ‘double’ or ‘single’. In double-mane Lionheads, the fur is prominent around most of the body, especially the head and hindquarters, while single-maned Lionheads have a mane around the head and ears that diminishes as they age.
Life span: 7-9 years
Temperament: Lionheads are docile, intelligent rabbits that love attention. However, as they can be unpredictable when frightened or stressed, experts say they aren’t suitable for families with small children.
Q: What do Lionhead rabbits eat?
A: When planning a Lionhead bunny diet, you’ll need to include a carefully balanced mix of the following:
- 85% – 90% unlimited grazed grass (not grass cuttings) or high-quality feeding hay (not bedding hay, which may have poor nutritional value). As a guide, provide each rabbit with at least their own body size in feeding hay every day.
- A small handful of rabbit-safe leafy greens, vegetables and herbs are a good addition to your Lionhead rabbit food list.
- Pelleted Junior & Dwarf rabbit food – around one egg cup a day per rabbit. Rabbit nuggets help ensure your buns get all the vital vitamins and minerals they need in just the right amount.
- Constant access to fresh water – provide a bottle and a bowl of fresh water daily – lapping from a bowl is more natural to rabbits, but bowls may be knocked over, so a bottle is a good backup.
DID YOU KNOW?
Although rabbit nuggets only make up 5% of your Lionhead rabbits’ diet, they play a vital role in making sure your bunnies get all the vitamins and minerals they need, such as:
- Vitamins A and C to support the immune system
- Vitamin D3 to support bone and dental health
- Iron to support the blood
- Copper for nerve function
- Zinc for healthy skin and coat
Q: What fresh vegetables and herbs are safe for your Lionhead rabbit food list?
A: As rabbits enjoy munching on leafy greens – a handful per day, per bunny – they’ll appreciate a selection of these rabbit-safe vegetables and herbs:
- Carrot tops
- Cauliflower leaves
- Mange tout
- Romaine lettuce
- Leaves from dandelions, hazel, willow or apple trees
Rabbits don’t naturally eat root vegetables, so carrots are generally best avoided in your Lionhead rabbit’s diet. Rabbit Welfare, a charitable organisation that works to ensure all pet rabbits in the UK are cared for with understanding, insight and kindness, has a comprehensive list of recommended vegetables and herbs. This is a good source of information when working out what Lionhead rabbits eat.
DID YOU KNOW?
Knowing what to feed your Lionhead rabbit is important – and knowing how to feed them is equally key, as buns love to snuffle around for titbits. So, rather than just putting their nuggets in a bowl, place some around their enclosure, in their tunnels, in paper bags, cardboard loo rolls or under some hay.
This might include British Meadow Feeding Hay (which comes in a recyclable cardboard box), sweet-smelling Hay with Hedgerow Herbs (rated five stars by customers) or top-quality Timothy hay, to encourage their natural urge to go foraging.
Add to the fun by mixing in some Luscious Leaves (containing dandelion leaves, nettle leaves, red clover and ribwort) or Wildflower Forage (made with a delectable blend of rose, hibiscus, marigold and cornflower).
Q: Should a Lionhead rabbit’s diet include fruit?
A: While rabbits can enjoy some fruit as part of their diet, only give them a little bit such as a couple of strawberries or a slice of apple occasionally. This is because rabbits don’t naturally eat fruit, which is generally high in sugar, and eating too much can lead to tubby bunnies.
Safe fruits that can be included in your rabbits‘ diet include:
- Apples – not the pips, they’re poisonous
- Kiwi fruit
Try these fun games to play to liven up your Lionhead rabbit’s diet.
Q: What treats can Lionhead rabbits eat?
A: All pets enjoy a treat and Lionhead rabbits are no exception! However, some treats that are marketed for rabbits – such as milk-based yoghurt drops or sticks of sweetened cereals – can contribute to obesity and tooth decay.
