FOOD

Start with vegetables

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Julie Lambert, Paris, France

November 11, 2020

4

Rabbits are herbivorous animals and therefore eat vegetables and fruit in their natural state. Therefore, vegetables are essential for the growth and development of your domestic rabbit. However, a pet rabbit that is not used to vegetables cannot switch from a pellet diet to greenery instantly. It is necessary to follow a few rules of caution and common sense when introducing vegetables.

01 – A gradual introduction

Vegetables are mostly water-rich foods and can therefore have an impact on your rabbit’s transit. Vegetables can cause significant digestive problems. To avoid this, it is imperative to introduce vegetables very gradually into your rabbit’s diet. For example, start with a small slice of carrot or a sprig of aromatic grass on the first evening and then on the second evening introduce two slices or sprigs and so on for several days to weeks.
In case of problems such as diarrhoea, it is imperative to stop the introduction until the transit is back to normal and start the introduction from scratch with another feed containing even less water. Dandelion roots are a perfect example.

02 – Vegetables to avoid

As explained above, the more water a vegetable has, the more difficult it is for a rabbit to digest. Vegetables such as chard, spinach, turnips, beetroot are so-called “difficult” vegetables to introduce. Therefore, prefer vegetables such as endives, celery, aromatic herbs or carrot tops. If your rabbit has a very fragile digestive system or is poorly weaned, be even more careful and favour roots.

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A farandole of carrot tops.

Photographed by Julie Lambert.

03 – Summary of rules

  • Rule n°1: Introduce only one new vegetable at a time and always in small quantities.
  • Rule n°2 : Introduce only one new vegetable per day.
  • Rule n°3: Monitor the condition of your rabbit and its stools.
  • Rule n°4: Get your rabbit used to eating its hay before introducing the vegetables.

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