We all want to feed a balanced diet, but with so many pellets for rabbits available, it can be confusing to know which is the best rabbit food to feed your bunnies. Every food is a little different in its ingredients and nutritional value. So how do you decide?
In this article, we will look at some of the best foods available, reviewing both their strong and weak features. We’ve also included a couple of foods that aren’t actually rabbit pellets – they just contain them. We want to ensure that you understand why these aren’t suitable for your rabbit’s health.
We’ll round the article off with some answers to common questions. These will guide you through what to look for when buying food to ensure your rabbit has the best chance of a healthy life. We also cover how to feed your rabbit pellets – and just as importantly – how not to!
What Qualities Make The Best Rabbit Food?
Although rabbit food pellets should only make up a small proportion of a healthy rabbit diet, choosing the wrong food can cause issues such as overeating, obesity and nutrient imbalance. The bunny food you choose must be good for digestive health.
The best rabbit food has the following important qualities:
- The food is a uniform pellet food without other ingredients, such as flakes of maize or peas.
- The primary ingredient(s) of pellets for rabbits are quality grass hays, like Timothy hay and alfalfa.
- The protein content is around 12-14 percent for adult rabbits and 15-18% for juniors.
- The fat content is low: around 1-2%.
- The fiber content is high: between about 20 and 25%.
- The feed contains natural ingredients.
Our Best Hay Pellet For Adult Rabbits
It’s tough to say that one food is better than the others because not all rabbits have identical nutritional needs. We need a variety of foods so that we can choose one that is appropriate depending on age, weight, health issues, fussiness, and so on.
However, we will pick out one great all-round rabbit food that we love – Sherwood Pet Health Adult Rabbit Food Timothy Pellet. This food is designed to be fed appropriately – to a rabbit who is eating hay/grass primarily (essential for healthy digestion) and some vegetables. The food would only make up about 5 to 10 percent of the diet and is supplementary.
1. Sherwood Pet Health Adult Rabbit Food Timothy Pellet
Our best rabbit food that’s an all-round supplementary feed for adult rabbits.
This Sherwood Timothy hay pellet is designed as a supplementary feed for rabbits who happily eat a lot of grass hay. The only added ingredients are safflower, flax, and minerals. An interesting and quality product for those who want an alfalfa-free pellet to feed in small amounts only.
It contains a good level of protein, but a higher fat level than is generally considered good for the overall diet of a rabbit. Therefore, if fed in large amounts could lead to obesity.
2. Sherwood Pet Health Adult Rabbit Food – Alfalfa/Timothy Blend
Our best rabbit food for bunnies who won’t eat enough hay.
This is a high-quality blended hay product, without unwanted ingredients such as soya or grains, though it does contain safflower and flax (which explains the higher fat content). Designed for rabbits who don’t eat as much hay as is optimal (70-80% of diet).
The pellets are supplied in different pack sizes to suit your needs. Sherwood does not use artificial, synthetic additives in their products, which are also sugar (molasses) free. Clean, fresh, grass-smelling product.
3. Small Pet Select Rabbit Food Pellets
One of the best rabbit foods that contain molasses – might help fussy eaters.
A Timothy hay-based pellet, that also contains wheat, soy, and molasses.
Timothy hay remains the primary ingredient, though, and this rabbit food does seem to appeal to fussy rabbits (arguably because of the molasses). Useful in some situations, particularly if you are struggling to get a rabbit to eat.
4. Science Selective Adult Rabbit Food
A feed that’s suited to the needs of younger rabbits
This popular pellet also contains several ingredients, including grain and legumes, but has managed to keep to good protein and fat levels (minimum 12% and 2% respectively). However, maximum protein and fat aren’t listed! The main ingredient is alfalfa meal.
It offers a good fiber level (21-26%) and a range of vitamins and minerals. However, some rabbits seem to have a negative physical response to this feed, so transition with caution and only feed in small amounts.
5. Oxbow Animal Essentials Adult Rabbit Pet Food
A good adult rabbit food that’s available in large packs for those with a larger bunny family.
A good all-rounder that’s made primarily from Timothy hay. It does contain some wheat, soy, and molasses (a form of sugar). Wide range of pack size (5 to 25lb) and competitive pricing. Well reviewed, although some bunnies are not tempted in terms of taste!
Good levels of nutrients – but as they only quote minimum levels of protein and fat, it could potentially be a little high in these nutrients.
6. Kaytee Timothy Complete Rabbit Food
One of the best rabbit foods for nutrient levels, including low calcium.
Another Timothy hay-based pellet, with the addition of wheat, soy, and molasses. Excellent nutrient levels, including the amount of added calcium, which can be rather high in some other feeds.
A reasonable price for a food that is well suited to the needs of an adult rabbit. Molasses is added for palatability, and the impact of this on your rabbits’ dental health should be considered.
7. Wild Harvest Advanced Nutrition Diet for Adult Rabbits
A wide range of ingredients – this food could be used in minimal amounts as treats.
We’ve included this as an example of one of the muesli-style rabbits feeds as these are still favored by many owners, despite not being recommended by most vets.
This feed still contains a high percentage of pellets, with the addition of other questionable foods. The ingredients list is vast, with alfalfa meal being the main ingredient. It also contains many grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Wild Harvest also adds artificial colors to the feed.
