Components of a Balanced Diet
A good diet needs to contain the right balance of foods to keep the digestive process running correctly and provide your rabbit with all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. The best way to achieve this would be to match closely the diet of a wild rabbit. However, it is difficult for most pet owners to obtain a regular supply of the components of a wild rabbit's diet in the quantities necessary so substitutions are often necessary.
In the wild, the bulk of a rabbit's diet would be a mix of grasses. This provides the large quantities of fibre necessary to help food travel through the gut and wear down the teeth, as well as providing nutrition. In pets, this portion of the diet is often supplemented or replaced with hay (dried grasses), but it should still make up the majority of the overall diet.
The remaining part of a wild rabbit's diet would be a combination of other plant matter, mainly leaves but also twigs and the occasional fruit or grain. Feeding on a variety of plants helps ensure rabbits obtain the full range of necessary vitamins and minerals. Many pet owners also occasionally feed wild plants, most commonly weeds such as dandelion, to their rabbits, however, cultivated plants in the form of fruits and vegetables eaten by people provide more readily available alternatives. This is also the section of a wild rabbit's diet that commercially available dry food is designed to replace or supplement. It can be difficult to replicate the wide range of plants a wild rabbit has access to so feeding a small portion of dry food acts as a backup source of nutrients and vitamins to ensure the diet is complete.
On the left a wild rabbit's diet on the right pet rabbits. In general, a pet rabbit's diet should include a large amount of hay or grass, a moderate amount of other fresh plants and a small amount of commercial dry food. You will need to adjust the exact components and quantities depending on your rabbit's individual needs.
Learn more about the individual components of a rabbit's diet: