Buying food for your bun seems like the easiest part of adding a pet rabbit to your home, but when you walk into the pet store, you discover various options, from pellets to an array of different types of hay, and it can become overwhelming.
So how much does a bag of rabbit pellets cost, and is it worth it?
Rabbit pellets provide a good balance of nutrients for rabbits. Good-quality rabbit pellets for a medium-sized rabbit costs $11.48 to $36.40 per month. A smaller breed rabbit feed costs approximately $8.00 to $16.00 per month. Large breed rabbit pellets are more expensive due at $17.36 to $46.48.
This guide will give you all the information you need regarding rabbit pellets and whether they are a healthy option for your bun.
Are Rabbit Pellets a Good Diet for Rabbits?
Rabbit pellets, given in small amounts, can contribute to a balanced diet for your rabbit.
However, you shouldn’t limit your bun’s diet to just pellets, as an excess of pellets can cause various illnesses in rabbits, such as:
- Mucoid enteropathy (diarrhea)
- Gastrointestinal stasis (GI stasis)
- Dental diseases such as overgrown teeth (malocclusion)
- Poopy butt
- Uneaten cecotropes
- Kidney stones
- Urinary tract infections
A healthy and balanced diet for your floppy-eared friend consists of fresh food, including leafy green vegetables and fruit, and good-quality hay.
If you give your pet rabbit pellets, it’s essential to provide an excellent nutritional rabbit pellet.
There are plenty of different pellet types on the market, and some are superior in quality and ingredients to others. Here are a few guidelines to use when choosing a pellet brand for your rabbit:
Keep It Simple
When choosing a brand, ensure the pellet mix does not contain any bits of dried fruit or corn, which can upset your rabbit’s digestive system.
Corn and fruit add too many calories and sugar to your rabbit’s diet, which isn’t necessary and cause health issues.
The pellets should be brown and plain.
Check the Ingredients
Always check the ingredients list or nutrition label. The pellets should preferably be made from Timothy hay or grass (for adult and senior rabbits) and shouldn’t contain any sugar.
Young rabbits need alfalfa-based pellets rather than Timothy hay, as Alfalfa has a higher concentration of proteins and calcium, which helps younger buns grow.
Last but not least, make sure the pellets have high fiber content and lower fat content. Ideally, the percentages should be:
- Fiber content – 18% or higher
- Protein content – 12% to 14%
- Fat content – 3% or less
How Many Pellets Do Rabbits Need a Day?
Ensure you only give your bun a small number of pellets (pellets should only make up about 5% of your rabbit’s diet), as pellets contain high levels of concentrated nutrients, which can cause your bun to gain weight rapidly.
Let’s take a closer look at how many pellets your rabbit needs in a day:
Baby Rabbit ( Younger Than 6 Months)
An average-sized baby rabbit weighs about 2 pounds and needs plenty of pellets to grow its muscles and bones.
Pellets that are made for young rabbits contain high levels of protein and calcium, which assist with growth.
Adult Rabbit (6-7 Months Old)
If your bun has a bodyweight of 10 pounds, it should eat even fewer pellets than the average-sized adult rabbit.
They will only need to eat about 1 tablespoon of pellets, and their diet should consist more of hay and vegetables.
Older rabbits have a far slower metabolism rate than younger rabbits, and an increased pellet diet can lead to obesity.
Senior Rabbit (Over 6 Years Old)
Older buns can eat between ⅛ to ¼ cup of pellets per day (but this depends on the rabbit breed and the rabbit’s weight).
However, if your senior rabbit is frail, it can be fed an unlimited amount of pellets to help keep its weight up.
Can Rabbits Survive on Just Pellets?
Even though pellets are a great source of quick nutrition for your bun and fortified with vitamins, your rabbit can’t survive on just pellets alone, as the high protein content can cause obesity and other illnesses.
Pellets were originally manufactured for rabbits that were bred as meat rabbits, as they have a high fat and protein content to make them pick up weight quickly.
This rapid weight gain helped the rabbits to survive the stressful conditions they lived in.
Rabbit Nutritional Needs
Today, pellets are manufactured with a far healthier nutritional content for bunnies, but they still have very highly concentrated forms of nutrients in them.
Providing your bun with a diet that includes hay, fresh fruit, vegetables, and plenty of water will supply all the nutrients your rabbit needs.
Let’s take a look at some of the nutritional needs of rabbits. Your rabbit needs the following in a balanced diet:
- A small amount of fat
- Calcium (limited quantities)
A pellet-only diet can harm your bunny and can cause several health-related risks. Let’s look at some of the common problems associated with a pellet-only diet:
An obese bunny will struggle to clean itself because of all the fat, leading to dermatitis. Obesity in rabbits can also lead to:
- Myiasis (fly lays its eggs on the fur)
- GI stasis
- Pregnancy toxemia
- Difficulty breathing
A pellet-only diet can lead to an imbalance in your bun’s gut flora, resulting in diarrhea, which can be fatal for a rabbit.
You will need to seek out veterinary advice and treatment for your bunny.
Pellets are low in fiber, which can cause GI stasis in your rabbit, resulting in a decreased appetite and severe bloating.
Other Cheaper Food Alternatives for Rabbit
Here is a list of cheaper food alternatives for your bunny:
- Alfalfa hay
- Dandelion leaves
- Broccoli (in moderation as it’s high in fiber)
- Beetroot greens
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh vegetables
My Last Bunny Thoughts
When it comes to the health of your bun, you should always buy the best quality pellets.
Pellets should only make up about 5% of your bun’s diet, and you should stay away from low-quality pellets that are bought from unknown brands as they can contain a lot of carbohydrates and are very low in nutrients.
If you are starting to add pellets to your bun’s diet, do this gradually to allow your bun’s digestive system to adjust accordingly. Make sure you provide plenty of hay and fresh produce as well to make sure your bun has a balanced diet.