Choosing the best food for your rabbits can be overwhelming. As pet owners, we all want to provide them with the very best, but the abundance of options on the market can make it difficult to know what to choose. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the best rabbit food options currently available, including pellets and hay.
For rabbits, the ideal pellets are those that have hay as the first ingredient and look very plain and boring. It’s best to steer clear of pellets with added dyes, fruit bits, or seeds as these are signs of unhealthy rabbit food. Opt for pellets that are free from added sugars, chemicals, and artificial ingredients.
Keep reading to find out what makes rabbit food (un)healthy as we look into some of the best rabbit food picks available in pet stores.
How to Choose a High-Quality Rabbit Pellet
Together with daily servings of fresh vegetables and unlimited hay, pellets help provide your rabbits with their daily nutritional requirements. According to most veterinarians, it is recommended to feed rabbits ¼ cup of pellets per 6 lbs. of their body weight.
Given the multitude of pellet food brands in pet stores, selecting the right one can be a challenge. These tips should help you choose the best pellets for your rabbit:
- Avoid muesli-style pellets that contain numerous colorful pieces, fruit bits, corn, nuts, or seeds. That type of food is linked to dental and digestive problems in rabbits.
- Steer clear of extremely cheap brands, as they tend to be packed with fillers and lack essential nutrients.
- Hay or grass should be listed first on the ingredients list.
- Choose a healthy base hay variety. Timothy, Orchard, and Oat hay are suitable for adult rabbits, while Alfalfa hay is specifically recommended for babies, pregnant or nursing rabbits due to higher calcium content.
- Filler ingredients such as dried beet pulp and molasses/sucrose are best to be avoided. The same goes for chemical preservatives and artificial additives.
- Look at the nutritional analysis on the food packaging to make sure it has the proper amount of fiber, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals (more on that below).
Nutritional Analysis of High-Quality Rabbit Food
Healthy adult rabbit pellets contain:
- Fiber – 18% or more
- Protein –12-14% for adult rabbits
- Fat – should be in the range of 2.4-5%
- Calcium – 0.5-1.0%
- Phosphorus – 0.4-0.8%
- Calcium to phosphorus ratio – 1.5-2:1 calcium to phosphorus
- Vitamin D – 800-1200 IU/kg
- Vitamin E – 50 IU/kg
- Vitamin A – 10,000 IU/kg
Pregnant or lactating does and young rabbits benefit from more protein in their diet to support their growth, pregnancy and milk production.
Healthy rabbit pellets for young, pregnant, or lactating rabbits contain:
- Fiber: 18% or more
- 15-16% young rabbits
- 16-20% for pregnant does
- 18-21% for lactating does
- Fat: 3-6% for pregnant or lactating does
- Vitamin A:
- 6,000 IU/kg for growing rabbits
- 10,000 IU/kg for breeding does
- Vitamin D: 600-1000 IU/kg for growing or breeding rabbits
Now let’s review different brands, their nutritional analysis, and list of ingredients to find some of the best rabbit food options currently available in pet stores!
Best Rabbit Food (Pellet) Brands
Among the wide array of rabbit foods available, we’ve selected the options with the best nutritional values. They either fall within the ideal ranges or come remarkably close to meeting them.
Highest Quality Adult Rabbit Pellets
|Rabbit Food||Fiber||Protein||Fat||Calcium||Phosphorus||C:P Ratio||Vit|
|Supreme Selective Naturals Grain Free Rabbit Food||22%||14%||4%||0.60%||0.40%||1.5:1||20000||2000||–|
|Science Selective House Rabbit||22%||14%||4%||0.60%||0.40%||1.5:1||20000||2000||–|
|Sherwood Free Choice Timothy Pellet||28-33%||11%||4%||0.4-0.9%||0.35%||1.1:1 / 2.8:1||–||–||–|
|Oxbow Garden Select||22-26%||12%||2.50%||0.35-0.75%||0.25%||1.4:1 / 3:1||10000||900||190|
|Small Pet Select Rabbit Food||25-29%||14%||2%||0.4-0.6%||0.25||1.6:1 / 2.4:1||8650||450||86|
|Versele-Laga Cuni Adult Rabbit Food (UK)||20%||14%||3%||0.80%||0.60%||1.3:1||10000||1200||80|
|Burgess Excel Adult Rabbit Nuggets with Mint (UK)||21%||12%||3%||0.80%||0.50%||1.6:1||25000||2000||155|
|Burgess Excel Adult Rabbit Nuggets with Oregano (UK)||19%||13%||4%||0.80%||0.50%||1.6:1||25000||2000||155|
Supreme Selective Naturals Grain Free Rabbit Food
Supreme Science Selective rabbit food stands out for its excellent nutritional value, as it provides the right balance of fiber, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. With hay as the primary ingredient and a grain-free formula, it offers a healthy and nourishing option for rabbits.