A much better choice is Nature Snacks. These healthy rabbit treats are great for training and hand feeding, helping you to build your bond with your bunny chums. What bun could resist a Forage & Feast hay bar topped with Cornflower, Marigold or Rose? Or how about some irresistible Nature Snacks such as Fruity Feasts with banana and blueberry, Herby Hearts with mixed herbs and apple, or Meadow Munchies with dandelion and chamomile?
Help your bunnies stay in great shape with these exercises for rabbits.
Q: What do you not feed your Lionhead rabbit?
A: There are a few items that are classed as unsafe food for rabbits and therefore should be avoided altogether. These include:
- Rabbit muesli: Two years of research at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, linked muesli-style foods to life-threatening dental and digestive problems in rabbits.
- Lettuce: Some types of lettuce, such as iceberg, contain lactucarium, which can be harmful to rabbits in large quantities. Light-coloured lettuce varieties are high in water, have very little nutritional value and will just give your rabbits the runs.
- Avocado: It’s very fatty and should never be included in your Lionhead rabbits’ diet.
- Chard: It’s a leafy green but not one that rabbits can tolerate, causing colic and bloating.
- Grass cuttings: Rabbits should be given unlimited access to steadily graze on fresh grass, just as they would in the wild, but a pile of grass cuttings can be very harmful to them.
- Rhubarb: This common garden plant can be poisonous to animals if eaten raw.
- Bread, pasta and crackers: High-carb foods can cause series stomach issues.
- Nuts: All nuts are high in fat, not fibre, and will give your rabbits extremely uncomfortable indigestion. These should not be on your Lionhead rabbit food list.
If you’re not sure whether something’s safe for your rabbits to eat, it’s best avoided.
Get all the essential info about looking after happy, healthy rabbits with this FREE Guide to Rabbit Care.
Q: Why should I choose Burgess Excel rabbit food for my Lionhead rabbit’s diet?
A: The Burgess Excel rabbit range is ideal for a Lionhead rabbit’s diet and is made at our own factory in Yorkshire, using only the best ingredients and UK-grown grass. Burgess Pet Care produces high-quality, award-winning pet foods and has launched many innovations. These include the UK’s first single component nugget for rabbits to prevent selective feeding, and the world’s first food specifically formulated for indoor rabbits.
We have a whole host of five star reviews – and past customers have told us the following:
“Rabbits love their food – that’s good enough for me!
“I ordered the Burgess Excel Junior & Dwarf Rabbit Nuggets with Mint and they adore this food, by far their favourite of all the many brands I tried. They get extremely happy when they know it’s feeding time!”
“My rabbits get so excited when I’m giving them the feeding hay and it’s so beneficial for them.”
“My rabbit loves her fruity treats.”
“Definitely approved by our bunny, healthy and not full of hidden nasties such as sweeteners and chemicals, unlike some other products stocked by mainstream pet shops. Good price point too.”
View our range of hay, nuggets and healthy treats that your buns will love.
Because a rabbit’s digestive system is so delicate, moving them from one food to another has to be done very carefully, requiring a transition period of 14-28 days.
If you’re at all unsure about what to feed Lionhead bunnies or have any concerns about specific nutritional requirements, ask your local veterinary practice for advice. You can use our online contact form to get in touch.
BEST FOR BUNNIES
Whether your rabbits live indoors or outdoors, the fundamentals of great rabbit housing are the same. Essentially, a rabbit hutch is not enough. Your rabbits need more space with constant access to their exercise area.
Can you keep your rabbits indoors? Your rabbit questions answered…
CARE MORE: Find lots of useful advice on caring for your rabbits from Burgess, the pet experts. Training, nutrition, grooming and general care are all here…
LET’S GET SOCIAL: Sign up to the Excel Bunny Base. It’s a safe Facebook community for rabbit guardians that are looking for advice and friendly discussions from like-minded owners – and there are lots of cute bunny photos and videos! Also, join us on Instagram.
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