There are problems with the nutritional content at the fiber varies from 12 to 17%, which is very low for a rabbit. Calcium varies from 0.3% to 1.3%, which could be problematic if you’re trying to monitor calcium intake.
8. Supreme Pet Foods Russel Rabbit Food
A different style of muesli type feed that majors on wheat and other grains, with Timothy hay as the 4th ingredient and alfalfa meal as the fifth. No artificial ingredients.
Popular and well-reviewed despite having only a 14% fiber content! This is inappropriate for rabbit health – as is the volume of grain in this feed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rabbit Pellets
Are Pellets Necessary for Rabbits?
The short answer to this is no! So long as your bunny is eating large quantities of hay or grazing grass, there is no actual need for them to eat pellets. It’s the hay that is essential for digestive health. However, despite not being essential, there are some great reasons why feeding a small volume of pellets per day might be a good idea.
Learn more: Top 6 Best Hay For Rabbits – With Reviews
Why You Might Choose to Feed Rabbit Pellets?
Most rabbits benefit from having some pellets as part of their overall diet because they add interest and enrichment in terms of differences in taste and texture. They can also be easily scattered so they can improve the foraging experience for your bunnies.
Some rabbits are fussy about food, and some are reluctant to eat as much hay as they need. Pellets are a great way to get extra hay into your rabbits’ diet, while at the same time adding extra vitamins and minerals.
What Nutrients Are in Rabbit Pellets?
Pellets contain all the macronutrients – protein, fat, and carbohydrate (including fiber). Great pelleted food will have balanced these to suit the needs of a rabbit very well.
However, nutritional needs can vary from rabbit to rabbit, for instance, a rabbit who lives outdoors during cold weather will need a higher number of calories than one of similar size who is a house rabbit. So will a very active rabbit or one who is ill.
So not all feeds are identical in terms of the amount of different macronutrients, but they should generally be around 12-14% protein, 2% fat and 20-25% fiber.
Pellets also contain added vitamins and minerals, which can help to maintain good immune system function and health.
What Should I Look for When Buying Pellets for My Rabbits?
There are several things to look for when buying pellets. These include:
- Nutritional values
- Amount of calcium
- Good quality ingredients (primarily hay rather than grains, legumes, and seeds)
- Sugar content (molasses or dried fruit)
- Pellets rather than a muesli type mix
- Size of pellets (different rabbits have different preferences)
- Size of the pack (bigger can often mean better value, but not if they are wasted because they go stale before you can use them)
What is the Best Brand of Rabbit Food?
No one food suits all rabbits, at all life stages and in all situations. However, our pick of the best is Sherwood Pet Health Adult Rabbit Food Timothy Pellet if your need is an excellent all-round adult supplementary feed.
Some brands are designed as replacements for some of the hay in the diet, some with lower or higher calorie needs in mind. There are brands for juveniles and adults, and even some designed to appeal to fussy eaters.
Many people change the type of pellets they feed, depending on the changing needs of their bunnies. Just always be careful to make any changes gradually to maintain optimal health.
What Kind of Pellets Should I Feed My Rabbit?
This depends entirely on your rabbit – are they young, adult, old, fat, thin, fussy, active, lazy, housed outside or inside, well or sick? There are many variables, but here are a few guidelines.
- Young bunnies need higher protein levels and less fiber. Alfalfa hay-based pellets supply their needs very well. They can also cope with a little more fat while they are growing.
- Adult rabbits who are well, active, and a healthy weight need a good all-round feed with average nutrient levels.
- The sick, elderly, and those who live outside need higher calories, some of which should be from protein, so alfalfa/Timothy hay mix pellets can be great.
- Fussy bunnies need a palatable feed (these often have added molasses), and fat, greedy or lazy rabbits need lower-calorie pellets, usually with lower fat values and a Timothy hay base.
How Much Food Pellets Should I Feed My Rabbit?
Every bunny needs a balanced diet made up of natural ingredients to enable them to live a healthy life.
The amount of pellets you feed should be kept to just 5% of the diet unless your rabbit is one who is very fussy and reluctant to eat enough hay. Try feeding around one tablespoon a day for a 2 to 4lb bunny.
But, don’t worry too much about the exact amount as recommendations vary and somewhere between zero and two tablespoons a day will be fine for most average sized rabbits.
Can I Feed a Diet That’s Only Pellets to My Bunnies?
While it’s possible to feed a pet bunny entirely on a diet of healthy rabbit pellets, it is never recommended. Apart from the boredom factor, there are health implications too. Rabbits need the long fiber that hay provides to maintain healthy digestion.
Most rabbits also enjoy a range of fresh vegetables, and this helps to increase micronutrients and antioxidants in the diet. If you are still wondering “What do rabbits eat?” and need help with your rabbits’ diet, check out our article What To Feed Rabbits.
Winding Things Up
Having reviewed a range of rabbit foods, it’s clear that not everything sold for rabbits is suitable in all situations – or at all – as a regular diet. We hope that you now feel equipped to see which are most likely to keep your rabbits healthy and at a good weight. If in doubt – ask veterinary advice at your next check-up.