Is the “House Rabbit” diet Reputable?

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jaxmarblebuns

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I currently feed an all pellet diet and I am happy with it, I’ve never had problems with GI issues and the rabbits are full of energy, seem happy, and most live till about 6-8+ (which from what I’ve read is pretty good for outdoor large breeds).

However, I have been wanting to experiment with more fresh greens as I’m sure it would be a bit healthier for them.

The most common fresh diets I have seen follow this pyramid.
From the information I have gathered this is the diet that I am considering feeding koi (9 pound male Rex)

Hay.
Free choice Orchard Grass and/or Timothy

Greens.
Romaine, Spring mix (no spinach) and cilantro would be staples and interchangeable greens would include Kale, Butter Lettuce, Raspberry Leaves, Dandelions, safe garden scraps/leaves. Some veggies I would add sparingly/sometime would include cucumber, bell pepper, zucchini.

(There are more greens/veggies that I can/would add but these are the most common ones I can get).

He would get one cup of salad for every two pounds of body weight, about 4-5 cups per day.

Pellets.
I would continue feeding the pellets I have. However, I would only feed about 1/2 cup per day instead of 1 cup.

Treats.
I don’t give any of my rabbits treats that much, maybe once a month. When they do get treats it things like carrots, banana, safe kitchen scraps, etc. I don’t buy store bought treats.



Here is why I’m hesitant to do this. First off, all rabbits that I’ve seen on this “house rabbit” diet have looked to be in good shape. However, the only people I see talking about there rabbits getting GI stasis, blockages, poop problems, unexpected/unexplained premature death in some cases, etc. are people who have their rabbits on diets like this. I do understand that that could be caused by other environmental factors, but it does make me wonder.

So, do you think this kind of diet would work?
Has anybody had experience with this diet?
If it need tinkering, what should I add or take out?



Sources:
What to Feed Your Pet Rabbit | Rabbit Diet

Feeding Your Rabbit | VCA Animal Hospital

https://youtube.com/c/101rabbits

https://youtube.com/@StormyRabbits

https://youtube.com/c/TheBunnyLady

(And many others that I cannot remember the names of/don’t care to try and find atm).
 
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ladysown

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I never recommend that people follow the house rabbit diet. It's not particularly balanced. And if you follow any pet boards you will indeed see a lot of those issues you mentioned.

MIND YOU though, some rabbits seem to thrive on that diet.

But the biggest problem I find is how people misinterpret their guidelines. For instance I often hear "I only feed 1/4 cup pellets" to my rabbits. To some people that means 1/4 cup daily, and to others, 1/4 cup twice a day. Huge difference don't you think? And when many of those rabbits are large breed rabbits... how does only feeding 1/4 cup a day beneficial to the rabbit in regards to feeding a balanced diet over time? I've rescued rabbits fed only 1 tbsp of pellets and a handful of hay.... with people wondering why their rabbits are so thin "I'm following what the HSR says to do!" I find it rather infuriating.

You can feed greens with your rabbits though. There are lots of people who feed hay and greens to their rabbits, and their rabbits do fine on that diet. There are also folks who have changed how they feed their rabbits and see a decline in their health.

I would ask, how did you come up with feeding 1/3 cup of pellets daily?

why do you specify no spinach?

Why do you think feeding hay and greens is a healthier diet?
 

jaxmarblebuns

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I would ask, how did you come up with feeding 1/3 cup of pellets daily?

why do you specify no spinach?

Why do you think feeding hay and greens is a healthier diet?
I agree with everything you said, like I said I’m very hesitant to follow any information they give out. I honestly hate the house Rabbit society and their cultish followers, mostly because of the “my way is the rich and only way” attitude they have. Especially a certain “bunny influencer” YouTuber, some are fine but most are..... you know.

I hit the button wrong, and I finally though I spell checked correctly for once 🤦‍♀️ Most places/people I read say 1/4 cup for every 4 pounds of body weight, he is 9 pounds even, so he would get “”1/2 CUP”” (about) at night

From what I’ve read spinach is too high in calcium (and kale and others greens as well I believe) to be given on a daily basis and can cause bladder sludge and other issues.

I hope to match a wild rabbits diet as closely as possible (grass, branches, vines, leaves, small amounts of fruit and veggies, etc.). Obviously wild rabbits know what to eat and when to eat it to keep their bodies in balance, so unless you give a rabbit free choice of a fully planted pasture, you really can’t replicate it completely. However, I was hoping the balance between the dry grasses, fresh veggies, and dry nutrition filled pellets would replicate it as best as possible and provide the nutrition needed.

If this doesn’t work out it’s no biggy, but I though I might as well ask around to see what people with more experienced in the nutrition department would have to say.
 
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tambayo

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I pretty much feed variety of hay sources (graspellet, haypellet, hay, but hay doesn't work that well combined with chopped bedding). Haypellet is officially for horses and supposedly has 60 kinds of gras & herbs in it. Rabbit pellet (17% protein & 3.5% fat) is about 15grams per scoop and they get a generous one once a day (rex dwarf). Nursing does get them twice a day and number of scoops go up depending on condition, number of kits and age of the kits. They also get alfalfa pellet for protein (make more milk and growth of the kits). Now because i could find a lot they get one acorn per day and in summer some willow/hazel branches for food and chew, and some comfrey from the garden. The two i just put in the freezer where just on the edge of making belly/body fat and well muscled.
But base is hay, pellet is to keep their vitamins/minerals supplied. And rest is to keep them busy as branches and such are stuck in the hayrack up high and then run along the ceiling of the pen. Pellets are in a dish and therefore way to easy to eat. Keeping them busy with eating makes for easier, more relaxed rabbits.
Now i take advice from both sides when it comes to rabbit care, but some things just don't work with breeding stock. So take what works and ignore the rest.
For instance the finish feed in 15-20 minutes thing i do use, 1 for indication of health and 2 prevention of mice problems. The haypellet they are not interested in, but the rabbit pellet they would be. With those finished before they could become atracted to them saves me problems.
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

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I found this to be an interesting post because I had never heard of the house rabbit society and looked them up online.

The biggest problem I have is their recommendations for what I think are excessively high amounts of human vegetables and fruits. I would give rabbits much coarser food for the bulk of their diet (95-99%) on a daily basis. Give them plants with with roughage, and very sparingly give the so called greens on that list, which are really just human cultivated roots/broadleaf plants etc that rabbits have not really evolved with or adapted to. From my reading and experience, err on the side of caution with those house rabbit guidelines. I’m not surprised that rabbits have issues on those diets. Try not to confuse human food and rabbit food. Rabbit digestive tracks are more like horses than humans and they should be fed accordingly, with grasses, clovers, twigs, and such.

Beware that there is all sorts of nonsense posted on the internet, especially regarding animals. Anyone who wants to post anything can do so, and if others parrot the information on their own website it doesn’t make the information better or correct. Sometimes I wonder if half the stuff I read online is true. I would throw that rabbit food pyramid in the garbage. Instead, feed your rabbits food based on grass, clovers, and roughages, like it sounds you have been doing, and save the vegetables listed on that website for your own dinner.

Just my two cents :) I hope this helps.
 

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