Rabbits are incredibly interesting and smart creatures that are capable of giving their owners a huge amount of love. This ability to give love is greatly affected by their diet which determines how healthy they are. So, in order to have a healthy and happy rabbit, you should make sure that they’re eating the best rabbit food available that fulfills their dietary needs.
It’s important that you find a food that has high protein and fiber content that helps your rabbit gain healthy muscle mass. Additionally, a good amount of Omegas 3s and antioxidants keep a rabbit’s coat healthy, brain high-functioning, heart strong, and vision clear.
There are several things to consider when picking the best rabbit food, and it’s a very important decision to make. Because of this, we’ve created a list of the best food available as well as a guide to make sure you’re informed about what should be fueling your bunny.
Oxbow Essentials Adult Rabbit Food
Putting a large focus on timothy hay, this food has a great natural taste for rabbits and is nutritionally complete and healthy.
Sherwood Pet Health Rabbit Food
Very few ingredients make up this food, but those ingredients are high-quality and promote healthy coats and waste.
Tropical Carnival Gourmet Rabbit Food
A delicious mixed food that is made with a variety of high-quality ingredients with a solid nutritional balance.
Oxbow Garden Select Fortified Rabbit Food
Taking a natural approach, the first 3 ingredients of this food are different kinds of hay, and it’s overall natural and non-GMO.
Vitakraft VitaSmart Rabbit Food
Provides rabbits with plenty of energy while keeping their weight in check with natural ingredients and omega and fatty acids.
What Do Rabbits Eat In The Wild?
In order to make the best decision for what food your rabbit should be eating while in your care, it’s important to first learn what rabbits eat in the wild.
While your rabbit may live indoors with a plush lifestyle, their biological needs must still be met. Rabbits have been eating the same things for thousands of years, so their bodies are fine-tuned for that diet and require nutrients similar to that natural diet.
Rabbits are herbivores, meaning that they only eat plant matter. This makes their diet a lot more simple than if they were omnivores. According to PETA, Rabbits eat weeds, grasses, clovers, wildflowers, and vegetable plants during the warmer months. Colder months force a diet of twigs, buds, bark, conifer needs, and any remaining plants.
One thing to note is that rabbits don’t necessarily have a meal time in the wild — they just eat! Therefore, it’s important that you provide your rabbits with a constant source of food so that they can fulfill their need to constantly chew. The section below goes into a bit more detail about this trait.
Hay And Its Importance In Rabbits’ Diets
As stated above, rabbits need to chew on stuff throughout the day, from morning to night! Hay, grass, or a mixture of both make up this “chewing material” for rabbits, and it needs to make up the main part of their diet.
This constant chewing on hay is necessary for rabbits to control their teeth growth and to also manage their fine-tuned digestive system.
While the foods listed above and below are excellent nutrition-wise and keep your rabbit healthy, they are in no way a replacement for hay. In fact, rabbits’ diets should be made up of about 80% hay and grass. Therefore, it’s essential that you take into account your rabbit’s hay consumption and then fill out the rest of their diet with rabbit pellets or mixed food.
Rabbits will fill themselves up on pellets if you keep a healthy supply of it, so make sure that hay is the most prominent food being provided for your rabbit.
How To Properly Feed Your Rabbit
There are a few things that you’ll want to consider while feeding your rabbits to make sure that their diets are complete. To begin with, I’ll build on what I was talking about earlier — hay and it’s importance for rabbits. You’ll want to supply your rabbit with a constant supply of hay to constantly be chewing on, and supplement the rest of their diet with some greens and one of the rabbit foods from this guide.
What about portion sizes? How much should your rabbit be eating? Well… specific guidelines are few and far between. Not too much research has been done on this, so there aren’t specific numbers, meaning that it helps to know your rabbit. In general, rabbits don’t need a lot of energy as they’re fairly inactive creatures.
Therefore, rabbits can be subject to obesity if they’re overfed. This means that you should keep an eye on your bunny and if you ever see them gaining weight, cut back on their portion sizes.
When introducing your rabbit to new food, it’s important to make the process slow and gradual to avoid distress. The first time that you feed your rabbit a new food, mix it into their old food with the new making up only about 10% of the total food. Over the next week or two, slowly increase the percentage of new food as you see fit. Dietary changes that are too fast can cause looser bowel movements due to rabbits’ sensitive digestive systems.
Supplementing your rabbit’s diet is important, too. On top of the hay, grass, and rabbit pellets, giving your rabbit a few healthy greens is a great little treat for them. Fruits and vegetables are generally too high in sugar to be healthy for rabbits, so it’s generally a good idea to avoid them. Dark lettuce is a great choice — lettuce that is lower in water content and higher in nutrients. Too much lettuce can cause intestinal issues, though.
