What to Feed Wild Rabbits?

While some people see wild rabbits as pests that they need to keep out of their garden, many of us actually love seeing rabbits in the yard and worry about their well being. I always get a little sad thinking about wild rabbits in the winter since I know the scarcity of resources available means many wont make it through to spring. Still, its usually best not to feed wild rabbits directly, because it will make them wholly dependent on humans for food.

Other species, such as the New England Cottontail, are also being subject to conservation efforts to help increase the wild rabbit numbers. The rabbits need to compete for limited resources such as bark, twigs, and evergreen needles from trees and shrubbery that live through the winter.

If you want to feed the wild rabbits in your community, its best to give them a natural way to continue foraging for food. Thats why its a better solution to try to find ways to feed wild rabbits by caring for your lawn or planting a garden that is a safe and welcome environment. The best thing you can do for your lawn and garden to help wild rabbits is to make sure you dont use any kind of pesticides or fertilizers with dangerous added chemicals.

When foliage is more sparse, rabbits have a harder time hiding away from predators, so these trees can give them a little more advantage and have a better chance at surviving the winter. Big piles of food in the yard can also attract other unwanted animals that may be more dangerous or prone to spreading disease (such as raccoons). Leftover herbs, strawberry or carrot tops, or the trimmed ends of many different fruits and vegetables are safe for wild rabbits to eat.

Instead if you want to leave some treats around, you can scatter pieces of fruits and vegetables in your yard, such as strawberry or carrot, for the wild rabbits to come across as they are foraging for food.

What foods can I feed a wild rabbit?

During warmer seasons, rabbits will eat weeds, grasses, clover, wildflowers, and flower and vegetable plants. When the weather turns cold, rabbits will munch on twigs, buds, bark, conifer needles, and any remaining green plants.

What food is irresistible to wild rabbits?

Apples, carrots, cabbage, and other fresh green vegetables are good baits in warmer weather or climates.

Is it OK to feed a wild rabbit?

While some people see wild rabbits as pests that they need to keep out of their garden, many of us actually love seeing rabbits in the yard and worry about their well being. … Still, it’s usually best not to feed wild rabbit’s directly, because it will make them wholly dependent on humans for food.

What do wild rabbits like to eat the most?

Various types of dry and fresh grasses and plants with leaves comprise the largest portion of the wild rabbit diet. Rabbits will also eat bark on trees, tender twigs and sprouts, fruits, seeds and other nutritious foods in much small amounts.

As I mentioned back in an earlier post about feeding wild rabbits in 2011, I have wild rabbits in my backyard. They show their wonderful faces mostly during the spring and summer. This year has been a little different because I have seen at least one of them every now and then when I take my dog Maggie out before bed. Only about once or twice a week but still more than Ive seen them other years. This got me thinking about feeding them again.

Rabbits in the wild all over the world successfully consume a wide variety of plant material. Various types of dry and fresh grasses and plants with leaves comprise the largest portion of the wild rabbit diet. Rabbits will also eat bark on trees, tender twigs and sprouts, fruits, seeds and other nutritious foods in much small amounts. This is important to know when we decide what is a healthy diet for our house rabbits.

Fresh foods are also an important part of your rabbits diet and they provide additional nutrients as well as different textures and tastes, which are enriching for your friend as well. Fresh foods also provide more moisture in the diet, which is good for kidney and bladder function.

The one most talked about with rabbits is oxalic acid and it is completely harmless to animals or humans when consumed in small amounts. The toxicity of oxalic acid comes with feeding large quantities of foods high in this chemical and can result in tingling of the skin, the mouth and damage to the kidneys over time. You may know that dark green leafy vegetables and red peppers have more vitamin C per weight than citrus fruits!

Foods that are notorious for causing rabbit GI problems when fed improperly are grains of any kind and legumes (beans, peas, etc). There has also been discussion about feeding vegetables that are goitrogenic in humans (causing a goiter) more notoriously those in the broccoli/cabbage family. One study done on rabbits indicated that it would take several weeks of exclusively feeding huge quantities of these foods to see any abnormalities in the blood.

These foods are often higher in starch or sugars and should be fed in lesser amounts than the leafy greens. A good amount of other vegetables (non leafy greens) to feed your rabbit would be about 1 tablespoon per 2 lbs of body weight per day in one meal or divided into two or more. You also might choose to hand-feed the fruit portion of the diet as part of developing a close bond with your bunny and also to make sure he has an appetite every day.

When a plant would produce fruit, it is for a limited time and all the animals in the area would want to gobble these gems up quickly! Overfeeding fruits can result in a weight gain or GI upset so it is up to you to feed these foods in limited amounts. IMPORTANT: Before introducing any fresh foods to a rabbit it is best if he has been eating grass hay for a minimum of 2 weeks.

The grass hay will help to get his GI tract motility and flora in good working order so that he will be able to accept new foods more easily. When introducing new fresh foods to any rabbits diet it is best to go slowly to allow the gastrointestinal tract and all its important microorganisms to adjust. All fresh foods regardless of the source should be washed or scrubbed (in the case of hard vegetables) before serving them to your rabbit.

LEAFY GREENS These foods should make up about 75% of the fresh portion of your rabbits diet (about 1 packed cup per 2 lbs of body weight per day). Carrots Broccoli (leaves and stems) Edible flowers (roses, nasturtiums, pansies, hibiscus) Celery Bell peppers (any color) Chinese pea pods (the flat kind without large peas) Brussel sprouts Cabbage (any type) Broccolini Summer squash Zucchini squash Apple (any variety, without stem and seeds) Cherries (any variety, without the pits) Pear Peach Plum (without the pits) Kiwi Papaya Mango Berries (any type) Berries (uncooked) Pineapple (remove skin) Banana (remove peel; no more than about 2 1/8 inch slices a day for a 5 lb rabbitthey LOVE this!)

Melons (any can include peel and seeds) Star Fruit Apricot Currants Nectarine Others have found that kale fed in large amounts on a daily basis may contribute to bladder sludge and other health issues.

If you are in desperate need of a durable indoor rabbit enclosure, but you dont know what models are worthy of your attention, this buying guide is packed with all the choices that you need to consider before making a purchase.

Similarly, if you are searching for a rabbit house and you need some assistance selecting one that can pass the test of time, read this list of habitats that we have created for you as it can be of help. If you are searching for info on this topic in an attempt to find out what you can feed the wild bunnies that are visiting your yard, you should consider a few things before you decide to give them any type of food.

In the cold season, they adopt a wood-based diet as they eat tree bark, pine needles, and twigs. The rest of the seasons, they survive by eating green plants such as forbs, clover, leafy weeds, hay, and grasses. Numerous species of wild rabbits are also capable of climbing trees in order to reach those delicate leaves that they find so delicious.

These vegetables are likely to produce gas and stomach discomfort that the digestive system of the bunny is unable to cope with.

What do wild rabbits normally eat?

Rabbits are natural foragers. They will eat just about any kind of plant material they can find. Through most of the year this will consist of grass combined with other leafy plants they can find naturally, such as clover and wildflowers.While there are certainly plants and flowers that are poisonous to rabbits, for the most part they have a digestive system that is able to handle plant material better than other, carnivorous animals. This means that wild rabbits are able to eat a wide variety of plants from their surrounding environment to eat more nutrients and stay healthy.In the winter, when plant life is scarce, wild rabbits need to be a lot more creative in order to survive. The rabbits need to compete for limited resources such as bark, twigs, and evergreen needles from trees and shrubbery that live through the winter. This is always a time of year that is most difficult for rabbits and results in the death of many rabbits who cannot get enough to eat during the winter.

Lawn care and gardening

The best thing you can do for your lawn and garden to help wild rabbits is to make sure you don’t use any kind of pesticides or fertilizers with dangerous added chemicals. These can end up poisoning rabbits and other animals in the area. Try to treat your yard like an organic garden so that you can keep all the plants safe for wildlife.You can also allow your garden to grow like a meadow, instead of making it always look pristine. You can let wildflowers grow in your yard, instead of pulling them out like leaves. Dandelions and patches of clover are nutritious for rabbits and excellent for them to eat. Letting your grass grow longer without mowing can also encourage rabbits to come and forage.Planting herbs and some vegetables, such as carrots and leafy lettuces, are also a great way to help feed wild rabbits in a natural and nutritious way. You just have to accept that the wild rabbits in the neighborhood might eat these plants when they are still growing, before you have a chance to use them.

Plants to feed rabbits in the winter

If you’re thinking about wild rabbits in the winter, you’ll want to provide them with woody and twiggy bushes and shrubbery that they’ll be able to eat. Some good plants include berry bushes, such as raspberry or blackberry plants. Some trees, such as oak, sumac, and dogwood are also good options to give rabbits, especially if they are younger trees. Young trees tend to have softer bark, which is more appetizing to rabbits.Planting tall evergreens is another option that can be beneficial to rabbits. They can chew on the branches and eat the needles. These trees and bushes also give rabbits places to hide and take cover during the winter. When foliage is more sparse, rabbits have a harder time hiding away from predators, so these trees can give them a little more advantage and have a better chance at surviving the winter.

Water in dry climates

If you live in an area that has a particularly dry climate, or is going through a dry spell, it’s okay to leave out bowls of water for rabbits. To make sure mosquitos don’t nest in the area and bacteria doesn’t start to accumulate in the bowls, you’ll want to replace the water every day or so and occasionally clean out the bowls or water trough completely.

Birdseed

Most seeds and nuts are not great for a rabbit’s digestion. There are some exceptions, such as sunflower seeds, but for the most part you want to avoid setting these out where wild rabbits can eat them. Even though birdseed is not good for rabbits, they will probably try to eat it anyway if they find it available. Keep the birdseed for the birds and let rabbits eat the leafy plants that are healthy for them.

High sugar foods

Many commercial rabbit treats that you’ll find in the pet store have many colorful fruity parts to them. Most of these are not healthy for rabbits, whether domestic or wild, and are best avoided. This includes treat mixes, as well as the yogurt treats that are widely available.Instead if you want to leave some treats around, you can scatter pieces of fruits and vegetables in your yard, such as strawberry or carrot, for the wild rabbits to come across as they are foraging for food. That will keep them from eating a pile of the sweet fruits and vegetables all at one time.

Cooked human leftovers

Most wild rabbits won’t touch cooked food, but it’s best to avoid making it available to them at all. Cooked food, even if it is all plant based, is not good for a rabbit’s digestion.

Feeding orphaned wild baby rabbits

Most of the time, if you find a baby wild rabbit nest you should just leave it alone. Wild cottontail rabbits, which are most of the species you will find in North America, will leave their young in a nest. They’ll come back to feed the babies once or twice a day. What might appear to be an abandoned nest is probably still being looked after by the mother rabbit.If you are absolutely certain that the baby rabbits in question are orphaned and the mother is not coming back, then the best action to take is to try to find a wildlife rehabilitation center in your area that would be willing to take the rabbits in. It is very difficult to care for baby rabbits by yourself, and in most cases they won’t survive for very long.If you cannot find a rehabilitation center that will help you care for and feed these baby rabbits, then the House Rabbit Society has provided some instructions for feeding baby rabbits.