While grains are a good source of starch, if rabbits consume too much grain in their diet, it can overload their hindgut with starch and lead to an inflammation of the small intestine.
Supreme Science Selective House Rabbit
Science Selective House Rabbit food, another brand by Supreme, offers a similar quality food as their Naturals line with one key difference—it includes grains. As mentioned, grains are not unhealthy for rabbits and provide rabbits with energy and phosphorus, but too much of it can lead to GI issues.
Sherwood Forest Adult Rabbit Food
Sherwood is another highly recommended food among rabbit owners. It offers adequate fat and fiber levels, though the protein content is slightly lower. Unfortunately, specific vitamin D, E, and A values are not disclosed.
Oxbow Garden Select
Oxbow Garden Select is a popular and respected brand known for its high-quality rabbit food. A team of dedicated exotic pet veterinarians and nutritionists formulates their products. While the calcium and phosphorus ratio may not be perfect, it comes close to meeting ideal nutritional requirements.
Small Pet Select Rabbit Food
Small Pet Select is a reliable brand for rabbit food, although it may not be as popular as other brands. Their food’s analytical constituents closely align with ideal standards, albeit with a slightly lower fat content.
Versele-Laga Cuni Adult Rabbit Food
Versele-Laga offers high-quality rabbit food exclusively available in the UK and other parts of Europe.
Burgess Excel Adult Rabbit Nuggets with Mint/Oregano
Sold on: (Amazon.co.uk) — Europe only
Both of these foods by Burgess have suitable nutritional values. Burgess is a UK brand and their products are available in many parts of Europe.
Highest Quality Young Rabbit Pellets
|Rabbit Food||Fiber||Protein||Fat||Calcium||Phosphorus||C:P Ratio||Vit D||VIt E||Vit A|
|Supreme Selective Junior Rabbit Food||19%||17%||4%||0.80%||0.50%||1.6:1||15000||1500|
|Oxbow Essentials Young Rabbit Food||22-25%||15%||2.50%||0.6-1.1%||0.25||1.4:1 / 4.4:1||19000||900||190|
Young rabbits under 5 months should eat pellets with a higher protein content that supports their growth. Good options that meet these requirements are Supreme Selective Junior Rabbit Food and Oxbow Essentials Young Rabbit Food.
How to Choose High-Quality Hay
When it comes to selecting hay for your rabbits, there are several types available. Timothy hay, orchard grass, and oat hay are all safe options for your buns. Timothy hay is the most popular choice among rabbit owners and is readily available.
It’s important to note that alfalfa hay is not suitable for adult rabbits. It is high in calcium and should only be fed to baby rabbits, pregnant rabbits, or nursing mothers.
Now, let’s discuss what factors to consider when choosing the best hay for your rabbits:
- Freshness: The hay should look fresh and not overly brown.
- Dust-free: Rabbits have sensitive respiratory systems, so opt for hay that is free from dust. Dusty hay can lead to respiratory infections and costly vet expenses.
- Long strands: Rabbits prefer long strands of hay, which are beneficial for their teeth. Additionally, hay with longer strands tends to be less dusty.
You can make your bun’s feeding time even more rewarding by sprinkling in some forage for them to nuzzle through. Put some hay inside a toilet paper roll for extra enrichment or scatter it throughout their enclosure for them to find.
Remember that your rabbit should have easy access to unlimited fresh hay at all times of day and night.
Best Hay Brands for Rabbits
Here are some reliable hay brands for rabbits:
While occasional bad batches can happen with any brand, the ones mentioned above are generally known for providing fresh, dust-free hay.
If you’re looking to save money on hay, you can also check the quality at your local farm store or purchase directly from a nearby farm.
Choosing the best rabbit food requires careful consideration of your pet’s nutritional needs. Opt for high-quality pellets that are made from safe hay (such as Timothy for adult buns or alfalfa for babies) and don’t contain added sugars, chemicals, or artificial ingredients. Steer clear of muesli-style food and extremely cheap brands, as they often lack essential nutrients and may be packed with unhealthy fillers.
When selecting rabbit pellets, make sure that hay or grass is listed as the first ingredient and check the nutritional analysis on the packaging to ensure proper amounts of fiber, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
Remember that the ideal pellet composition varies for adult rabbits, pregnant or lactating does, and young rabbits.
- Nutrition for rabbits – WabbitWiki
- Comparison of Rabbit Dry Foods – The Rabbit House
- Nutritional Requirements for Rabbits – Amy E. Halls, M.Sc.
- The Requirements of Protein and Amino Acids in Rabbit Nutrition and Production
- Rabbit Research Requires Muesli Rethink