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Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 9373
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Hello, I have a rabbit named Terra and shell be 1 year old

Resolved Question:

Hello, I have a rabbit named Terra and she'll be 1 year old in late September. I would like to know of a good pellet free diet using fresh vegetables. I use a juicer everyday and I was wondering if I could feed her some of the pulp that's left behind. My most common veggies are:
Celery
Spinach
Kale
Red Cabbage
Spinach

I also use fruits but I try not to intake too much, so the pulp wouldn't have that much sugar.

I also have a concern regarding citrus fruits like lemon, limes, and oranges as well as a concern with ginger.

One last thing, I want to clean my floors with lemon and vinegar but I don't know if that's harmful to her.

Thank you so much for all of your help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX X'm a biologist who has been raising and showing rabbits for over 30 years. I commend you for wanting to feed Terra the best diet possible. However, I'm glad you are checking into it before starting because I have some concerns about the diet you are proposing. Rabbits need much more fiber than what they would get in vegetables, and some of these vegetables raise some issues, we might never suspect. Both Kale and spinach should not be fed to rabbits because they are high in oxalic acid. That can cause bladder stones. I never feed them. Cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables are very gas-producing. That leads to digestive system discomfort, and raises the potential for life-threatening gastro-intestinal stasis to occur. A bit of cucumber or celery is fine. Other acceptable produce includes dandelion greens (from unsprayed yards only), collard greens, romaine lettuce, and many others. but a rabbit fed a produce-based diet will have several problems. Sooner or later the lack of fiber will cause digestive problems. The heavy liquid content of produce often causes diarrhea. The rabbit will lose weight because it is impossible to feed enough calories with produce to maintain body condition. Fruit is another story. It is high in sugar (for a rabbit, that is) under any circumstances. That leads to a digestive problem called cecal dysbiosis. Small pieces of fruit can be used as rare treats.

You're probably wondering what should a rabbit be fed then? Hay. Good quality grass hay should be the base of a rabbit's diet. Terra should have all the grass hay she wants. Don't use alfalfa because it can lead to other health problems. You can usually buy grass hay in a pet store in bags. If you can't find any locally, or prefer higher quality, here is an online source:

http://www.oxbowhay.com/index.sp

I can't emphasize enough the importance of feeding your rabbit hay. It will keep the digestive system working properly.

I'm not sure why you object to pellets. some adult rabbits can do fine on free-fed hay and a bit of produce, but most will lose weight with no pellets at all. A five pound rabbit should also get about 1/8 cup of pellets daily. If quality of ingredients is what you worry about, the Oxbow company I linked to above as a source for hay also sells the highest quality pellets.

A variety of fresh produce, especially greens, is also important.The following link will take you to a site with detailed information on rabbit feeding, including lists of the best produce, and what foods to avoid:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/diet.html

Any time you need reliable rabbit information or just want to learn about rabbits, this is a great, respected site:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/rabbithealth.html

As for cleaning the floors with lemon and vinegar, that will not hurt a rabbit.

If you have more questions about this, or want clarification on anything, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope Terra will thrive for you.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I give Terra unlimited Timothy hay mixed with Orchard grass hay as well. I always try to make sure she has fresh hay available. Aside from the hay though, how much of the fresh veggies you mentioned above should I feed her a day? and how do rabbits in nature get their fiber content?

Also, if I juice the vegetables you cleared as safe, would I be able to feed that to her? I'm sure it would have some less nutrients though, but also less water content.

Thank you so much for your help so far.

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
I'm glad to hear Terra gets hay. You didn't mention it, so I assumed you meant you only wanted to feed vegetables. Rabbits in nature eat grass, leaves, and bark. All are much higher in fiber than are vegetables. An adult rabbit can eat up to 3 cups per day of produce, but you do have to build up to that amount gradually. I give mine about 1 cup per day. The whole vegetables would be better, but juice shouldn't hurt her.

Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 9373
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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