What Defines The Best Rabbit Food?
Hopefully it’s been made clear that rabbits need a specific diet in order for them to be happy and healthy. The best rabbit food meets a rabbit’s specific dietary requirements and helps to round out their nutrition. Below are some of the main characteristics of healthy rabbit food:
- Nutrition – The nutritional content of a rabbit food is the most important aspect to consider. Young rabbits require higher protein and more nutrients in general than an adult rabbit, but adult rabbits need about 14-16% protein, around 25% fiber, and very low fat, preferably 5% or under. Look for pellets that are packed with natural ingredients and have a huge focus on grass and hay. This keeps the food natural and in-line with a rabbit’s needs.
- Brand – While brand may seem unimportant, when it comes to rabbit food, it’s something that could be considered. Cheaper food made by an unknown brand is usually cheaper because of its lack of quality ingredients and presence of fillers, which may fill your rabbit but cause malnutrition. Reputable brands have more to lose if their food has bad results, so it’s almost always a better investment to get your rabbit food from established brands.
- Flavor – Rabbits actually have a good amount of taste buds, meaning that they can discern sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Therefore, you would want to read reviews from owners on how their rabbits responded to the food. Additionally, start with small quantities of the food to make sure that your rabbit likes it.
- Form – Flavor isn’t the only “small” detail that should be considered. The form of a rabbit’s food is important, too. Rabbits need hard food to keep their constantly growing teeth the right length and their jaws healthy. Food that’s too soft won’t work these areas as needed, and rabbits will need supplemental things to chew.
- Life stage – The age of your rabbit is something else that influences what they should eat. Growing rabbits require more protein and more food in general since they’re still growing. Adult rabbits spend a lot less energy to live, so they require less protein in their food.
What Is The Best Rabbit Food?
We’ve taken a look at many different rabbit foods, taking into account things such as the quality of ingredients, the price per pound, and the physical health and enthusiasm of the rabbits that eat each food. Through this, we’ve found the 5 best rabbit foods for you to feed your bunny.
Remember, every rabbit is different. So while there is a very good chance that your rabbit would respond well to the foods listed below, they may also react negatively to it.
#1 – Oxbow Essentials Adult Rabbit Food
Oxbow is one of the leading brands in the small animal food space, and their Essentials Adult Rabbit Food lives up to the high standards they’ve set. This food is a great example of a diet supplementation that meets the specific needs of a rabbit. Boasting a protein percentage of 14%, fiber percentage of 25%, and fat percentage of 2%, this food is perfectly in line with a rabbit’s needs. As this food is timothy hay-based, it’s got a great natural taste that rabbits love. Appropriate levels of carbohydrates and fats ensure that your rabbit is kept healthy with a great amount of energy.
The overwhelming majority of rabbit owners that feed their bunnies this food are pleased with their choice. when introduced properly, most rabbits have absolutely no problem with the food and gladly eat it all. It also brings some added benefits such as a healthier coat, more energy, and really promotes weight loss with its 2% fat content.
A couple of owners have had some trouble introducing their rabbits to this food, but a good majority of them didn’t slowly wean their rabbits onto it. Additionally, this food is generally pricier than other brands, but this is something that most owners agree is worth it.
- Great nutritional content
- Timothy hay-based pellets
- Great taste
- Simple natural ingredients
- Generally pricier
#2 – Sherwood Pet Health Rabbit Food
Although Oxbow is a very established and popular company, Sherwood Pet Health is right up there with them. This adult rabbit food is also hay-based, free from grain and soy while containing a healthy 24% fiber. The ingredients used result in a low-calorie, healthy food that can be used for daily feeding without much worry of weight gain. It’s clear that a good amount of research has gone into this food, as Sherwood Pet Health states that their food improves digestive, urinary, and overall health. Locally sourced, minimal ingredients makes this a thoroughly healthy food that’s enjoyed by lots of rabbits around the world.
Once again, most rabbit owners are pleased with this food. Even the pickiest rabbits seem to love this food, from young to adult to even wild bunnies. Similar to the Oxbow, this food results in stronger and healthier coats while keeping waste very strong and healthy as well. Weight control is also very easy due to the lack of filler in the simple ingredients.
Some rabbits also refuse to eat this food, although this is largely due to the fact that the owners didn’t introduce it properly. The one downside to this food is the higher concentration of alfalfa hay, which can cause some issues if it’s eaten too much. However, this food is only supposed to be a supplement to a rabbit’s diet of hay, so the concentration shouldn’t be an issue.
- Very few ingredients
- Promotes healthy coats and waste
- Great, transparent company
- High concentration of alfalfa
#3 – Tropical Carnival Gourmet Rabbit Food
Mixed foods are another great choice for an addition to a rabbit’s diet. However, with mixed diets you need to be a bit more cautious with portion sizes as these contain fruits and vegetables which are high in sugar. One can absolutely provide their rabbits with all of the nutrients that they need when feeding this properly, though! This Topical Carnival food is a delicious, nutritionally-complete food mixed food. In addition to some nutrient-dense ingredients, this food has a good amount of omega fatty acids to promote the digestion and processing of those ingredients. Boasting over 30 ingredients, this food can easily give your rabbit all of the complex carbs, vitamins, and minerals that it needs to be healthy.
A huge majority of owners say that their rabbits love this food. The large amounts of tasty ingredients are very appealing to rabbits and quickly get eaten up. When used as a supplement to a healthy amount of hay, owners aren’t worried at all that their rabbits are getting a proper and complete diet.
One issue with this food is that a lot of rabbits don’t eat the pellets due to the fact that they’re given the option of all of the other ingredients. As long as as adequate amount of hay is fed to them, this shouldn’t be a bad problem, but it’s something that a few owners note. If your rabbit absolutely will not touch the pellets in this mix, it may be a better choice to get an only-pellet food and supplement with a piece of fruit or vegetable as a snack.
- Plenty of quality ingredients
- Great nutritional content
- Delicious for most rabbits
- Added pellets aren’t very appealing to rabbits
#4 – Oxbow Garden Select Fortified Rabbit Food
Oxbow is such a good brand, we had to put them in this list twice! This Garden Select Fortified food takes a bit of a different approach than the Essentials food, but not too different. Rabbits already eat a diet of “garden” ingredients, and the Essentials food easily fits in that category too. However, this food is a bit more natural. The primary ingredients are timothy, oat, and orchard grass hay, and it also lacks molasses. This is very in-line with a natural rabbit diet. Even though it’s all natural and non-GMO, it’s still a food that is nutritionally complete and supports a healthy variety in a rabbit’s diet.
Rabbit owners are about as pleased with this food as the other Oxbow food. Owners themselves are very happy with the contents of this food, as the list of healthy and natural ingredients is great to see. Most rabbits also have a very easy time eating this food up, showing that it’s still tasty despite the fact that it’s healthier.
While most rabbits eat this food without a problem, it’s not the most tasty food available on the market. Therefore, it can be a little difficult to get some rabbits to eat it. The protein level is also a bit low at 12%, so that is something that should be considered and compensated for.
- All-natural ingredients
- First 3 ingredients are all hay
- Mimics foods eaten by rabbits in the wild
- Slightly low protein level
- Not the most delicious food
#5 – Vitakraft VitaSmart Rabbit Food
Vitakraft is another strong manufacturer of small pet food, and this VitaSmart Rabbit Food is on par with their other creations. Rich in timothy hay as well as fatty and omega acids, it’s excellent for digestion and overall health of a rabbit. Additionally, a 15% protein concentration with 2.5% fat and 20% fiber helps to give rabbits plenty of energy while keeping their weight in check when fed properly. Although it is a mixed food, it still comes with a healthy amount of timothy hay to give your rabbit the fiber that it needs.
Owners that use this food as a supplement for their rabbits are very pleased with it, saying that their rabbits love it! The hay pellets combined with stray pieces of hay and freeze dried vegetables make for a great addition to a rabbit’s diet. For picky rabbits, this is one of the most popular foods for them.
A couple of owners have states that the food comes with a good amount of filler, which is understandable with the large amount of ingredients. This results in the food not being the healthiest and portions should probably be smaller than other pellet foods. Additionally, Vitakraft has changed the ingredients a couple of times. While the changes are minor, they didn’t notify owners and this resulted in some digestion problems in rabbits that weren’t weaned onto the new formula.
- Great for picky eaters
- Healthy amount of hay
- Rich in omega and fatty acids
- Some filler ingredients
- Formula is changed sometimes
All of the foods that we have reviewed are more than suitable for rabbits and contain all of the essential nutrients that they need to live a happy and healthy life. When supplemented with a large amount of quality hay, these foods act as a great addition to a rabbit’s diet and will keep them nice and healthy.
After analyzing all of the rabbit food available on the market, we’ve determined that the best rabbit food is Oxbow Essentials Adult Rabbit Food.
Oxbow has been an excellent manufacturer of small pet food for years and years, and it really shows in this food. The benefits that this food brings rabbits, along with its lack of apparent flaws and big focus on fulfilling the specific requirements of a rabbit’s diet, makes it a very safe choice as a pellet food for your bunny.