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Revealed: Lettuce Is Killing Rabbits

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For years, poor rabbits have been chomping away on foods, including carrots and lettuce, that we assumed were good for them, but are in fact doing more harm than good…

As part of Rabbit Awareness Week – an annual campaign to raise the profile of rabbit welfare – Lucy Ross, Head of Training at Pets Corner, warns that Bug’s Bunny’s favourite carrot snack should be rationed, and that iceberg lettuce should be banned completely from the pet’s diet.

“We are all familiar with Bugs Bunny, who would regularly whip out a carrot to munch on, but carrots are not the best thing to be feeding rabbits on a day-to-day basis,” Lucy says.

“The bulk of a rabbit’s diet should be made up of hay with 10% of what they eat comprising of vegetables. For example, curly kale is among some of the veggies rabbits can enjoy on a daily basis.

“But iceberg lettuce – a popular staple among humans that can often make it into the pet food pile is dangerous and should never be fed to rabbits.”

A healthy diet for a pet rabbit should mimic what his cousins in the wild forage for – grass, plants and vegetables.

Good quality hay is an excellent alternative to grass and the foundation of a healthy diet for pet rabbits. As well as strengthening teeth and jaws, it provides fibre to maintain a healthy gut and nibbling on hay keeps bunnies busy, reducing boredom and helping prevent behavioural problems.

Lucy added: “Alongside hay, which should make up 80% of your pet’s diet, we recommend adding one and a half mugs of fresh, raw fruit and veg per rabbit every day with complete nuggets and mix making up the remaining 10%.”

Lucy has put together the following feeding guide for rabbit owners:

  1. Feed often – most days: bell peppers (remove seeds), raspberry leaves, watercress, coriander, courgette, curly kale
  2. Feed frequently – two to four times a week: parsley, blueberries, cabbage, cauliflower leaves, broccoli, tomato (not stems or leaves), mangetout, Brussels sprouts
  3. Feed occasionally – once a week: apple (remove seeds), mint, carrots, pak choi, blackberries, cucumber peelings, dandelion leaves, celery
  4. Never feed: avocado, coconut, garlic, iceberg lettuce, hot peppers, chillies, potatoes, tomato leaves and stems, onions
  5. Fresh water – always ensure your rabbit has plenty of fresh, clean water

Lucy added: “Take care to introduce any new foods gradually. An abrupt change to a rabbit’s diet can trigger digestive upsets, which could prove fatal to some.”

Rabbit Awareness Week runs until Sunday 26th June www.rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk

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