Rabbits need extremely high levels of fibre in their diet. High fibre foods help to keep their gut healthy and fibrous grasses help to prevent their teeth from overgrowing. Our feeding your rabbit guide is here to help you keep happy, healthy rabbits!
The Excel Feeding Plan
Following our Excel feeding plan will ensure that your rabbits get the correct balance of fibre, vitamins and minerals. 85-90% of a rabbits’ diet should be high quality, dust extracted feeding hay or fresh grass. This should be supplemented with a small portion of Excel nuggets, the occasional Excel Nature Treat, a small handful of fresh greens and plenty of fresh water.
Rabbits are herbivores who live on a plant-based diet. However we like to call them ‘fibrevores’ as fibre is by far the most important part of their diet and is essential for their gut and dental health.
Types of fibre
Rabbits need to keep their digestive systems busy with a mix of two kinds of fibre moving through the gut at all times. These types of fibre are called digestible fibre and indigestible fibre. They get this fibre mainly from good quality hay, such as Burgess Excel Feeding Hay.
Rabbits can’t get enough nutrition from fibre when it passes through their gut the first time. So they excrete caecotrophs, soft, sticky-type droppings. They then eat these again to get the rest of their vital nutrition.
Burgess Excel Nuggets have been specifically formulated to ensure that your rabbits get all the vitamins and minerals they need when fed alongside feeding hay or fresh grass. Excel was developed with leading small animal vets and nutritionists.
Digestible fibre is moved up into an organ called the caecum – which is like a giant appendix.
Good bacteria in the caecum ferment the fibre, making it easy to digest. This emerges in the form of clumps of sticky droppings – we call these droppings caecotrophs. Rabbits then re-eat the caecotrophs directly from their bottom and the essential nutrients are then absorbed when the digestible fibre passes through for the second time.
Indigestible fibre is moved through their digestive system and excreted as separate, round, hard droppings. This type of fibre keeps the digestive system moving and your rabbits’ appetites stimulated.
If rabbits don’t get the right amounts of both digestible and indigestible fibre, it can rapidly lead to serious health problems. At Excel, we call the correct ratio of these two types of fibre ‘Beneficial Fibre’.
Give your rabbits the right amount of fibre in their diet by sticking to The Excel Feeding Plan. The Excel Feeding Plan was developed in conjunction with one of the world’s leading small-animal vets, to provide a perfect daily balance of fibre and nutrition.
Encourage your rabbits to eat more hay by putting it in toys such as willow balls or even a cardboard tube. They will love throwing them around!
When fed a muesli-style diet, rabbits will often selectively feed. Selective feeding is when rabbits pick out the high starch and sugary elements of their food and leave behind the high-fibre parts. This leads to the rabbits eating an unbalanced diet which can result in poor health. Research supported by Burgess showed that feeding rabbits a muesli style diet may increase the risk of several health problems. Following the Excel Feeding Plan of feeding hay, nuggets, fresh greens, a nature snack and fresh water can help ensure your rabbits are getting the best diet and prevent selective feeding.
Our rabbit food range
Burgess Excel Rabbit Nuggets are a delicious, complementary food. We have a range of nuggets for your rabbits throughout their life, from junior to mature.
In the wild, rabbits graze on grass, leafy shrubs and bark. This is a very high fibre diet, and your rabbits' diet should mimic what they would eat in the wild. This is why our Excel Rabbit Nuggets are rich in grass and fibre.
Good quality feeding hay or fresh grass should make up 85-90% of your rabbits' diet. Our Excel Feeding Hay is harvested straight from the field.
Burgess Excel Feeding Hays and Grasses are made from fresh Timothy hay, meadow hay and barn-dried grass. 100% natural, they're great sources of beneficial fibre to help maintain gut and dental health.
Natural snacks can be fed in small amounts by hand to help with bonding and training. You can also spread them around your rabbits' housing to help reduce boredom and keep your rabbits occupied by encouraging their natural foraging behaviour!
Transitioning to Excel nuggets
Transition your rabbits’ diet over a period of 14-28 days by gradually reducing the old food and replacing it with Excel.
Don’t forget the hay!
& ensure there is plenty of fresh water available.
Foods to avoid
Plants to avoid include:
This list includes common household foods that rabbits should avoid but is by no means exhaustive. If your rabbit has consumed any of these items then please seek veterinary advice.
Do you need more advice?
To help you find the right food for your rabbits, have a look at our product range.
Alternatively you can call our free consumer care line on +44 1405 862241 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Our dedicated team of experts will help you make the right choice.
If you should have any concerns about the health of your rabbit, always consult a vet.
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